Beyond Death Anxiety

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Beyond Death Anxiety

SKU# 9780826105516

Achieving Life-Affirming Death Awareness

Author: Robert Firestone PhD, Joyce Catlett PhD


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This book fruitfully serves those looking to apply Ernest Becker's ideas psychotherapeutically, in individual counseling or in group therapy. A capstone to Robert Firestone's 50 years of work in psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and psychiatry and to the numerous books written by these authors, Firestone and Catlett show how to apply the themes and implications of the ideas of Ernest Becker in everyday life. Their basic premise is that accepting death is part of developing an affirming and meaningful experience of life. Contributing to the credibility of their presentation is the wealth of clinical evidence and personal experience Firestone and Catlett incorporate.

--The Ernest Becker Foundation

[F]ascinating and an enjoyable read....steeped in well researched and relevant psychological and sociological perspectives applicable to all social studies areas..."

--Carol Lloyd
University of Chichester

Firestone and Catlett's work is a marvelous achievement....This volume is both innovative and intrepid. Firestone and Catlett challenge prevailing psychoanalytic views on death and they demolish many of the accepted canons of thanatology and existential psychology. ...This is required reading for anyone who purports to talk about death."

-- Jerry Piven, PhD
Author of Death and Delusion: A Freudian Analysis of Mortal Terror

[A] towering synthesis of personal and clinical wisdom about death....with a superb overview of the psychology of death and death anxiety....Dr. Firestone draws on the best of the existential-humanistic as well as the psychoanalytic thinkers to address a flourishing path toward self-realization.

-Kirk J. Schneider, PhD
Author, Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy and Awakening to Awe
(From the Foreword)

Firestone and Catlett's groundbreaking volume assists mental health practitioners in helping their clients learn to accept and face their mortality. They describe the many defenses of death anxiety that keep individuals from achieving personal fulfillment, and also suggest methods to cope directly with fears of death; an approach that, ironically, can lead to more satisfaction, more freedom, and a greater appreciation for the gift of life.

This book examines the many destructive consequences of death anxiety, including introversion, depression, and withdrawal from life. Throughout the book, the authors demonstrate the importance of achieving what they call life-affirming death awareness.

Key topics include:

  • The dawning awareness of death and its impact on the developing child
  • Literal and symbolic defenses against death anxiety
  • Separation theory and "the fantasy bond"
  • Challenging the defenses that interfere with living fully
  • Microsuicide: the death of the spirit
  • Breaking with limiting religious dogma and cultural worldviews

With this book, mental health practitioners and their clients will be able to better understand death awareness, overcome the defenses against death anxiety, and ultimately lead richer, more fulfilling lives.

Product Details 

  • Publication Date July 20, 2009
  • Page Count 408
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826105516
  • EISBN 9780826105523

Online Supplements 

Want to learn more about Beyond Death Anxiety: Achieving Life-Affirming Death Awareness? Watch interview with author Robert Firestone:

Table of Contents 

PART I: The Subjective Impact of Death Awareness and Its Denial
Chapter 1 Overview
Chapter 2 The Uncharted Terrain of Death
Chapter 3 The Dawning Awareness of Death and Its Impact on the Developing Child
Chapter 4 The Effects of Death Anxiety in Everyday Life
Chapter 5 Literal and Symbolic Defenses Against Death Anxiety
Chapter 6 Microsuicide: Death of the Spirit
PART II: Core Defenses Against Death
Chapter 7 The Basic Defense Against Death Anxiety: the Fantasy Bond
Chapter 8 Separation Theory, the Voice, and Voice Therapy
PART III: Choosing Life with the Full Realization of Death
Chapter 9 Challenging Defenses That Interfere with Living Fully
Chapter 10 The Value of Psychotherapy
Chapter 11 Facing Death with Equanimity and Appropriate Feeling
Chapter 12 Learning to Love
Chapter 13 Dimensions of a Meaningful Life
Chapter 14 My Life and Legacy by Robert W. Firestone