The Origins of Unhappiness: A New Understanding of Personal Distress

3.86 avg rating
( 7 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780006377979: The Origins of Unhappiness: A New Understanding of Personal Distress

It is the main argument of this book that emotional and psychological distress is often brought about through the operation of social-environmental powers which have their origin at a considerable distance from those ultimately subjected to them.

On the whole, psychology has concerned itself very little with the field of power which stretches beyond our immediate relations with each other, and this has led to serious limitations on the explanatory power of the theories it has produced. To illustrate this, typical cases of patient distress in the 1980s are examined. The decade when the right-wing of politics proclaimed there was no such thing as society gave rise to psychological distress across social classes, as long-standing societal institutions were dismantled.

This is as much a work of sociology, politics, and philosophy, as it is of psychology. Fundamentals of an environmental understanding of distress are outlined. A person is the interaction of a body with the environment. The environment is structured by material power. Power may be coercive, economic, or ideological. Power operates at a varying distance from the person. It is always experienced proximally, but may well originate distally.

The operation of power also means the ability of therapy to deal with distress is limited. Therapy essentially consists of three potentially effective elements: provision of comfort; clarification; and encouragement in the use of available powers and resources.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

David Smail was a consultant clinical psychologist in the NHS and Special Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Nottingham.

Review:

"David Smail keenly recognised how many of us think and feel, and showed how attempts to reduce distress are so often limited by targeting the wrong thing: that is, the people in pain, not the more distal causes that underpin the suffering. All of David’s books beautifully but tragically describe the paradox that those offering therapy often find themselves in: wanting to help but often making things worse by mis-perceiving the meaning of distress. His work deserves to be read anew by all those in the helping professions who are prepared to question their own work, to think seriously about the meaning of the current tsunami of personal unhappiness, and to learn from this wise and perceptive author." (Susan Llewelyn, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Harris Manchester College)

"David Smail was a constructive critic. With finely tuned precision, he cut deeply into what is wrong with psychotherapy and, with wisdom, he pointed to another way to deal with the feelings of despair, anxiety, and depression we experience in contemporary life. He was a genuine psychologist who applied the craft skillfully. Reading what he has written is, for want of a better term, "therapeutic." His books always leave me thoughtful and hopeful, comforted by the sense that here was a man who actually understood something of life and had a grasp of what happiness really means." (Dr Tana Dineen, author of Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People)

"David developed clinical psychological ideas that offered a radical and humane approach to understanding and helping people in difficulty. He broadened the scope of the practice of clinical psychology from assessment to reflective therapeutic interventions, and then on to community psychology and locating preventative work and the facilitation of collective activity in communities of interest. His introduction of community psychology roles to mainstream clinical psychology services was innovative and ahead of its time. He endorsed community psychology, and was vigorously pioneering, while also sceptical about aspirations for psychology securing significant social change.

David argued that a rigorous understanding of individuals necessarily incorporates an appreciation of their access to power. He analysed people's proximal powers in the context of distal forces. He described a reflexive approach that means that there are questions that are always pertinent to psychological interventions: What resources are available to this person/family/community? What material, social and economic power is accessible to them? What possibilities for change are afforded by their situations and environments? In whose interests is this intervention? Thus we are always challenged to consider whether services are truly in the interests of the people they purport to help.

David showed us the importance of the quality of relationships, of being humane and modest, and, most importantly, to go beyond individualistic and voluntaristic concepts for understanding and working with people who are distressed. Apart from the thoughtful and practical ways of working that he inspired, he also generated invaluable and creative networks of support and encouragement between people who are committed to the ethical concern that "our common humanity enjoins us to mitigate suffering in others as in ourselves". I shall continue to appreciate David's wisdom and integrity and to remember him very fondly." (Jan Bostock, Psychological Services Professional Lead, Planned Care)

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Smail, Davis
Published by HarperCollins (1993)
ISBN 10: 0006377971 ISBN 13: 9780006377979
Used First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Better World Books Ltd
(Dunfermline, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins, 1993. Book Condition: Good. First Edition. Ships from the UK. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP35446216

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
0.79
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.98
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

D.J. Smail
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (1993)
ISBN 10: 0006377971 ISBN 13: 9780006377979
Used Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Greener Books
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: Used; Very Good. **SHIPPED FROM UK** We believe you will be completely satisfied with our quick and reliable service. All orders are dispatched as swiftly as possible! Buy with confidence!. Bookseller Inventory # 2793802

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
2.80
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.97
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

David Smail
Published by HarperCollins (1993)
ISBN 10: 0006377971 ISBN 13: 9780006377979
Used Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
AwesomeBooks
(Wallingford, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. The Origins of Unhappiness This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. . Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780006377979

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
2.80
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.20
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

David Smail
Published by HarperCollins (1993)
ISBN 10: 0006377971 ISBN 13: 9780006377979
Used Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
AwesomeBooks
(Wallingford, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. The Origins of Unhappiness This book is in good or better condition. It has no tears to the pages and no pages will be missing from the book. The spine of the book is still in great condition and the front cover is generally unmarked. It has signs of previous use but overall is in really nice, tight condition. Shipping is normally same day from our UK warehouse. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780006377979

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
2.80
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.20
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

David Smail
Published by HarperCollins 13/09/1993 (1993)
ISBN 10: 0006377971 ISBN 13: 9780006377979
Used Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Fun_Meister
(Wallingford, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins 13/09/1993, 1993. Book Condition: Good. Will be shipped promptly from UK warehouse. Book is in good condition with no missing pages, no damage or soiling and tight spine. There may be some dog-eared pages showing previous use but overall a great book. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780006377979

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
2.80
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.20
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Smail, David
ISBN 10: 0006377971 ISBN 13: 9780006377979
Used Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
WorldofBooks
(Goring-By-Sea, WS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Bookseller Inventory # GOR002392592

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
6.14
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 4.89
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Smail, David
ISBN 10: 0006377971 ISBN 13: 9780006377979
Used Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
WorldofBooks
(Goring-By-Sea, WS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Bookseller Inventory # GOR002670004

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
6.14
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 4.89
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Smail, David
ISBN 10: 0006377971 ISBN 13: 9780006377979
Used Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller
WorldofBooks
(Goring-By-Sea, WS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Fair. A readable copy of the book which may include some defects such as highlighting and notes. Cover and pages may be creased and show discolouration. Bookseller Inventory # GOR005851290

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
12.28
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 4.89
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

David Smail
Published by HarperCollins 1993-09-13 (1993)
ISBN 10: 0006377971 ISBN 13: 9780006377979
Used Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Bookdonors CIC
(GALASHIELS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins 1993-09-13, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. All books are pre-owned and will have been read by someone else before you. They may well show signs of minor wear and tear. Please note, cover images are illustrative only, and the actual book cover and edition can vary. Bookseller Inventory # 9780006377979-21

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
17.67
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 8.51
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Davis Smail
Published by HarperCollins
ISBN 10: 0006377971 ISBN 13: 9780006377979
Used Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller
Free Shipping Books
(Toledo, OH, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins. Paperback. Book Condition: VERY GOOD. little to no wear, pages are clean. The cover and binding are crisp with next no creases. Bookseller Inventory # 2762551425

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy Used
158.09
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds