Emotional Well-being and Mental Health: A Guide for Counsellors & Psychotherapists
Publication Year: 2014
Well-being is an important topic for many different professions. From health professionals to politicians, a number of fields seek to research, understand and promote wellbeing. As a concept at the heart of psychotherapeutic practice, it is essential that trainee and practising therapists understand the distinctive contribution to our understanding of well-being that each of these professions have made. In this unique text, author Digby Tantam explores the philosophical, political, economical, psychological, medical and spiritual perspectives on well-being through a psychotherapeutic lens, explaining current research data and summarising findings. Theoretical approaches are balanced with an insight into their practical applications, showing therapists how each approach can inform their practice and make a real difference to the life satisfaction and health of their clients.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Mapping the territory: the philosopher’s viewpoint – living well
- Chapter 2: The health economist’s viewpoint
- Chapter 3: The psychologist’s viewpoint: How happy are you?
- Chapter 4: The health worker’s viewpoint
- Chapter 5: The politician’s viewpoint
- Chapter 6: The extravert’s viewpoint
- Chapter 7: The spiritual viewpoint
- Chapter 8: The psychotherapist’s viewpoint
- Chapter 9: No viewpoint
- Chapter 10: Applied well-being
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© Digby Tantam 2014
First published 2014
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2014930350
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ISBN 978-1-4129-3109-0 (pbk)
Editor: Kate Wharton
Assistant editor: Laura Walmsley
Production editor: Rachel Burrows
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Cover designer: Lisa Harper-Wells
Typeset by: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd, Chennai, India
Printed in India at Replika Press Pvt Ltd
About the Author[Page vi]
Digby Tantam is Emeritus Professor at the University of Sheffield, an honorary visiting senior research fellow at the University of Cambridge and a director of the Septimus Group of companies. He has been a psychiatrist in the NHS for most of his working life, and was the first Professor of Psychotherapy to be appointed to a UK University. He is married to Emmy van Deurzen, and they share the joys and occasional tribulations of their four children, and a love of the British countryside, where they live.
Foreword by Emmy van Deurzen[Page vii]
Many of us are preoccupied with the question of how to live our lives well. We know that it will involve knowing more about health, happiness and well-being but we get confused by the sheer contradictions between the contentions of authors in that field and might conclude it is best just not to think about it all too much and live from day to day.
This book tackles the age-old question of how to live in a direct and pragmatic manner. It seeks to find answers to existential questions by gathering the facts and making sense of them whilst weeding out the myths that still abound around these matters.
More books have been written about this subject than any of us could ever read. Digby Tantam’s savvy summary of contemporary knowledge in this confusing field is concise and compelling in its clarity. From one chapter to the next he will guide you through the quagmire of fact and fantasy with the sure footedness of a highly experienced explorer and pathfinder.
Reading this book may therefore save you much trouble in your search for an authoritative text on the subject of well-being. It cuts right across the many different approaches to the science of happiness and gives you access to the different perspectives and angles that have evolved over the years. It summarizes the findings of philosophers, health economists, positive psychologists, health workers, politicians, religions and psychotherapists, showing you how to compare and contrast these views and go beyond them so that you begin to get a sense of what it all means.
When Digby and I started on a decade of happiness studies at the end of the nineties, as we co-directed the Centre for the Study of Conflict and Reconciliation at the University of Sheffield, we engaged in four funded projects to develop online masters programmes in existential psychotherapy in Europe together with many academic colleagues across the European Union. It soon became obvious that Digby’s vision of existential investigation was uniquely challenging. It was always securely tethered in scientific research, careful observation and diligent reasoning and yet it was invariably given powerful wings by his unstoppable intellectual energy and commitment to philosophical enquiry and his capacity for synthetic meta-understanding.
This book, which was to be a handbook for the course, started out as a joint project, but I soon realized that I would be unable to keep up with the breadth, depth and speed of his investigation and analysis, as he filled the pages with great panache and certainty of purpose.
Much of his writing formed the basis of the online course we teach at the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling on Health and Well Being, but for this manuscript he has augmented the original project and gone beyond it. It is a pleasure to be able to express my admiration for the excellence of his work as well as my gratitude for the [Page viii]steadiness and incisiveness of his exploration of these issues. Our collaboration has touched my own thinking greatly and he has stimulated me to conceive of existential psychology in a new and more contemporary way. Existential therapists have often had great insights into the philosophical aspects of human living, but they have often neglected to combine these insights with the lucidity of psychological, political or economic thinking. The mastery we can achieve when combining all these different methods, is displayed in this volume.
Digby weaves his canvas tightly, as he deftly pulls together strands derived from many different branches of investigation. You will find here a kaleidoscopic and erudite exploration of happiness, health and well-being, which will enlighten and enliven your thinking. If you follow these various threads and allow yourself to question your previous assumptions, you will start seeing the unfolding of a new canvas on which to redraw your own therapeutic practice as well as the way in which you are living.
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