Britain on the Couch

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Arrow, 1998 - Anxiety - 402 pages
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Why has emotional discomfort increased as we have got richer? Oliver James psycho-analyses the deep-seated emotional malaise that afflicts the British people in the 1990s and proposes a three-point plan for healing. He singles out the role of individualism in raising expecta-tions, increasing discontent, spawning psychopathic behaviour and destroying personal relationships. We have not yet discovered a way to encourage every member of society to reach for the sky and yet not be selfish and disappointed when they fall to earth. In our personal lives we aspire to harmonious and intimate relationships, yet they are the greatest single cause of despair. Oliver James argues that the way we live now induces in our bodies low levels of the `happiness hormone' serotonin. He proposes that the way to heal ourselves is to correct the chemical imbalance directly, by means of drugs containing serotin, to take a complementary course of psychotherapy and-on a political level-to reorganize society on Scandinavian lines.

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About the author (1998)

Oliver James was born in 1953 and is a clinical psychologist. He has produced dozens of television programmes including the Man Who Shot John Lennon, Room 113 and Prozac Diary. His interview with Peter Mandelson in his series The Chair on BBC2 in 1997 received widespread publicity. During the period of emotional upheaval following the death of Princess Diana, he appeared on Newsnight, to which he is a regular contributor, and controversially questioned the extent of the public's anxiety. He is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Mail on Sunday and all the major broadsheets. Since its publication, Britain on the Couch has been turned into a successful documentary series. Oliver James is a trustee of two children's charities, The National Family Parenting Institute and Homestart. He wrote Juvenile Violence in a Winner-Loser Culture and They F*** You Up.

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