Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters: The Power of Romantic Passion

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American Psychiatric Pub, Apr 2, 2007 - Medical - 405 pages
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This groundbreaking study has been widely hailed for its focus on a human emotion generally considered impervious to rational analysis: romantic, passionate love. Ethel Person views romantic love as a powerful agent of change, arguing that it is as central to human culture as it is to human existence. This new edition of Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters emphasizes the relevance of passion not only to lovers but also to mental health professionals whose patients often enter treatment because of love-related issues -- from the inability to love or make a commitment to the perils of extramarital love to love sickness or loss of love. She forthrightly addresses not only the power of love to unlock the soul but also its inherent paradoxes and conflicts.

Employing a philosophical perspective in order to understand the existential dilemmas posed by love, and a cultural perspective in order to understand its cultural variability, Dr. Person breaks with contemporary intellectual and philosophical dismissive assumptions about romantic love. She acknowledges love's vital importance and power, proposing that passion serves an important function not only for the individual but also for the culture while charging psychoanalysis with a reductionist emphasis on sexuality and psychopathology that has narrowed the focus of inquiry into love. Among the issues she discusses are: romantic love's sources in our early lives, its relationship to imagination and creativity, and its capacity to enable the lover to transcend the self how romantic love often demands a reordering of values and promotes personal growth by exposing the self to new risks and possibilities the transformational potential of transference love in the therapy process flaws in the common misperception that women are more influenced by romantic love than men considerations of homosexual love, love across generations, and love triangles, focusing on the individual growth that can result from such relationships

Citing accounts of love drawn from literature, film, and real life, Person focuses on the lover's internal soliloquy and external dialogue with the beloved that can develop over an individual's life. An uplifting resource for people experiencing failing or unorthodox romances, Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters boldly takes on issues pertinent to lovers, to professionals who encounter patients for whom key conflicts revolve around romantic love, and to anyone who has struggled to understand the importance of romantic love in his or her own life.


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One of the best books I have... EVER read. Dr. Person has written a cross over book for clinicians, therapists, professionals as well as the general population. It is laced with such detailed research but written with eloquence. Her writing is romantic itself. Wow- she is an inspiration as a writer, researcher and clearly an individual who appreciates history, the arts and all things related to the science of love. WELL DONE.  


Preface to the Reprint Edition
Falling in love
Love Realized The Idyllic Phase
Loves Divided Nature The Pleasure and Pain of Romantic Love
How Love Develops Love Dialogues and the Life Cycle
The Creative Synthesis in Love
SelfSurrender Transcendence Versus Enslavement
Transference Love and Romantic Love
Modes of SelfRealization Women and Romance Men and Power
Unhappy Love Experience and Consequences
Love That Enriches Love That Endures
Romantic Love as an Agent of Change

The Link Between Love and Power

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About the author (2007)

Ethel S. Person, M.D., is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, in New York City.

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