The Situation is Hopeless, But Not Serious: (the Pursuit of Unhappiness)

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1993 - Psychology - 125 pages

Do you see the past through a rosy filter that makes it seem like Paradise Lost? Are you convinced that traffic lights always turn red for you? Do you have to win (so as not to lose)? After extricating yourself from a bad relationship, do you find another partner just like the previous one? If so, congratulations! You have the makings of an unhappiness expert. With the techniques in this book, you can raise yourself to the genius level. A word of warning, however. Along the way you may begin to ask yourself, "How did I manage to turn myself into my own worst enemy?" Fortunately, this tongue-in-cheek (but serious) volume takes a look at that question too.

Special attention is given to such topics as "Four Games with the Past," "Self-fulfilling Prophecies," and "Why Would Anybody Love Me?" Those who believe that the search for happiness will eventually lead to happiness will find much to ponder in the section "Beware of Arriving."

All readers will be both amused and startled to find themselves in these pages, but there is a special delight and enlightenment for therapists and counselors. Although the author does not officially admit it, the book is one complex "symptom prescription," a therapeutic double bind as described and practiced by him and his colleagues.

 

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User Review  - MarthaJeanne - LibraryThing

Very true, very funny, and should you prefer NOT to be unhappy, you could always try to avoid the thought patterns Watzlawick describes. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
11
To Thine Own Self
21
Russians and Americans
35
A Handful of Beans
49
Chasing Away the Elephants
53
SelfFulfilling Prophecies
59
Beware of Arriving
65
If You Really Loved Me You Would Like Garlic
73
Be Spontaneous
87
Why Would Anybody Love
95
The Traps of Helping
101
Those Crazy Foreigners
111
Life as a Game
117
Bibliography 101
123
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Paul Watzlawick was an associate at the Mental Research Institute, Palo Alto, and clinical professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Stanford University Medical Center. An internationally known psychologist, Watzlawick died in 2007.

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