Healing through the dark emotions: the wisdom of grief, fear, and despair

Front Cover
Shambhala Publications, Jan 28, 2003 - Family & Relationships - 314 pages
2 Reviews
Here's a book that offers a new prescription for coping with depression and anxiety, as well as other painful emotional states: don't try to escape them. In Healing through the Dark Emotions Miriam Greenspan shows us that there's something good in so-called "bad" feelings, if we would only stop and listen to them. In a down-to-earth and engaging style, Greenspan explains why learning to attend, befriend, and surrender to emotional pain actually leads to lasting relief, as well as to greater wisdom, compassion, and a deep sense of fulfillment. Most of us don't know how to listen very well to emotional pain. This is because we have never been taught that doing so is a good thing, or how to do it. Greenspan offers a step-by-step process for opening ourselves to the wisdom of painful feelings that she calls "the alchemy of dark emotions." She focuses on three of the most common forms of emotional distress: grief, despair (a.k.a. depression), and fear. Surprisingly, when we find the courage to move toward our pain and inhabit it fully, something magical happens. Grief leads us into a state of gratitude. Despair is a doorway to faith. And fear delivers us to joy. Drawing on inspiring examples from her private practice, and integrating some unforgettable stories from her personal life, Greenspan teaches us the art and magic of keeping your heart open in the presence of pain. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in any one year more than 18 million Americans suffer from depression. More than 19 million are diagnosed with anxiety disorders. In the midst of this alarming epidemic of emotional distress, Greenspan offers a much-needed, penetrating exploration of the causes of our suffering—and practical advice on how to cure it. The culprit, she says, is our cultural intolerance for feeling bad. The biochemical view of emotions and other trends in our society have encouraged us to dismiss, deny, and pathologize the dark emotions. But to find peace and healing, she says, we need to cultivate a more open and trusting relationship to these feelings. We need to learn that the darkness has its own light.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - progmetal420 - LibraryThing

The world needs more of this kind of thinking. Emotions are neither something we can control nor something we should hide away. Each emotion, no matter the label ascribed to it by others, has its own ... Read full review

Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this heartfelt therapeutic manifesto, psychotherapist Greenspan (A New Approach to Women and Therapy) argues that grief, fear and despair are not pathologies to be medicated away but emotions that ... Read full review


Emot1onal Alchemy
Emot1onal Ecology

5 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2003)

Miriam Greenspan is an internationally known psychotherapist, writer, and speaker who has helped to establish the field of women's psychology. She is the acclaimed author of A New Approach to Women and Therapy and lives in Boston with her husband and two daughters.

Bibliographic information