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Blush

Faces of Shame

Elspeth Probyn

With the rise of pride - national pride, gay pride, black pride, fat pride - shame, the "sickness of the soul," has acquired a bad reputation. While the repudiation of some forms and consequences of societal shame are undoubtedly necessary, Elspeth Probyn contends that this emotion is a powerful resource in rethinking who we are and who we want to be. When we blush, we are driven to question what we value about ourselves and why. Blush argues that we are all born with a capacity for shame, much as we are born with the capacity for anger or pride, and that shame, like these other emotions, can be good for us and reveal the good in us. Painfully introspective, shame demands that we question our actions and our relationship to others. Shame's physical manifestation - the blush - gives us away, connecting us to our humanity. What shames us says a great deal about our character as individuals and as a society, about our past and our desires for the future. Written in an engaging and personal style, Blush combines psychology and cultural criticism, sociology and popular science, to present a unique perspective on debates about the ethics and emotion of identity.

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The Bodhisattva's Brain

Buddhism Naturalized

Owen Flanagan

Can there be a Buddhism without karma, nirvana, and reincarnation that is compatible with the rest of knowledge?

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Border Junkies

Addiction and Survival on the Streets of Juárez and El Paso

By Scott Comar

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Boundaries of Touch

Parenting and Adult-Child Intimacy

Jean O'Malley Halley

Discussing issues of parent-child contact ranging from breastfeeding and sleeping arrangements to sexual abuse, Jean O'Malley Halley traces the evolution of mainstream ideas about touching between adults and children over the course of the twentieth century in the United States. Boundaries of Touch shows how arguments about adult-child touch have been politicized, simplified, and bifurcated into "naturalist" and "behaviorist" viewpoints, thereby sharpening certain binary constructions such as mind/body and male/female. In addition to contemporary periodicals and self-help books on child rearing, Halley uses information gathered from interviews she conducted with mothers ranging in age from twenty-eight to seventy-three. Throughout, she reveals how the parent-child relationship, far from being a private or benign subject, continues as a highly contested, politicized affair of keen public interest.

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The Brain and the Meaning of Life

Paul Thagard

Why is life worth living? What makes actions right or wrong? What is reality and how do we know it? The Brain and the Meaning of Life draws on research in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience to answer some of the most pressing questions about life's nature and value. Paul Thagard argues that evidence requires the abandonment of many traditional ideas about the soul, free will, and immortality, and shows how brain science matters for fundamental issues about reality, morality, and the meaning of life. The ongoing Brain Revolution reveals how love, work, and play provide good reasons for living.

Defending the superiority of evidence-based reasoning over religious faith and philosophical thought experiments, Thagard argues that minds are brains and that reality is what science can discover. Brains come to know reality through a combination of perception and reasoning. Just as important, our brains evaluate aspects of reality through emotions that can produce both good and bad decisions. Our cognitive and emotional abilities allow us to understand reality, decide effectively, act morally, and pursue the vital needs of love, work, and play. Wisdom consists of knowing what matters, why it matters, and how to achieve it.

The Brain and the Meaning of Life shows how brain science helps to answer questions about the nature of mind and reality, while alleviating anxiety about the difficulty of life in a vast universe. The book integrates decades of multidisciplinary research, but its clear explanations and humor make it accessible to the general reader.

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Braintrust

What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality

Patricia S. Churchland

What is morality? Where does it come from? And why do most of us heed its call most of the time? In Braintrust, neurophilosophy pioneer Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain. She describes the "neurobiological platform of bonding" that, modified by evolutionary pressures and cultural values, has led to human styles of moral behavior. The result is a provocative genealogy of morals that asks us to reevaluate the priority given to religion, absolute rules, and pure reason in accounting for the basis of morality.

Moral values, Churchland argues, are rooted in a behavior common to all mammals--the caring for offspring. The evolved structure, processes, and chemistry of the brain incline humans to strive not only for self-preservation but for the well-being of allied selves--first offspring, then mates, kin, and so on, in wider and wider "caring" circles. Separation and exclusion cause pain, and the company of loved ones causes pleasure; responding to feelings of social pain and pleasure, brains adjust their circuitry to local customs. In this way, caring is apportioned, conscience molded, and moral intuitions instilled. A key part of the story is oxytocin, an ancient body-and-brain molecule that, by decreasing the stress response, allows humans to develop the trust in one another necessary for the development of close-knit ties, social institutions, and morality.

A major new account of what really makes us moral, Braintrust challenges us to reconsider the origins of some of our most cherished values.

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Bulimia Nervosa

James Mitchell

In Bulimia Nervosa, James E. Mitchell provides a concise overview of the topic, a review of the literature available, his interpretation of this information, and recommendations based on his extensive clinical experience.  He concludes that although significant questions about treatment techniques, comorbidity, and the biology of bulimia nervosa remain, practitioners and their clients can be assured about the prospects  for successful treatment.

“Many people assisted the writing of the book...but the skillful editing makes it like a story unfolding, with a tantalizing piece of information at each chapter end to spur the reader on.  There is minimal use of very technical language, which makes the book ideal for nonmedical students or for anybody who needs to read about these illnesses.”  -Choice, November, 1985

James Mitchell, M.D., is associate professor of psychiatry and co-director of the eating disorders  program at the University of Minnesota Medical School.  He is editor of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia: Diagnosis and Treatment.

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The Bully Society

School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America’s Schools

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Cadaverland

Inventing a Pathology of Catastrophe for Holocaust Survival [The Limits of Medical Knowledge and Historical Memory in France]

Michael Dorland

In this extraordinary study, Michael Dorland explores sixty years of medical attempts by French doctors (mainly in the fields of neuropsychiatry and psychoanalysis) to describe the effects of concentration camp incarceration on Holocaust survivors.
Dorland begins with a discussion of the liberation of concentration camp survivors, their stay in deportation camps, and eventual return to France, analyzing the circulation of mainly medical (neuropsychiatric) knowledge, its struggles to establish a symptomology of camp effects, and its broadening out into connected medical fields such as psychoanalysis. He then turns specifically to the French medical doctors who studied Holocaust survivors, and he investigates somatic, psychological, and holistic conceptions of survivors as patients and human beings.
The final third of the book offers a comparative look at the "psy-science" approach to Holocaust survival beyond France, particularly in the United States and Israel. He illuminates the peculiar journey of a medical discourse that began in France but took on new forms elsewhere, eventually expanding into nonmedical fields to create the basis of the "traumato-culture" with which we are familiar today.
Embedding his analysis of different medical discourses in the sociopolitical history of France in the twentieth century, he also looks at the French Jewish Question as it affected French medicine, the effects of five years of Nazi Occupation, France's enthusiastic collaboration, and the problems this would pose for postwar collective memory.

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Calming Your Anxious Child

Words to Say and Things to Do

Kathleen Trainor, PsyD

Ten million children in the United States—two million of them preschoolers—suffer from anxiety. Anxious children may be afraid to be out of their parents’ sight; they may refuse to talk except to specific people or under specific circumstances; they may insist on performing tasks such as brushing teeth or getting ready for bed in a rigidly specific way. For many children these difficulties interfere with doing well in school and making friends as well as with daily activities like sleeping, eating, and bathing. Untreated anxiety can have a devastating effect on a child’s future emotional, social, academic, and work life. And since most kids don’t naturally outgrow anxiety, parents need to know how to help. In Calming Your Anxious Child, Dr. Kathleen Trainor builds on cognitive behavioral therapy to provide practical steps for guiding parents through the process of helping their children manage their anxieties and gain control over their worry-based behaviors. Dr. Trainor’s method involves identifying the anxieties and the behaviors, rating them, agreeing on what behaviors to work on changing, identifying strategies for changing behaviors, noting and charting progress, offering incentives, and reinforcing progress. Combining family stories with practical advice and support, Calming Your Anxious Child teaches parents and caregivers how to empower their children to overcome their worried thoughts and behaviors. Children who have generalized anxiety, OCD, social anxiety, separation anxiety, phobias, or PTSD can all benefit from Dr. Trainor’s method, which also helps parents move from feeling controlled by their child’s anxiety to feeling that they are in control of their family’s future.

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