The Ernest Becker Foundation
|Of Recent Interest: "Stop Arguing and Start Understanding"|
|Tuesday, 01 January 2002 03:00|
Dr. Hall is a Seattle psychiatrist specializing in child and family therapy and former president of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He is also seen regularly at events sponsored by the Ernest Becker Foundation. In this book, Dr. Hall writes in very accessible language about family conflicts: how such conflicts can be avoided, and how they can be resolved when they do occur in such a way that the family bond is strengthened and emotional, psychological and spiritual growth may result.
The book, published in Seattle by Montlake Family Press, 2001, brims with therapeutic insight combined with solid common sense and practice wisdom. This is a practice-oriented book rather than a scholarly book, so only direct quotes are cited. However, this does not detract from the depth of the material.
Ernest Becker's influence is also clearly reflected in the ease with which Dr. Hall ingrates systems, emotion, psychology and spirituality into the processes of family communication, interaction and conflict resolution. Although this book will be of primary interest to other family counselors and therapists, it might also prove quite valuable for those who work in other areas such as communications and conflict resolution.
At the same time I was preparing this review, I happened to be reading Deborah Tannen's book, The Argument Culture: Moving From Debate to Dialogue (Random House 1998). It struck me how similar the advice offered in these two books is in terms of how one can take conflict and turn it around into positive opportunities for growth. In fact, if one had to choose, most of the time Dr. Hall's advice and presentation is quite the superior of the two.
With the dogs of war again being released in this land, we may assume that frequent heated argument is in our future, and any skills we can develop that would help us turn these encounters from mutual spleen-venting into opportunities of genuine communication will be most essential. I can only hope that Dr. Hall's book is not overlooked as an effective resource for this learning process.
Becker on Otto Rank
"Rank was—as the young people say—'something else' You cannot merely praise much of his work because in its stunning brilliance it is often fantastic, gratuitous, superlative; the insights seem like a gift, beyond what is necessary."
From the preface to Denial of Death
more on Otto Rank here