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For Instructors Request Inspection Copy. Considering that getting along in civil society is based on the expectation that most people will do what they say they will do, i.
The Twenty-First Greater Sin: Non fulfilment of a Promise
What makes it possible developmentally, cognitively, and emotionally to make a promise in the first place? And on the other hand, what compels one to keep a promise or vow or threat when there seems to be no personal advantage in doing so, and even when harm can be predicted?
How do we know when a promise is offered seriously to be taken at face value, and how do we understand that another is only a polite gesture, not to be taken seriously? In Promises, Oaths, and Vows: On the Psychology of Promising , Herbert Schlesinger addresses these questions, drawing on the literature of moral development in children; the psychotherapy of a patient who regularly broke promises that were unnecessary in the first place; those who were regarded as "promising youngsters" who did not fulfill their "promise"; and those who feared making a promise, a commitment, or a threat out of fear that, once made, the utterance would take on a life of its own and could never be taken back.
Furthermore, he illustrates his conclusions by examining the widespread use of promising in classical literature, such as Greek drama and the plays of Shakespeare, as well as the motivating and reifying power of the promise in Western religious traditions. With a style honed over the penning of two previous books, Schlesinger once again produces a work grounded in a firm analytic sensibility, but which also retains the wit and candor of the seasoned analyst.
Herbert J. Schlesinger, Ph. We provide complimentary e-inspection copies of primary textbooks to instructors considering our books for course adoption. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Search for more papers by this author. Herbert Schlesinger has long been a psychoanalytic clinician and theoretician whose wisdom has been valued by psychoanalysts everywhere.
In recent years he has begun to record the clinical wisdom accumulated over a lifetime as a psychoanalyst in a series of books. In he issued a treatise on technique 1. Two years later he published a superb text on the topic of termination 2.
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With this third contribution, he approaches a topic about which little has been written in the psychoanalytic literature—namely, the psychology of promising. Among the topics covered are empirical studies of moral development, the philosophical and historical background of promise making, the link of promising with the theory of mind, the clinical problems associated with promises, and even digressions into applied psychoanalytic topics, such as promising in Greek tragedy and Shakespearean drama. The sections on the clinical meanings and implications of promises are particularly useful for psychoanalysts and psychotherapists who read this book.
Promises, Oaths, and Vows: On the Psychology of Promising (Book Review)
For example, Schlesinger makes the point that the very act of making a promise reflects that a patient has a conflict about the subject of the promise, and this deserves clinical exploration. Promising can be viewed as additional reinforcement to overcome a wish to undermine the promise.
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Schlesinger also stresses that implicit promises appear more commonly than explicit promises in the context of psychotherapy. Analysts make them as well. The practice of long-term psychoanalytic treatment implicitly promises that the patient will not have to part from the analyst until his goals have been reached. In this context, he notes the legions of disappointed patients who are treated in training clinics, where rotating out of the clinic or graduating from the residency is not routinely brought up at the beginning of the treatment.
The clinical discussion of promises inevitably leads to explorations of patients characterized by chronic disappointment.
OATH | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
In one of the most compelling passages in the book, Schlesinger takes on this group of patients, who feel that life has promised them something that was never delivered. ISBN Considering that getting along in civil society is based on the expectation that most people will What makes it possible developmentally, cognitively, and emotionally to make a promise in the first place?
And on the other hand, what compels one to keep a promise or vow or threat when there seems to be no personal advantage in doing so, and even when harm can be predicted? How do we know when a promise is offered seriously to be taken at face value, and how do we understand that another is only a polite gesture, not to be taken seriously?