Reviewed Books & Films

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November 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Self-Regulation on the Silver Screen

APA In our review of the widely popular film Twilight, Jeremy Clyman and I take a closer look at the character strength of self-regulation, one of the least endorsed strengths across the world and one of the least portrayed in film. One of the film's protagonists, Edward Cullen, is a paragon for self-regulation in the way in which he maintains exquisite, healthy control of his emotions, impulses, and instincts. We note:

Edward tries hard to display self-control as he faces a crescendo of challenges in which he must continue to develop his "muscle" of self-control. Numerous scenes show him resisting. Although he struggles honestly, exclaiming, "I still don't know if I can control myself," he is successful in his efforts.
Is self-control a strength that can easily be built up? What are the best ways for a therapist to help a client enhance their self-control/self-regulation?

What makes this such a popular film?

The second film in this series, New Moon, just arrived in various cities around the world. Does Edward's character strength of self-regulation/self-control continue as strongly through this film as well? What evidence do you see to support your view?

Read the Review
ReviewTemperance: The Quiet Virtue Finds a Home
By Ryan M. Niemiec [and] Jeremy Clyman
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2009 Vol 54(46)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Has Positive Psychology Come Into Its Own?

APA In his review of editor Shane Lopez's two-volume set The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology, Harris Friedman contends that the field of positive psychology is not developed enough nor distinct enough from humanistic psychology to warrant an encyclopedia. What is your view of this? Friedman later critiques the field of positive psychology as having "emerged as a repackaged product that has been aggressively marketed and has achieved amazing success as a result."

Do you believe these claims are fair? Has Friedman adequately and accurately considered the scope of research, scholarly output, and cross-discipline work to other fields that positive psychology has accomplished over the last 10 years? Most important, do you believe there is more that needs to be done to bridge gaps and collaborations between positive psychology and humanistic psychology?

Read the Review
ReviewPositive Psychology From A to W
By Harris L. Friedman
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2009 Vol 54(35)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Emerson's Advice on Staying Creative Through Life's Ups and Downs

APA In First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process, biographer Robert Richardson draws from Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays and journals and shares Emerson's advice on creativity and productivity in thought and writing. Throughout the book, Richardson presents us with an essential tension between the Emerson who insisted on nonconformity and originality, versus "…another side (of Emerson), a side where both his feet are planted in everyday reality, a side of him that often sounds overwhelmed, sometimes desperate, but always determined" (p. 3). In my review of the book, I discussed this tension, and the necessity for determination even in the face of desperation, as it may apply to a life and career in psychology. I shared a little of my own struggle to maintain interest and creativity in my work as my career path led me to a non-tenured, soft-money job—not the destination I envisioned as a student, but one that has held more possibilities for interesting work than I had imagined. Emerson's insistence that we rely not just on literature but on close observation of nature to generate ideas, and that we push forward with our work on the darkest days, resonated deeply with my experience.

What has your experience been? Has your career—whether you are still in graduate school or well beyond—brought setbacks and disappointments, or perhaps simply unexpected changes in direction? If so, have you found ways to maintain or rekindle interest and regain direction? Does Emerson's call for originality and bravery especially in the worst of times inspire you, or does it feel naive and unrealistic given the professional realities you encounter?

Read the Review

Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

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