Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Book Reviews -- Death Anxiety Handbook: Research, Instrumentation, and Application Edited by Robert A. Neimeyer

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

Book Reviews -- Death Anxiety Handbook: Research, Instrumentation, and Application Edited by Robert A. Neimeyer

Article excerpt

The subject of this book is an important area neglected by the behavioral sciences. Human suffering arises from our awareness of our pain and mortal status. Leo Tolstoy's short story, "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," dramatically shows us death as the ultimate shame by providing undeniable evidence of our powerlessness and defeat because of our inability to control our ultimate fate. As a consequence, most of our daily roles and activities are designed to deny and buffer us from our dreaded awareness, the casting shadow of our eventual nonbeing. Throughout our lives we seek a fund of knowledge and a place in the world that we magically hope will forestall, if not defeat death.

Neimeyer brings together some of the leading researchers on the subject of death anxiety. They present their latest studies on this subject from a particular point of view. This perspective is empirical and based on the theoretical concepts of George Kelly, existential psychologists and philosophers or from a sketchy psychoanalytic discussion. Their major finding is that death anxiety is evoked from a sense of one's failure to find personal meaning in one's life, accomplishments, and eventual demise.

The most serious limitation of this volume is that the contributors seem to take the significance and implication of their research as self-evident. …

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