Aug 3, 2014

Hungry for Ecstasy: Trauma, The Brain, and the Influence of the Sixties

Hungry for Ecstasy graphic
Sharon Klayman Farber explores the hunger for ecstatic experience that can lead people down the road to self-destruction. In an attempt to help mental health professionals and concerned individuals understand and identify the phenomenon and ultimately intervene with patients, friends, and loved ones, Farber speaks both personally and professionally to the reader. She discusses the different paths taken on the road to ecstatic states. There are religious ecstasies, ecstasies of pain and near-death experiences, cult-induced ecstasies, creative ecstasies, and ecstasies from hell. Hungry for Ecstasy explores not only the neuroscientific processes involved but also the influence of the sixties in driving people to seek these states. Finally, Farber draws from her own personal and professional experience to advise others how to intervene on behalf of the person whose behavior puts his or her life at risk.

Editorial Reviews
Farber draws on her personal and professional experience, as well as her research, to explore the human desire for the ecstatic experience. She writes in a straightforward and engaging manner that would appeal to anyone who wishes to learn more about the cultural history, science, and psychology of the experience of ecstasy. . . .Readers will come away with fascinating and thought-provoking perspectives of many different theorists, mental health practitioners, and individuals with their own stories of pain and a desire for an ecstatic experience, which will spark creativity in the therapist when working with individuals who are trying desperately to escape painful emotions. Hungry for Ecstasy is a must read for social workers who work with adults or adolescents who engage in self-mutilating, addictive, or other high-risk behavior, because it will spark the curiosity of the reader to further explore these concepts and to keep an open mind and be accepting when engaging with these individuals. Farber provides rich examples of therapeutic dialogue and practical examples of how to be more self-aware, attuned, empathic, and caring in order to provide a safe and accepting space for these individuals to open up about painful aspects of their lives. She offers engaging ways to plant seeds and open the door to a discussion on how individuals can learn to manage difficult emotions without engaging in self-harm. Lastly, Farber provides countless references, giving the reader an opportunity for further exploration of captivating ideas and concepts. (The New Social Worker)
In this scholarly and unique book, Sharon Farber reminds us that the hunger for ecstasy is rooted in our nature and in unbearable and painful aspects of life. She explores the special and extraordinary depths and heights we adopt to enjoy, endure, escape, and defend against our nature and human psychological suffering. This book will appeal to a wide audience and students interested in the wide, unusual, and varied workings and experiences of the mind and human behavior. (Edward J. Khantzian, M.D., Harvard Medical School)
Sharon Farber takes us on a remarkable tour of the history, science, sociology, and psychology of the much misunderstood experience of ecstasy. Integrating research with clinical vignettes, she utilizes her unique empathy to help us understand even the most extreme compulsions behind the search for ecstatic experience. (Karen Hopenwasser, Weill Cornell Medical College)
Sharon Farber provides a remarkably engaging view of experiences that, for many people, stand among their lives' most defining moments. (Kevin R. Nelson M.D., author of The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain: A Neurologist's Search for the God Experience)
A thoughtful, probing book on vital emotional processes. (Michael Eigen, Author of "Ecstasy", "Rage", and "Lust")
Sharon Klayman Farber, PhD, is a board certified diplomate in clinical social work. She is the author of When the Body is the Target: Self-Harm, Pain, and Traumatic Attachments.