Awakening at Midlife

Kathleen A. Brehony, Author Riverhead Hardcover $24.95 (374p) ISBN 978-1-57322-024-8
Groundbreaking books like Gail Sheehy's Passages have shown that adults, as well as children, navigate major developmental stages. Many people still view the ""midlife crisis"" askance, however, believing that it consists of red sports cars for men and empty-nest syndrome for women. Jungian psychologist Brehony argues passionately that the midlife transition is a painful period in which ways of coping that served well during young adulthood crumble. She insists that all adults confront the midlife transition, though it is often diagnosed as isolated instances of depression or anxiety. During midlife, she explains, a terrifying sense of losing one's identity or a mind-numbing boredom actually herald the imminent breakthrough of a deeper, more powerful self, the potency of which can seem overwhelming. Brehony assures readers that a successful completion of the midlife transit results in a richer appreciation of life, along with the sense that one is living from the core of one's being. She proceeds to outline tools to cope with the crisis, from building support systems to dreamwork and prayer. Some of her suggestions here are familiar, and the Jungian cast of her text may leave cold those who haven't embraced the Swiss psychiatrist's ideas. Brehony speaks eloquently within this particular framework, however, and other Jungians should find much of note here. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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