Challenging the Fantasy Bond: A Search for Personal Identity and Freedom (Paperback)

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Why are many of us compelled to repeat the pain of our past, while avoiding positive experiences that could enrich our lives?

This much-anticipated follow-up to the critically-acclaimed and bestselling The Fantasy Bond tackles the complex question of why so many of us are compelled to repeat the pain of our past while avoiding positive experiences that could enrich our lives.

In this thought-provoking book, clinical psychologist and theorist Robert Firestone explains how the fantasy bond, an illusion of connection, develops early in childhood to cope with the pain and frustration resulting from parental misattunement, neglect or mistreatment. It is manifested as a destructive internal thought process, the critical inner voice. Later, the fantasy bond is extended to family members, intimate partners, and social groups. In Challenging the FantasyBond, Dr. Firestone presents his latest thoughts and observations about the self-defeating aspects of this process and places the original concepts in the broader context of his overall theoretical approach, Separation Theory.

Compelling case studies illustrate how the critical inner voice causes considerable pain and discomfort and interferes with intimacy. These case studies demonstrate how Voice Therapy, a cognitive/affective/behavioral methodology, can be used to counteract these destructive internal messages and help individuals embrace the present, instead of reliving the past.

Challenging our illusions of a merged identity and moving toward separation and individuation are essential if we are to become fully autonomous human beings. This companion to a classic work is particularly timely in its identification of the existential fears that contribute to prejudice, political divisiveness and ethnic strife.

About the Author


Robert W. Firestone, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and author whose principle focus has been the subject of resistance in psychotherapy and people's resistance to a better life in general. His comprehensive body of written work elucidates how the avoidance of the true nature of the human condition contributes to interpersonal pain and suffering as well as to the crisis of fellowship in which we, as a species, find ourselves. Dr. Firestone is the author of fifteen other books including Voice Therapy, Compassionate Child-Rearing, Fear of Intimacy, The Self Under Siege, The Ethics of Interpersonal Relationships, Beyond Death Anxiety, and The Enemy Within. Dr. Firestone is the consulting theorist for The Glendon Association. His studies on negative thought processes and their associated affect have led to the development of Voice Therapy, a therapeutic methodology used to uncover and contend with aspects of self-destructive and self-limiting behaviors. The concept of the critical inner voice has been applied to empirical research, developing The Firestone Assessment of Self-destructive Thoughts (FAST) and The Firestone Assessment of Violent Thoughts (FAVT), scales that assess the potential for suicide and violence. Dr. Firestone has also produced 35 documentaries with The Glendon Association.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781433835810
ISBN-10: 1433835819
Publisher: American Psychological Association (APA)
Publication Date: February 15th, 2022
Pages: 327
Language: English