Erosion: The Psychopathology of Self-Criticism

ISBN : 9780199929368

Golan Shahar
240 Pages
163 x 238 mm
Pub date
Sep 2015
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Self-criticism is a personality trait that has been implicated in a wide range of psychopathologies and developmental arrests. Defined as the tendency to set unrealistically high standards for one's self and to adopt a punitive stance towards the self once these standards are not met, self-criticism is both active and cyclical. Self-critics actively create the social-interpersonal conditions that generate their distress, and their distress itself exacerbates self-criticism. Erosion offers a comprehensive treatment of self-criticism based in philosophy, developmental science, personality and clinical psychology, social theories, and cognitive-affective neuroscience. Professor Golan Shahar expertly summarizes the most recent research on the topic and synthesizes theory, empirical research, and clinical practice guidelines for assessment, prevention, and treatment. The book rests upon three elements that, as Shahar argues, are central to the maintenance of self-critical vulnerability: the importance of a concept of an authentic self or the need to "feel real"; the importance of intentionality and goal-directedness; and the power of interpersonal relationships and cultural context. Shahar argues that exploring these elements requires an integrated clinical approach that incorporates multidimensional assessment and interventions which reconcile science, practice, and policy. The result is a broad and scholarly volume that is useful to practitioners, researchers, and theorists interested in self-criticism.


Foreword by Larry Davidson
Part I: In Effect
Chapter 1 The culprit and its modus operandi
Chapter 2 Eliminating the other suspects
Part II: In Theory
Chapter 3 Theories of self-criticism and their discontents
Chapter 4 Authenticity and Self-Knowledge (ASK)
Chapter 5 Development, families, and cultures: The Axis of Criticism (ACRIM)
Part III: In Practice
Chapter 6 Credo: A philosophy of treatment
Chapter 7 Specific interventions and guidelines
Chapter 8 Postscript
About the Author

About the author: 

Golan Shahar, PhD, is Professor of Clinical-Health and Developmental-Health Psychology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, where he directs the Stress, Self, and Health Lab. Dr. Shahar is the founding director of the Ben-Gurion University Center for the Advancement of Research on Stress (BGU-CARES). He also serves as Visiting Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. He is the author of over 130 publications/book chapters in the fields of personality, stress, psychopathology, psychosomatics, and psychotherapy and currently serves as the Chief Editor of the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration.

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