1st Edition

On Loss and Losing Beyond the Medical Model of Personal Distress

By Melvyn L. Fein Copyright 2012
    374 Pages
    by Routledge

    376 Pages
    by Routledge

    All people suffer instances of personal loss that cause distress. All too often, their discomfort is treated as a medical issue requiring treatment usually through medication. Melvyn L. Fein argues for a broader understanding of loss and losing that offers another approach, which he characterizes as "resocialization." Indeed, how a person thinks, feels, and acts may all need to be reorganized if personal distress is to be overcome.

    Fein urges that we distinguish between the loss of something we once possessed and losing something that never came to fruition. Thus, it is possible never to achieve vital social roles, social statuses, and/or personal bonds, despite our individual efforts. While some of these losses are not necessarily problematic, others are extremely painful. Unfortunately, rather than investigate the source of this discomfort, distraught individuals frequently seek refuge in simplistic solutions. As a consequence, one of the reasons the medical model remains dominant is that the alternative is imperfectly understood.

    Fein presents a compelling case for a sociological interpretation of personal distress. Although he acknowledges that some personal suffering derives from biological sources, and that mental illnesses can spill over to cause social dysfunctions, he argues that it is important to recognize the social causes of human suffering. In thereby recognizing the limitations of the human condition, most of us can do better than blindly accept an inherited dedication to the medical model. On Loss and Losing offers a legitimate option without denying the reality of human suffering.

    Preface, 1. Call Me Crazy! The Legend of the Neurotic Wolf; Social Killers; A Trip to the Hospital; A Historic Error, 2. Witches, Mad Doctors, and Pseudo-Sociologists The Bad Old Days; The Coming of Wisdom; The Arrival of Compassion; Psychotherapy and Deinstitutionalization; “Medical” Sociology; Moral Arbiters; Sociological Lapses, 3. On Losing Sore Losers; Loss; Losing; The Loss/Losing Nexus; The Social/Suffering Connection; Loss/Losing and the DSM Disorders; A Caveat, 4. Resocialization A Sovereign Remedy; The Repetition Compulsion; Denial; Protest; Sadness; Renegotiation, 5. Roles The Division of Labor; Traits versus Roles; Role Scripts; Role Partners; Dysfunctional Roles; Gender Roles, 6. Ranks King of the Mountain; Roles and Functions; Leaders and Tyrants; Caste and Class; Situational Stupidity; Bureaucracies, 7. Relationships Intimacy; Relationship Negotiations; Sex; Choosing a Partner; Courtship; Divorce; The Children of Divorce. 8. Beliefs Cognitive Communities; Irrationality; Faith; Lies; Pseudoscience. 9. Morality Moral Communities; Moral Logic; Hardball without an Umpire; For the Greater Good?; Idealism; Values; Character. 10. Beyond the Utopias A Distinction with a Difference; Accepting Limits; Amelioration; Cyclic Therapy. Bibliography. Index


    Melvyn L. Fein