A handbook to console, nourish and gently lead us on the path to emotional balance
Philippa Perry is a psychotherapist and writer who has written for the Guardian, the Observer, Time Out and Healthy Living magazine and has a column in Psychologies. In 2010 she wrote the graphic novel Couch Fiction, in an attempt to demystify psychotherapy. She lives in London and Sussex with her husband, the artist Grayson Perry, and enjoys gardening, cooking, parties, walking, tweeting and watching telly. The School of Life is a London-based enterprise that is dedicated to the most useful ideas relevant to the dilemmas of everyday life. We consider questions like: How can we fulfil our potential? Can work be inspiring? Why does community matter? Can relationships last a lifetime? We don't have all the answers, but we will direct you towards a variety of useful ideas from philosophy to literature, psychology to the visual arts that are guaranteed to stimulate, provoke, nourish and console.
Lumping the insane into two broad groups-those who "lurch from crisis to crisis" and those who "have got themselves into a rut and operate from a limited set of outdated, rigid responses-" Perry (Couch Fiction) explains how to "stay on the path between those two extremes." Right off the bat, it's clear her intention is not to transform the clinically crazy into functioning members of society; rather, this brief book is aimed at everyday folks struggling to "remain stable and yet flexible, coherent and yet able to embrace complexity." Perry, a psychotherapist, explains that people who maintain sanity have changed in four areas: "self-observation," relationships with others, coping with stress, and telling stories. The author addresses each in as many chapters, wherein she discusses related topics as diverse as biology, learning styles, the effects of exercise, and a Wagner opera, as well as illustrative case studies. Folks seeking further guidance will find more than 30 pages of practical "exercises" , as well as a list of suggested reading. Though Perry's approach can sometimes be difficult to follow, her inviting tone (complemented by lighthearted illustrations throughout) and friendly prose make this an accessible addition to the School of Life publications. Illus. Agent: Caroline Dawnay, United Agents (U.K.). (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.