Suffering and Psychology challenges modern psychology's concentration almost exclusively on eradicating pain, suffering, and their causes. Modern psychology and psychotherapy are motivated in part by a humane and compassionate desire to relieve many kinds of human suffering. However, they have concentrated almost exclusively on eradicating pain, suffering, and their causes. In doing so psychology perpetuates modern ideologies of individual human freedom and expanding instrumental control that foster worthy ideals but are distinctly limited and by themselves quite self-defeating and damaging in the long run.

This book explores theoretical commitments and cultural ideals that deter the field of psychology from facing and dealing credibly with inescapable human limitations and frailties, and with unavoidable suffering, pain, loss, heartbreak, and despair. Drawing on both secular and spiritual points of view, this book seeks to recover ideals of character and compassion and to illuminate the possibility of what Jonathan Sacks terms "transforming suffering" rather than seeking mainly to eliminate, anesthetize, or defy these dark and difficult aspects of the human condition.

Suffering and Psychology will be of interest to academic and professional psychologists and philosophers.

chapter |2 pages


chapter 1|7 pages

Stories of Suffering

chapter 2|5 pages

The Denial of Suffering in Psychology

chapter 3|23 pages

Disguised Ideology

chapter 4|16 pages

Early Religion and the Axial Age

chapter 5|23 pages

Modern Approaches

chapter 6|30 pages

Toward a “New Wisdom of Limits”

chapter 7|33 pages

Transforming Suffering