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The 5 Personality Patterns: Your Guide to Understanding Yourself and Others and Developing Emotional Maturity Paperback – 28 August 2015
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"This is one of the most useful popular psychology books I have ever seen. . . . It should become a classic." --- Stephen M. Johnson, author of Character Styles and Characterological Transformation
"As a psychotherapist with close to 20 years of experience who is constantly reading books in my field, I find this book to be extremely illuminating and applicable for both my personal experiences, and for my work with clients in private practice. I almost never write product reviews, and I felt compelled to write a review for this book. I appreciate the author's inclusion of energy and the body with psychological perspectives about the survival patterns of human beings. His voice is gentle, clear, humane, and optimistic. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in being a student of life and from being a human. I would love to see the author write a book about ways to heal each survival pattern." -- Kun-Hong Lu
"Wow. This book is incredible. I have worked doing deep healing work with clients for the last 9 years and I integrate the enneagram, energy work and other somatic practices. Steven has done a brilliant and deep work developing and compiling this information in a way that is approachable and also vast. His writing shows he has obviously put in his time sitting and supporting and studying real humans. This work is a game changer." -- Micah T. McLaughlin
"This book has changed my life. I have read many personality and self-help books, this one has given me the perspective for true change. Not only does Steven Kessler help me feel understood and help me understand myself, but he has given me tools that are healing me. Now, after reading it, I use it as a reference book daily... the more I re-read, the more I learn. He addresses the physical, emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual body. I love the way he points out that as we heal from our wounds, we'll be able to use the 'gifts' we have developed through our 'wounding'. This book is written clearly and with empathy. Thank you! I love it!"
"This brilliant book has ben a game changer in my life. Kessler writes with deep insight, understanding and compassion about human beings and our struggles, differences and gifts. This book is uncannily revealing and will be a great help to those looking to learn more about themselves. If you want to understand how you got stuck, how to get unstuck, how to lovingly grow yourself up and gather our own buried gold, this book is for you. It is eminently readable, accessible and frankly, hard to put down."
- Publisher : Bodhi Tree Press (28 August 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 388 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0996343903
- ISBN-13 : 978-0996343909
- Dimensions : 15.24 x 2.46 x 22.86 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 75,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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One of the numerous theories of psychodynamics going back to Freud that encapsulates this statement well is the idea of the ‘false self’. This defensive façade (Winnicott) behind a mere appearance of being real is necessary in the absence of the conditions for ‘good enough’ care-taking especially from traumatisation during early childhood to protect the vulnerable ‘true or authentic self’ (individuation) during the formation of the fragile ego (integration). For example, narcissists often need to control others' behaviour as they are seen as extensions of themselves “meanwhile keeping their real imperfect true self under wraps.” SK turns the defensive moves of the ego into five buffering strategies or bioenergetic patterns constructed out of the pool of resources available to the inchoate psyche.
The five patterns of ‘leaving’, ‘merging’, ‘enduring’, ‘aggressive’ and ‘rigid’, each relating to a unique stage of psychological progression in maturity, were originally mapped out by Lowen (bio-energetics) and Pierrakos (core-energetics) after Reich (character structures); then more significantly Barbara Brennan verified their ‘spiritual’ existence as invisible energies emanating from the body, for example aggressive energy is described in her first book as moving up from the torso out over the head in a motion resembling psychic antlers.
There is a large body of psychoanalytical literature devoted to charting the internal mechanisms the infant and child develops at various stages in reducing ‘anaclitic’ deprivation (the leaning towards a love object) which can cause primal pain (Janov). What this book amounts to is a synthesis of SK’s considerable storehouse of psychotherapeutic experience in many disciplines with what happens when we as adults ‘overwhelm’ as a result of the bio/core energetic patterns created from childhood: the natural movements of the feeling body (pre and post-verbal) pitted against the negative imprints of the environment received through ‘commision’ (sharp shock traumas) or ‘ommision’ by neglect (developing traumas).
Whether a particular survival pattern is developed depends on a whole host of factors, including as described by SK: the depth of difficulty when needs are not met; what talents and skills we have at that time to buffer ourselves from difficulty; whether the environment will allow a buffering method to succeed; if a buffering method succeeds can it be used to turn into a habit; if a buffering method fails either because we don’t have the talents to pull it off will another one be found, and so on. However interestingly the following influences also apply: someone who gets stuck at a later developmental stage has more skills than someone who got stuck at an earlier stage to deal with overwhelm - though they have weaker sensitivity skills. Conversely, someone who has weaker early foundational skills and a hole in their skill set finds it much harder to acquire new skills (hence the inauthentic work-arounds) but continues to have strong sensitivity skill sets - the ‘wounded healer’ here springs to mind.
Upon closer inspection SK’s patterns offer a fairly close approximation to Erickson’s psychological periods of crises (commencing after the embodiment stage) that outlines how the psychological needs of the child conflict with those of their immediate environment. Each stage has a positive or negative outcome dependent upon how much accumulated wisdom is gained through personal experience. For instance, Erikson’s trust v intimacy crisis (0-18 months) offers the potency of ‘hope’ and has some equivalence to the ‘merging’ pattern; the autonomy v shame crisis (1-3 yrs) develops the strength of ‘will’ as encountered in the ‘enduring’ pattern; the ‘aggressive’ pattern contains similar characteristics to the psychological crisis of initiative v guilt (3-5 yrs) which has ‘purpose’ as a strength; and finally the ‘rigid’ pattern has distinct traits to the psychological crisis of industry v inferiority (6-11 yrs) and signals the importance of emerging ‘competency’.
Concentrating on the skills necessary to pay attention to learn without suffering, through the acquisition of virtues or strengths (for an authentic self to flower) rather than resorting to a static data-based construction out of prevailing categories of type (often applied post ex facto) the mechanisms for learning are emphasised. This to my mind correlates accurately with the work of Martin Seligman and is also akin to Campbell’s Hero’s Journey in achieving a mastery of the innate and outer worlds through the call to trial and adventure with resulting talents brought back into the presence of the material world. Interestingly, NLP’s stance on this matter (according to Bandler) is to dispense with the suffering completely by setting out to distil the makeup of the treasures of those who have successfully utilised their gifts in high functioning situations. In this model timeline holes unsuccessfully navigated as children can be rebuilt rapidly from scratch since adults have more resources in making for a rapid re-building process.
It provides you with a great insight to old patterns of feelings that helped you survive the traumas of childhood that can get stuck and shape your personality.
It guides you to understand yourself and others, providing you guidance to develop emotional maturity - thought provoking and an excellent read