Empathy Rules : Depression, Schadenfreude & Freudenfreude Research on Depression Risk Factors & Treatment, Hardback Book

Empathy Rules : Depression, Schadenfreude & Freudenfreude Research on Depression Risk Factors & Treatment Hardback

Edited by Catherine Chambliss, Amy Hartl


This book presents compelling empirical evidence, collected in the US and Europe, that how one reacts to others ups and downs may profoundly affect their own mental health.

Depression continues to devastate a growing number of lives globally.

More than 350 million people worldwide have depression (Smith, 2014).

While medications and psychotherapy help many, more solutions are urgently needed.

Since social factors are known to be influential, innovative exploration of the interpersonal dimensions of depression is vital.

This book explains how expressing greater empathy can help.

This book is directed at a broad audience, including everyone seeking better relationships, clients wanting to amplify their recovery experience, as well as clinicians and students interested in helping others who struggle with depression.

Schadenfreude (deriving pleasure from others misfortune) helps explain our inordinate interest in others' pain and bad luck.

It is why in the news "if it bleeds, it leads," why so much fiction focuses on tragedy, why attention rivets on the latest celebrity arrest or rehab, and why people poor through obituaries.

Granted, schadenfreude is not the whole story. Seeking information about potential threats has survival significance.

Part of our brains evolved to focus laser-like on even low risk dangers. And peoples huge appetite for bad news about others' lives has its social advantages.

When adroitly conveyed, this interest communicates concern and caring.

It comforts and connects people. But if the joy that other peoples problems occasionally gives you becomes unveiled, watch out.

Nothing hurts more when someones down than seeing their own despair delight the listener or obviously make the listener feel lucky (Im positively thrilled not to be in that fix; better you than me!).

The trick, in friendship and other helping relationships, is to dampen expressions of schadenfreude and instead emphasise empathy.

But not everyone is skilled at this, which frequently seems to result in interpersonal difficulties and enhanced risk of depression.

This book was designed to highlight the perils of excessive schadenfreude when others stumble, as well as the promise of building better relationships through greater expression of freudenfreude (sharing others joy) when others succeed.

Understanding these issues may help the reader improve relationships and reduce depressive symptoms, or possibly enable the reader to assist others battle depression more successfully.

Long-term recovery depends heavily upon establishing and maintaining an effective support system.

Learning how to balance ones selfish and cooperative impulses more thoughtfully can be extremely useful in building a more robust social network.

As humanity contends with modern threats, including the hazards of planetary warming, successful solutions require emphasising empathy and our interconnectedness while curbing our short-term, selfish inclinations.

Although responding more optimally to depression is the focus of this book, it invites the application of these ideas to even broader concerns.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 365 pages
  • Publisher: Nova Science Publishers Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Sociology
  • ISBN: 9781536100006



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