Seth Grossman Carrie Millon Sarah Meagher Rowena Ramnath
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:
Personality disorders in modern life.—2nd ed. / Theodore Millon . . . [et al.]. p. cm.
Rev. ed. of: Personality disorders in modern life / Theodore Millon and Roger D. Davis. c2000. Includes bibliographical references (p. ). ISBN 0-471-23734-5
1. Personality disorders. I. Millon, Theodore. II. Millon, Theodore. Personality disorders in modern life. RC554.M537 2004 616.85'81—dc22
Printed in the United States of America.
It is a pleasure to introduce the reader to the second edition of this highly acclaimed volume, Personality Disorders in Modern Life. The first edition, which I had the honor to review for Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, was excellent, and the second edition by Theodore Millon and his team of coauthors—Seth Grossman, Carrie Millon, Sarah Meagher, and Rowena Ramnath—expands and updates the first. The senior author of this volume has reached the status of icon in the psychological sciences and has inspired a generation of workers in the field of personality theory, assessment, psychotherapy, and nosology. He is almost single-handedly responsible for the resurgence of a nearly moribund area in psychology—personology, the study of the human personality system, of interest to humankind since the dawn of consciousness— and the concomitant development of language, cognition, and culture—only a recent development. Personality theory nearly became extinct during the latter half of the past century, dismissed as a useless artifact of "prescientific psychology." However, the advances of clinical sciences, such as diagnosis, classification, and psychotherapy, spearheaded by Millon, beckoned leaders in the field to prevent this clinically and socially useful area of discourse and science from going the way of other prescientific precursors of our field, such as phrenology—the study of the contours of the head and their relationships to various neuropsychological functions.
As I described in my review of the original edition, published at the turn of the century, this volume represented significant advances over the first 100 years of modern psychology. Advances in the fields of psychotherapy, psychopathology, and personality theory have been substantial. Over a century ago, William James (1890) published his two-volume work, Principles of Psychology, which many consider a landmark in psychology and which ushered in the birth of modern psychology. Certainly, there were other groundbreaking works that had similar impact on the clinical sciences, such as Freud's (1900) Interpretation of Dreams, which during the same time span, gave birth to psychoanalysis and what many consider to be the beginning of modern psychotherapy. Over the course of the first century of modern psychology, many have attempted to elaborate the realm of the personality system; but few have been as comprehensive in this endeavor as Millon. This volume represents the accumulated wisdom and theoretical, clinical, and empirical findings over the past century. It affords us the opportunity to be introduced or reawakened by one of the most interesting subjects of our time: personality and its disorders. The insight offered in this volume allows all of us to understand the complexities of the plethora of converging forces that leads to alterations in personality and how they are represented, conceptualized, and treated.
The audience for this text is advanced undergraduate and graduate students, but it will serve as an introduction to all interested readers and excite even the most hesitant reader. Its broad coverage introduces undergraduate students to the fascinating world of clinical sciences with easy-to-follow case illustrations through the eyes of a student struggling to understand how these constructs and theories apply to clinical reality. For advanced students, this text serves as a consolidation of Millon's other works and introduces his conceptual system, which, for many, will lead to the reading of his other groundbreaking volumes on the topic. As a practicing clinician and personality theorist, I share Millon's view that personality is the main organizing system of humankind, and any understanding or attempt at altering the suffering encountered in clinical practice requires a deep appreciation of the domains of human personality.
For those pursuing careers in the social or clinical sciences, this volume is one for your library of reference books. I guarantee that you will refer to it often. The systematic theoretical modeling and self-other awareness that this volume engenders will enrich those students who are attracted to other disciplines. All of us at one time will encounter individuals similar to those described in this volume. It is important that we not use personality labels pejoratively or stigmatize those who suffer from personality dysfunction but, rather, that we develop a deeper appreciation for the variety of personality types profiled in this volume. This appreciation will enable those in various careers to be more effective when assigned a narcissistic boss or when reading about a psychopathic individual who preys on society, such as some of the infamous figures presented in this text. Those in the medical professions will gain a keener appreciation for their patients and for how their psychological immune system, as Millon has termed it, functions and dysfunctions under stressful conditions.
Millon and his team have carefully laid the groundwork for you to build a working model of human personality functioning and dysfunction. The framework is based on the dominant psychiatric model of diagnosing personality disorders but provides an even richer, more textured system, pioneered by Millon and based on evolutionary principles and clearly articulated domains of functioning. You will begin to acquire an appreciation for how clinical syndromes such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders emanate from the unique configuration of the personality system, which will allow you to embark on an incomparable journey of self- and other understanding. You will be challenged with many of the constructs and terminology, but familiarization with Millon's system has both clinical utility and value in understanding the unique and shared characteristics of the human race. Dr. Millon is one of the most prominent personality theorists of contemporary times; his work will inspire successive generations, just as William James and Sigmund Freud did more than 100 years ago. Enjoy the journey!
Jeffrey J. Magnavita, PhD, ABPP
Fellow, American Psychological Association
Adjunct Professor in Clinical Psychology, University of Hartford
Director, Connecticut Center for Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy
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