The elder Bennett is a psychiatrist and American Psychiatric Association distinguished fellow. His daughter is a comedy writer. Together, they provide a tough-love, irreverent take on “life’s impossible problems.” The crux of their approach is that life is hard and negative emotions are part of it.
Sarah: We always try and make sure that people know that we don’t hate feelings in general. But this is more of a book about solving problems. It’s to not make feelings the most important factor in how you would approach a problem.
Sometimes the search for the source of a problem can be a distraction, and it can also be a disappointment. A lot of the time, knowing why, isn’t immediately going to flip a switch in your brain.
Is there a more active action I can pursue that can have a more possible positive and constructive outcome?
Michael: We know … getting at what you really feel can be liberating, and important. But there’s some point where you’re still often left with some really severe limitations and have to deal with them. And if you don’t get past the emotions, if you don’t stop seeking emotional resolution or improvement, you really get stuck.
Sarah: Our support of profanity isn’t that we think people should get up and scream horrible things at other people, but it’s about helping people to get a sense of humor about what bothers them. As my father said, to take things less personally.
*Image of “Iguazu” via SF Brit/Flickr/CC BY