Drawing on work with Indian and Japanese patients, a prominent American psychoanalyst explores inner worlds that are markedly different from the Western psyche. A series of fascinating case studies illustrates Alan Roland's argument: the "familial self," rooted in the subtle emotional hierarchical relationships of the family and group, predominates in Indian and Japanese psyches and contrasts strongly with the Western "individualized self." In perceptive and sympathetic terms Roland describes the emotional problems that occur when Indians and Japanese encounter Western culture and the resulting successful integration of new patterns that he calls the "expanding self." Of particular interest are descriptions of the special problems of women in changing society and of the paradoxical relationship of the "spiritual self" of Indians and Japanese to the "familial self."
Also described is Roland's own response to the broadening of his emotional and intellectual horizons as he talked to patients and supervised therapists in India and Japan. "As we were coming in for a landing to Bombay," he writes, "the plane banked so sharply that when I supposedly looked down all I could see were the stars, while if I looked up, there were the lights of the city." This is the "world turned upside down" that he describes so eloquently in this book. What he has learned will fascinate those who wish to deepen their understanding of a different way of being.
"While Western psychology assumes that human nature is the same everywhere, there are profound psychological differences from culture to culture, according to a growing body of evidence . . . . One of the most extensive criticisms of Western psychology has been made by Dr. Roland in [this] book."--The New York Times
"Roland compares the extended familial-self typical of Indian and Japanese experience with the individualized self-concept of America.... This book adds crucial psychological dimensions to our study of Eastern philosophy and religion. It catches the vital nuances of self-experience that escape philosophical and historical approaches."--Harold Coward, Hindu-Christian Studies Bulletin
"This book addresses a fundamental question--the universality of human nature.... Drawing upon work with patients and therapists in both India and Japan, [Roland] describes the profound differences between the Western individualized self and the familial self so central to Asian culture.... Of particular value is Roland's sensitive treatment of the evolving identity of women in the two cultures, as well as his exploration of the deeply significant spiritual self, a topic that is largely neglected in Western theory and practice."--Choice