Daniel N. Stern

Forms of Vitality Exploring Dynamic Experience in Psychology, the Arts, Psychotherapy, and Development Publication date : September 30, 2010

Daniel N. Stern is an internationally renowned psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, professor and practitioner. Besides being the author of such popular successes as Diary of a Baby and The Birth of a Mother, he has written several respected standard works, including The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday Life.

French translations of the above-mentioned works are, respectively: Journal d’un bébé (new ed. 2004), La Naissance d’une mère (with Nadia Bruschweiler-Stern and Alison Freeland, 1998) and Le Moment présent en psychothérapie. Un monde dans un grain de sable (2003).

Vitality is a manifestation of human life, and as banal as it is essential. We experience vitality in ourselves, for ourselves, but also in others, in daily life and in living art forms like dance or theatre. And yet, how familiar are we with its workings, with how it develops and expresses itself, conferring more or less dynamism on life? Are we now capable of analysing its different manifestations, its range of variations among individuals, throughout the day, or throughout the ages of life? Can we explain why vitality is sometimes lacking or, conversely, why it sometimes surges powerfully, giving life an unusual boost of intensity and vigour?
Previously forgotten (along with Bergson’s “élan vital” or vital force), denigrated by scientists throughout the twentieth century, vitality makes a comeback in Daniel Stern’s groundbreaking new book. Backed by his clinical experience as a psychotherapist, Stern argues for the rehabilitation of vitality, which he explores from the angle of contemporary neuroscience.

• The author renews a concept that had been abandoned for more than a century but which is central to our understanding of our intimate experience of existence.

• Illustrated with specific examples from the arts (dance, music, theatre, film).

• Specific applications at the clinical (psychiatry and psychotherapy) and practical levels (daily life).