Vaillant has spent his entire life studying prospectively the lives of hundreds of both rich and poor men in his most famous research at the Harvard University Health Center. His books have focused first on their adaptation to and successful coping with stress (“Adaptation to Life”, 1977), next on their recovery from alcoholism (“The Natural History of Alcoholism”, 1983), then including the lifetime development of women (“The Wisdom of the Ego”, 1996), then to what led to successful mental and physical aging (“Aging Well”, 2002), then to a study of positive emotions and what therapists can learn from Positive Psychology ( “Spiritual Evolution”, 2008) and finally, as the men pass 90, an empirical – not Erikson’s, admittedly brilliant, armchair view – study of adult development from 18 to 90 (“Spiritual Evolution”, 2012).
In 3 two hour sessions Vaillant will focus on the contribution of understanding of adult development, the addictions, Positive Psychology, and involuntary coping mechanisms to psychotherapy. Among other learning objectives, under the motto of: “The follow-up is the great exposer of truth, the rock upon which fine theories are wrecked.”
Vaillant will use this occasion to draw participants to multiple forbidden therapeutic subjects: Freudian defense mechanisms, love and joy and spirituality. Come learn such valuable life secrets such as love and depression get better after age 70 or that cellulite, like adolescence…sensible people outgrow.
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Dr. Vaillant is a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital From 1970 to 2005 he was Director of the Study of Adult Development at the Harvard University Health Service. The study is arguably the longest (75 years) prospective psychosocial and medical study of males in the world. In 2000 he became a founding member of Positive Psychology. More recently Vaillant has been interested in positive emotions and their relationship to Positive Psychology.
His published works include Adaptation to Life, 1977, The Natural History of Alcoholism-Revisited, 1995, Aging Well, 2002, Spiritual Evolution, 2008 and Triumphs of Experience, 2012.
Audrey Freshman, Ph.D., LCSW, CASAC
Director, Office of Professional and Continuing Education
Social Work Building, Room 235
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