Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D.
Life-Enhancing Anxiety makes a bold proposal: It is not less anxiety that we need today, but more, at least of a certain kind of anxiety. The book comprises a collection of original and previously published essays that converge on what Schneider calls life-enhancing anxiety. Life-enhancing anxiety is the invigorating degree of anxiety needed to become passionately engaged, ethically attuned, and creatively enriched. Set against our anxiety-avoidant times, life-enhancing anxiety enables us to "live with and make the best of the depth and mystery of existence." The potential for life-enhancing anxiety begins at the moment of birth-the point at which we shift from relative nonexistence and unity to sudden, abrupt existence and disunity. This juncture is both daunting and wondrous. Yet it is the management of the juncture by both caretakers and the culture at large that is all important; for it is that management that forms the bedrock for our capacity to deeply live, or to skim only the surfaces; to attain courage, or to seek refuge in gimmicks.
The book goes on to elaborate this developmental arc and apply it to a range of personal and social challenges. Among these challenges are the authors' personal struggle with life-enhancing anxiety; the role of life-enhancing anxiety in the cultivation of a sense of awe (humility and wonder) toward all existence; the role of life-enhancing anxiety in the arts, particularly film and literature; applications within the discipline of psychology; applications to social and political crises (war and violence in particular); and applications to spirituality and religion. Dr. Schneider concludes the book with a brief section on the relevant research on life-enhancing anxiety, followed by an Epilogue. The Epilogue summarizes the implications of life-enhancing anxiety for a more sane, sustainable, and awe-informed world.
Click Here to read a review of Life-Enhancing Anxiety in The Psychiatric Times
Life Enhancing Anxiety: Key to a Sane World is available to buy from your local bookseller and online internationally from Amazon.
Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D. is a leading spokesperson for contemporary existential-humanistic and existential-integrative psychology. Dr. Schneider was a 2022 Candidate for President of the American Psychological Association (APA), a cofounder and current president of the Existential-Humanistic Institute (an award-winning psychotherapy training center), and a two-term Member of the Council of Representatives of the APA. He is also past president (2015-2016) of the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32) of the APA, recent past editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology (2005-2012), a founder and frequent presenter/facilitator of the bridge-building dialogue approach the Experiential Democracy Dialogue and a trained moderator for the conflict mediation group Braver Angels. Dr. Schneider is also an adjunct faculty member at Saybrook University and Teachers College, Columbia University and an Honorary Member of the Society for Existential Analysis of the UK and the East European Association for Existential Therapy.
Dr. Schneider received the Rollo May Award for "outstanding and independent contributions" to the field of humanistic psychology from the Society for Humanistic Psychology, APA and is a Fellow of seven Divisions of the APA (5, 9, 32, 42, 12, 29, and 24). His work on existential-integrative psychotherapy has been featured in a special issue of the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration (March, 2016), as well as The Wiley World Handbook of Existential Therapy and the APA’s forthcoming Handbook of Psychotherapy. Dr. Schneider has published over 200 articles, interviews and chapters and has authored or edited 14 books including The Paradoxical Self, Horror and the Holy, Rediscovery of Awe, Awakening to Awe, The Spirituality of Awe, The Polarized Mind, The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology, Existential-Humanistic therapy, Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy, The Wiley World Handbook of Existential Therapy, The Depolarizing of America: A Guidebook for Social Healing. Dr. Schneider’s work has been featured in Scientific American, the New York Times, USA Today, The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Forbes Health, Psychology Today, BBC World News and many other health and psychology outlets.
Fascinating podcast interview with Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D.