Paradox and personal growth during crisis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper considers situations of personal crisis, which lead to experiences of extreme helplessness and emotional upheaval. It is suggested that although crises may be precipitated by either external or internal events, all crisis situations have a common denominator. What is common to all crises is the disruption and then restitution of the ability to withstand paradox in the experience of the self. Although there is wide variety in the nature of the personal crisis, all crisis situations have similar structural features. Crises are so dramatic and so frequent a phenomenon in the human experience that they warrant serious and thorough investigation of their nature. Because crisis situations are on the one hand so disabling and potentially destructive and on the other hand can open doors to growth and development, they are extremely valuable to deepen our understanding of how crises develop and unfold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-380
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychoanalysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Conflict
  • Crisis
  • Paradox
  • Personal growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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