Feature Article: Vulnerability, Empathy, and Positive Thinking book by Dr. Geraldine K. Piorkowski

by | Jun 7, 2022 | Featured Article | 0 comments

Human beings are social beings, consistently interacting with other people. Whether at home, school, workplace, or community, we need personality attributes and skills that will help us maintain healthy relationships. Altruism, authenticity, empathy, respect, and vulnerability are among those positive qualities.

Today, we feature a vulnerability, empathy, and positive thinking book by Dr. Geraldine K. Piorkowski, a retired clinical psychologist, former counseling center director, and clinical associate professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“BEYOND PIPE DREAMS AND PLATITUDES” is a collection of eight provocative essays that contain Dr. Piorkowski’s insights on people and their motivations.

With over fifty-five years of experience, Dr. Geraldine Piorkowski has worked with people from different socioeconomic levels, races, sexual orientations, and walks of life.  In her book, Beyond Pipe Dreams and Platitudes: Insights on Love, Luck, and Narcissism from a Longtime Psychologist, she emphasizes that people are fundamentally the same in terms of needs, fears, defensive strategies, hopes and dreams. We all want to be appreciated, loved, and understood.  We also want to be self-sufficient and competent.  In addition, all of us want to feel safe in our neighborhoods and be reasonably stress-free.  And we want to feel good about ourselves, walking around with our heads held high and a liveliness in our steps.

In her book, Dr. Piorkowski talks about some of society’s misconceptions about these needs and values. In a hectic society filled with high expectations, competition, and many other stressors, we try to maintain a positive outlook to help us resolve our inner conflicts, boost our determination, and sustain us through the daily grind. However, positive thinking does more harm than good at times, especially when it ignores the objective situation and bypasses the processing of negative emotions.  When this occurs, positive thinking or happy talk can interfere with sound judgment, that is, our ability to plan for imminent disasters, and lead to anxiety, depression, and other psychological symptoms.

Dr. Geraldine Piorkowski also discusses the overemphasis in our society on romantic love, where unrealistic expectations lead to love’s downfall.  In one of the reviews of her book, the reviewer talks about the many illuminating ideas in the book that run counter to popular culture.

“She describes romantic love, for instance, as a social construct that, shorn of sustaining factors, is “subject to the love-eradicating effects of ordinary routine.” Likewise, she reevaluates the idea of autonomy and self-esteem; for instance, she advocates allowing children latitude in following their own paths instead of their mothers’ and fathers’ commands: “Only by opposing the will of our parents and other caretakers do we begin to strengthen our own resolve,” she writes, effectively expanding the subject to include an application to her adult readers’ lives: “Only by resistance can we feel our own strength….An intriguing and inviting series of observations on life’s motivations…Piorkowski proves to be a pithy and highly readable guide…It’s consistently compelling.” –Kirkus Reviews

Beyond Pipe Dreams and Platitudes: Insights on Love, Luck, and Narcissism from a Longtime Psychologist provides modern readers not only with wisdom but also tools to better understand themselves, other people, and the relationships that govern our daily existence.

 Dr. Geraldine Piorkowski has written many psychological articles. She is the author of two other non–fiction books, Too Close for Comfort: Exploring the Risks of Intimacy (1994) and Adult Children of Divorce: Confused Love Seekers (2008). Piorkowski currently sits on the Board of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. She lives in Chicago with her husband of sixty-three years. Their marriage produced three children; two are now in their adult years, Paul and Julie. Their son Michael died in 1995.

You can purchase Beyond Pipe Dreams and Platitudes: Insights on Love, Luck, and Narcissism from a Longtime Psychologist via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and/or Outskirts Press.


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