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Fatal Pauses

Getting Unstuck Through the Power of No and the Power of Go

Stuart C. Yudofsky, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-500-0
  • Item #62500

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People can become stuck in many ways and for a wide variety of reasons, explains the author of Fatal Pauses, that rare book that both clinicians and general readers can benefit from and enjoy. Novelistic in its depictions of composite patients but clear-eyed in its analysis, the book offers a 3-D method of addressing stuck-ness, which is defined as not stopping something that is bad for us or not starting and staying with something that is good for us. The process of discovering why one is stuck, deciding to become unstuck, and then asserting the discipline required to do so is brought to vivid life by one of the most respected psychiatrists of our day.

The book's structure is logical and engaging:

  • The Am I Stuck? Scale can be self-administered by general readers or administered by clinicians to their patients. This first chapter sets the stage for what follows.
  • The 3-D method of getting unstuck is presented in a systematic, easy-to-comprehend manner that begins with a brief overview and proceeds to more detailed instructions and insights.
  • Riveting case examples make up the heart of the book. They are not mere summaries but consist of thorough and detailed clinical descriptions that provide context, in addition to extensive dialogue and analysis. Several of these cases are divided into multiple chapters, providing a comprehensive clinical picture to help both mental health professionals and lay readers increase their understanding of being stuck.
  • A range of categories or stuck-ness is addressed, including being trapped by career choices, limited by obesity, paralyzed by an unsatisfying marriage, incapacitated by addiction, and imprisoned by the need to please. Of special note is the case example of a young man whose interpersonal relationships have gradually, but progressively, become reduced to computer-based encounters. The author's examination of this individual's fixation on video games and virtual realities and his escape from this cyberprison through treatment is both timely and compelling.
  • Finally, the author provides an evolutionary and neurobiological overview of how we become stuck, which helps the reader grasp the underpinnings of this behavior and learn how to become unstuck.

Written in a warm and disarming style, Fatal Pauses will find a home in clinicians' libraries,waiting rooms, and on family room bookshelves.


  • Preface: Pause
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Why This Book?
  • Chapter 1. The Am I Stuck? Scale
  • Chapter 2. Getting Stuck
  • Chapter 3. The Fatal Pauses 3-D Method of Getting Unstuck Through the Power of No and the Power of Go
  • Chapter 4. Stuck in My Job: The Case of Clarke Myerson
  • Chapter 5. Stuck in My Body, Part I (Discover): The Case of Ms. Anita Anthony
  • Chapter 6. Stuck in My Body, Part II (Decide and Discipline): The Case of Ms. Anita Anthony
  • Chapter 7. Stuck in My Marriage: The Cases of Helen and Blaise Hartman
  • Chapter 8. Stuck in a Bottle, Part I (Discover): The Case of Mrs. Lynda Jensen
  • Chapter 9. Stuck in a Bottle, Part II (Decide and Discipline): The Case of Mrs. Lynda Jensen
  • Chapter 10. Stuck in Pleasing Others, Part I (Discover): The Case of Eleanor Lai
  • Chapter 11. Stuck in Pleasing Others, Part II (Decide and Discipline): The Case of Eleanor Lai
  • Chapter 12. Stuck in Adolescence and Cyberspace, Part I (Discover): The Case of Lester Silber
  • Chapter 13. Stuck in Adolescence and Cyberspace, Part II (Decide and Discipline): The Case of Lester Silber
  • Chapter 14. Stuck in Success: The Case of Reverend Maynard Henden
  • Appendix: Treatment Principles
  • Index

About the Authors

Stuart C. Yudofsky, M.D., is Distinguished Service Professor and Chairman and the Drs. Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Presidential Chair of Neuropsychiatry, of the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine; Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas; and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences.

Fatal Pauses is a wonderful new book by Stuart Yudofsky. It is a book with two hearts. One is the collective music of compassion, pageantry, agony, growth and gratitude that characterize the bond between Stuart and his patients, which we're privileged to share. The other is Stuart's own heart and soul, which he opens to us with humility and a very personal voice. Do not fail to read this book.—John M. Oldham, M.D., M.S., Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, The Menninger Clinic, Houston, Texas; Past President, American Psychiatric Association, Arlington, Virginia

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