Philip Manfield, Ph.D., Joan Lovett, MD, Lewis Engel,
Ph.D., & David Manfield, Ph.D. (2017). Use of the Flash Technique in EMDR therapy: Four case examples. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 11, 195-205.
Imaginary Crimes: Why We Punish Ourselves and How To Stop
by Lewis Engel, Ph.D. and Tom Ferguson, MD, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1990
Hidden Guilt: How to Stop Punishing Yourself and Enjoy the Happiness You Deserve
by Lewis Engel, Ph.D and Tom Ferguson, MD, Pocket Books, New York, 1991
I have written Imaginary Crimes, a popular, widely translated and well-respected book on the subtle role that guilt can play in causing self-defeating behaviors. This book, based on Control Mastery Theory, argues that many of our most serious psychological problems are due to a special kind of guilt: the hidden guilt we feel toward our parents or other loved ones. Somewhere back in childhood we came to believe that by achieving success, independence, or happiness we would harm those we love. We judged ourselves guilty of “imaginary crimes” and have been punishing ourselves ever since.
This book details the six most common types of “imaginary crimes,” including ‘outdoing’ (being more successful than your parents); ‘love theft’ (being favored over a sibling); ‘disloyalty’; and ‘basic badness’. Because of guilt over these “crimes” we can become our own worst enemy.
It was published in both hardback and paperback editions in English. Translations were published in France, French Canada, Germany, and Brazil. The book was widely praised by leading psychologists and psychiatrists as well as experts in chemical dependency.
Chapters in Edited Books
“Imaginary Crimes: Resolving Guilt and Writer’s Block,” in EMDR: Case Book, edited by Philip Manfield, Norton, New York, 2003. A case study utilizing Control Mastery Theory and EMDR in the treatment of writer’s block.
“Self-Care for Couples,” in The Medical Self-Care Book, edited by Tom Ferguson, Simon/Shuster, New York, 1979. Tools for couples to use for building and maintaining a thriving relationship.
Praise for Imaginary Crimes
“One of those rare books that could change your life.”
–Joe Graedon, M.S. author of the People’s Pharmacy series
“One of the best self-help books I’ve ever read. Highly recommended–especially for those intelligent, competent, creative people who just seem to shoot themselves in the foot just as they are about to reach an important goal.”
–Lonnie Barbach, PhD, clinical faculty, UCSF author of For Yourself and Going the Distance
“One of the most electrifying new books I’ve read in many years. An important book for professionals and lay folk alike.”
–Roger Gould, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA, author of Transformations
“What a contribution! I’ve put Imaginary Crimes at the top of my recommended list for colleagues and clients alike.”
–Stephanie Brown, PhD, author of Treating Adult Children Of Alcoholics
“A highly readable book that will serve as an excellent tool for people in recovery.”
–Richard Lewis Miller, MA, PhD, founder, Cokenders Alcohol and Drug Program
“A powerful new approach to psychological healing. Provides compelling insights into our tendencies to self-sabotage. The authors provide step-by-step guidelines for breaking out of the self-defeating patterns that block the attainment of our most cherished goals. A liberating and important book.”
–Kenneth R Pelletier, PhD., author of Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer
“A marvelous and helpful book on how to release the emotional pain of growing up; to release unnecessary guilt and be free.”
–Harold H Bloomfield, M.D., author of Making Peace With Your Parents and Making Peace With Yourself
“Provocative and exciting… an exemplary do-it-yourself text…an intellectual masterwork.” –West Coast Review of Books
“A wise, deeply felt book, full of warmth and healing… Belongs on the shelf next to The Art of Loving and The Road Less Traveled.”
–Stewart Udofsky, M.D., Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago
“Offers us a poignant and important way to understand our deepest problems… Please read this book!”
–John Bradshaw, author of Healing the Shame That Binds You