By Dr. Robert Firestone


The Glendon Association is pleased to announce the publication of Challenging the Fantasy Bond, a timely revision of Dr. Robert Firestone’s popular book, The Fantasy Bond, which was first published in 1985. Over the last few years, the staff at the Glendon Association has been encouraging Robert Firestone to update The Fantasy Bond, but his interest in writing new books and articles kept him from taking on the task. Then, in early 2020, when the world suddenly shut down and he had to quarantine to avoid Covid, Bob began looking for a project to take on during the pandemic, and Glendon’s request came to mind.


In the Spring of 2020, Bob put together a team to work with that included his original collaborator, Joyce Catlett, his daughter, psychologist Lisa Firestone, and his usual editors, Jo Barrington and Tamsen Firestone. The five of them revised The Fantasy Bond with the mission of bringing The Fantasy Bond into the 21st century. By the summer of 2021, Challenging the Fantasy Bond was complete and, by early 2022, APA had published it.


The organization and purpose of the book mirrors the original; to elucidate the fundamental theory of the fantasy bond. The first section introduces the fantasy bond and includes information about the fantasy bond in relation to Separation Theory and then in relation to couples and families. The second section discusses the dimensions of the fantasy bond, including the idealization process within the family as well as one’s negative self-concept. The third section explores the behavioral manifestations of the fantasy bond which have deleterious effects on individuation. This includes a discussion regarding unfulfilling inwardness, withholding and regression, as well as the impact of the fantasy bond on one’s sexuality.


The Fantasy Bond has continued to sell well over the years, greatly helped by word-of-mouth, thanks to people like Marc Maron and his WTF podcast. While these readers have been benefitting from the ideas put forth in this classic work, they have also been having trouble identifying with examples that have become dated and old fashioned. The examples in Challenging the Fantasy Bond are new, and therefore more reflective of the population in today’s world, representing various sexual orientations, ethnicities, ages, occupations, and income groups.


In addition, Challenging the Fantasy Bond has the benefit of the last 35 years of research and developments in the realm of psychology and related fields. This new book includes the latest findings from the neurosciences, attachment theory, and terror management theory. During the years between the publication of these two books, Drs. Robert and Lisa Firestone have continued to research and to develop the concept of the critical inner voice, which has led to a further assessment and development of Voice Therapy methodology. These findings are presented in Challenging the Fantasy Bond.


The concluding section of Challenging the Fantasy Bond expands the concept of the fantasy bond by exploring it more broadly, applying it to the operations of society at large. In a discussion of theoretical issues, the last chapters examine the function of the fantasy bond as it relates to death anxiety, society and conformity, and, finally, polarization, prejudice, and warfare. In the Introduction, Robert Firestone writes,


This edition is especially timely because it identifies significant psychological and social factors, based on people’s defensive responses to existential fears, which contribute to malignant prejudice, warfare, terrorism and ethnic cleansing. Developing an understanding of the role played by the fantasy bond as a powerful defence against death anxiety that ultimately leads to polarization and divisiveness between groups and nations, may well be essential to human existence.




Pages: 287
Item #: 4317595
ISBN: 978-1-4338-3581-0

Publication Date: February 2022

Format: Paperback
Availability: In Stock

Challenging the Fantasy Bond is available on Amazon, APA’s website, and local independent bookstores.