One of the most fundamental aspects of human nature is that we seek to maximize comfort and minimize pain. Denial reflects our inherent wish to steer clear of what is hurtful, unnerving, and bothersome. Just as we wear mitts to guard against a scorching pan or don a jacket to protect from ice-cold weather, we shield ourselves against the psychological hot pots and blizzards of life. Yet, there are times when we need to touch life's symbolic fire and ice to live a full, peaceful, and rewarding existence, and denial holds us back. At the same time, denial is beneficial in its own right, helping us to navigate life's glorious yet craggy terrain. The key is how we wield it. When Reality Bites infuses science and a clinical perspective as it counters the popular yet incorrect notion that it's innately unhealthy to be "in denial." The book illuminates the dual-sided nature of denial, making the case that despite denial's unhealthy side, it's adaptive and serves a crucial purpose - to bolster our capacity to function, cope, and thrive.