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In the last two entries, I described the crisis point in professional development that therapists can experience when they are getting in touch with the inherent impossibility of the therapeutic endeavour, and how wrapped up this can become with a disturbing sense of professional failure and personal failings which touch deeply into our subjective identity as therapists.
But rather than being understood as the place and space in the therapeutic encounter where we must inevitably arrive if we are to engage the mutually-transformative potential of therapy, our discipline also has a historical tendency to override, side-step, conquer and find ‘solutions’ for these necessary vicissitudes of the process.
Our self is first and foremost a body-as-experienced-being-handled-and held-by-other-self (Lewis Aron)
Common sense, though all very well for everyday purposes, is easily confused, even by such simple questions as . . . when you feel a pain in the leg, where is the pain? If you say it is in your head, would it be in your head if your leg had not been amputated? If you say yes, then what reason have you for ever thinking you have a leg? (Bertrand Russell)
Latest articles and interviews
Approach/issue: Group therapy
Jane Czyzselska considers the psychology of group interaction in the new era of President Trump.
The author identifies acts of humiliation as a specific and often traumatic way of exercising power, with a set of consistently occurring elements and predictable consequences, including a loss of the ability to trust others. It is argued that these consequences are serious and long-lasting. The article makes a distinction between ‘shame’ as a state of mind and ‘humiliation’ as an act perpetrated against a person or group. The interplay between humiliation and shame after a humiliating act is discussed. It is argued that the patient’s recovery of the capacity to resume a relatively normal life is made more likely if the therapist acknowledges the specificity of humiliation, the impossibility of reversing a humiliating act and the importance of focussing on the consequences of humiliation.