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The Mature Psychotherapist: Beyond Training and Ideology

: Wyn Bramley

Wyn Bramley presents a clinical memoir – which is simultaneously ‘light’ but serious – outlining all that happens (or fails to happen) that is not covered by books or training.    Wyn Bramley has worked in the mental health field for more than 50 years. In this book she invites experienced therapists and counsellors to consider becoming more self-directed practitioners. She advocates a coming together of the various disciplines as opposed to the old factionalism, believing that modern psychodynamic principles and concepts can be assimilated into all modalities. She takes old ideas in this field that have stood the test of time and places them, along with lively case material, in a contemporary context. She also brings us up to date with the latest Relational thinking, which readers may have missed in their training. Her central conviction is that mature therapists should dare to open up their own internal world to the work, so that the therapy is deeper and richer. She describes in plain, accessible language, and with clinical illustrations, how this may be accomplished.   Attention is given to the controversial issue of disorders of personality, the best way to do short term therapy in the NHS, the differences between couple and individual therapy, and how defence mechanisms and the developmental perspective operate in the consulting room of a modern self-reflective practitioner.   Wyn Bramley is semi-retired and runs a small private practice in rural Oxfordshire.  She is the author of The Broad Spectrum Psychotherapist and The Supervisory Couple in Broad Spectrum Psychotherapy, also published by Free Association Books. Read more…

Win. Lose. Repeat: My Life As A Gambler, From Coin-Pushers to Financial Spread-Betting

: Chris Stringman

Chris Stringman gambled, and lost £130,000, destroying his savings, losing his car and almost his house, but he managed to escape his addiction just before he fell over the precipice.  This is not a book about how to win, rather a book about how not to lose – essentially a self-help book for the delusional gambler.   The author explores the gambling industry in a way that hasn’t been done before.  His personal demon was spread-betting and much of the book is focused on that industry.  He explains how it operates, how it sucks gamblers in and keeps them there.  He goes on to look at high-street bookies, fruit machines, casinos, poker and bingo.  He also looks at how and why we gamble.   Full of humour throughout and written in an accessible style, the book sets out to entertain as well as educate.  Stringman has produced a handbook for both the gambling addict and those who see it as ‘just’ an innocent hobby.  He gives practical guidance on how to escape the clutches of gambling and how to spot the signs in others.   Chris Stringman is originally from England.  He has worked as a teacher and is currently living with his family in Germany. Read more…

My Mother, My Daughter, My Self

: Jane Goldberg

My Mother, My Daughter, My Self is a significant self-revelatory work which chronicles the separation process between mother and child, focussing most specifically on the mother/daughter relationship.  The book asks a core question for all mothers and adult children: how do we perform the perplexing, sometimes terrifying act of separation from our mothers and our children while simultaneously marching toward the unknown terrain of individuality?  How do we yield to this inevitable process of emotional separation from that which was once our own self?     The author uses her own experiences as a daughter, as a mother of a newly-adopted baby, and as a psychoanalyst to explore an essential truth:  that our relationships with our mothers affect our other significant love relationships, our values, our self-esteem, and our sense of satisfaction, often throughout the whole of our lives.  She also uses the experiences of some of her patients, taken from her forty years as a practicing clinician, to provide further fascinating insights and illustration.   Readers are gifted with both an internal parenting ‘guide’ as well as a deeply profound memoir about the internal process of being a mother that is so crucial, yet rarely looked at so intently.   Jane Goldberg Ph.D is a practicing psychoanalyst and a notable figure in the holistic health community.  She is also an established author and has appeared on radio and television programmes to talk about relationships, mind/body health, and psychological oncology.  In 1994 she was named “Most Admired Woman of the Decade” by the American Biographical Institute.   This wonderful book by Dr. Goldberg is warm, moving and so very true about the relationships of mothers ourselves and our daughters. Who would think a psychoanalyst could write so beautifully and yet clinically about the relationships of mothers and daughters?   Vicki Semel, Ph.D. Read more…

The Studio: A Psychoanalytic Legacy

: Gregory, Gill

The Studio is a unique and exciting work, referencing Freud and other psychoanalytic heavy-weights to examine a difficult past – loss, trauma and the complexities of life are addressed and explored. Each chapter takes a painting as its focus, holding it up to the light as the author’s engagement with each work is interwoven with memoir and her thoughts on the psychoanalytic processes which inform her life. “Gill Gregory’s poetic memoir maps the struggle to be free from a paralysing past by way of an explanation of paintings and psychoanalysis.  The Studio breaks the mould of autobiographical writing like Marion Milner’s On Not Being Able To Paint,  and tells a story that is at once lyrical and scholarly, emotionally gripping and historically intriguing – moving above all.  This is an outstandingly gifted and rare book.” (Isobel Armstrong, Professor Emeritus at Birkbeck College, University of London)   ‘Accompanied by illuminating quotes from volumes of Freud bequeathed by her father, and beautiful reproductions of works of art bequeathed to the Tate by her uncle, Gregory’s account details the impact on her and her family of her older brother’s epilepsy and early death.  The result is one of the most moving books I have come across in a long time. Read more…

On the Freud Watch: Public Memoirs

: Roazen, Paul

This is a collection of personal pieces. The Introduction deals with Paul Roazen’s experiences attending clinical case conferences at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in 1964-65, and what he learned about psychoanalytic psychology there. Chapter 1 makes a general statement about his outlook on why studying the past matters. Chapter 2 deals with a particular psychological explanation that his friend Charles Rycroft offered for why psychoanalysts are characteristically anti-historical. Chapter 3 discusses Roazen’s take on the problem of Freud’s analysis of his daughter Anna, a matter Roazen first brought to light in 1969. Chapter 4 deals with the rarely discussed question of training analyses. Chapter 5 contains Roazen’s efforts to deal with the way the founder of the Freud Archives, Kurt Eissler, launched attacks on his work. Chapter 6 tries to show how Roazen thinks Dickens’s “David Copperfield” can be an example of creative ablation in a great novelist’s life. Chapter 7 discusses O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey” from the contrasting viewpoints of Freud and Jung, both of whom can be said to have directly influenced O’Neill. Chapter 8 consists of some 26 letters to the editor that Roazen published, including the circumstances and objectives he had with each. Chapter 9 covers his take on the recently published Freud correspondences with both Ferenczi and Abraham. Chapter 10 is an over-view of Freud’s impact on political and social thought, embracing the traditions of socialism, conservatism, and liberalism. Chapter 11 includes Roazen’s use of psychological thinking in order to follow questions connection with Canadian political life as he experienced it. Chapter 13 deals with Roazen’s understanding of who has won and lost in the Freud Wars of this past century. And Chapter 14 concludes with a discussion of how he thinks Freud’s concept of neurosis was intended to convey his understanding of a specifically human privilege. The short epilogue closes with a personal account of the signifiance of a small beach in Roazen’s childhood. Paul Roazen, educated as a political theorist at Harvard, Chicago, and Oxford, has spent his career approaching psychoanalysis as an aspect of intellectual history. Issues of a moral and philosophic nature remain central to the tradition of thought that Freud initiated, and help account for the unfortunate sectarianism that has afflicted the field. Read more…