While writing the editorial for this Winter 2017 edition of Contemporary Psychotherapy, I have been struck by the variety contained within the pieces, especially regarding differing therapeutic modalities, schools of thought, and indeed eras across which the writings stretch. Of course such variety and diversity has always been characteristic of – and indeed encouraged by – the journal, and this has by far not happened by chance. But, as therapists and counsellors often have the chance to appreciate, there’s something about really being ‘in’ a phenomenon to fully connect with or be moved by it, and writing this editorial has given me an opportunity to perhaps be more fully ‘in’ the experience of the articles and reviews we offer this month, in a different way to solely reading through them upon publication.
Contained herewith we move between reviews incorporating classic psychoanalytic thought, applied to the contemporary world, right through to bang-up-to-date technology, as Peter Jenkins raises questions about the potential for developing and using an ethics app. We also consider the subject in Ben Scanlan’s review of Peter Jenkins’s own book, Professional Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy: Ethics and the Law, and within the field of research, as Werner Kierski questions whether psychotherapy is ‘getting rid of itself’?
In considering varying therapeutic approaches, Sophia Prevezanou reflects on how therapists truly make a difference to the lives of others through the lens of psychosynthesis, considering the meaning of being ‘of service’ to another, over and above ‘trying to be good’ or ‘seeking to help’. Meanwhile we hear from Ruth Millman about how an existential approach can be supportive when working with clients presenting with anorexia nervosa, and Susan Carr considers the value of portrait therapy within the context of museums and art galleries.
We have three reviews considering approaches with roots in more psychoanalytic approaches within the field, with Brad McLean’s review of Jessica Benjamin’s latest book, Beyond Doer and Done to: Recognition Theory, Intersubjectivity and the Third, Lisa Bruton’s reflections on Outpatient Treatment of Psychosis: Psychodynamic Approaches to Evidence-Based Practice and Helen Hazell-English’s reading of The Mother in Psychoanalysis and Beyond: Matricide and maternal subjectivity. All of these reviewers come up against the tendency for such material to read quite densely, though also highlight the potential for such approaches to resonate with a wider audience, who might previously have been put off by the typically intricate and complex ideas, including therapists who may find ideas they had relegated to an earlier time more relevant to today’s climate and clinical work than first thought. As indeed was also the experience of Natalie Clark, who in reading Analysis and Activism was surprised to see how pertinent some of the Jungian ideas, that in her experience had always felt a bit dated, can actually be to the contemporary world of psychotherapy and counselling.
So I will leave you to delve in and enjoy the varied selection of articles and reviews, and in doing so wish you a peaceful and joyous holiday time, and a very happy new year. We look forward to seeing you again in 2018!
With best wishes,
Image: “The Darkness” by Ted Van Pelt