Psychotherapy of Neurotic Character

Psychotherapy of Neurotic Character

Psychotherapy of Neurotic Character

Psychotherapy of Neurotic Character

Synopsis

Shapiro's keenness of observation and profound clinical wisdom are once again in evidence, as he brings to bear his brilliant ideas about neurotic character on the actual conduct of psychotherapy. The therapeutic material, argues Shapiro, consists not merely of what the patient provides but of the patient. Pay attention not only to the words, Shapiro says, but also to the speaker. Shapiro's highly original view of the dynamics of neurosis emphasizes subjective experience and revises classical conflict theory. The therapist's goal is to introduce the patient to himself and thus to end the self-estrangement that characterizes neurosis. In a series of eloquent chapters, richly illustrated with clinical vignettes, he elaborates this view, exploring such topics as the process of change, the psychology of "raising consciousness," and the therapeutic relationship. No therapist, regardless of persuasion, will fail to be enlightened and inspired by this essential contribution to the field.

Excerpt

My teacher, Hellmuth Kaiser, once expressed a dilemma to me about the teaching of psychotherapy.He said it was no use teaching what to do or what to say because the significance and effect of what the therapist did or said depended on the attitude with which it was expressed. With the right attitude on the part of the therapist, he thought, all else would follow easily. I am not sure that in fact all else does follow easily, but in any case, how does one teach an attitude? For example, how does one teach an attitude of respect for the patient, not merely courtesy and not sentimental concern, but respect for the patient's psychology? How, for that matter, can one teach an interest in the patient, not merely an interest in changing him, but an interest in him and in communicating with him? I think these attitudes and interests can be developed—taught in a sense—but certainly not directly, not merely by recommending them. They can be developed only through a certain kind of understanding of the patient. Understanding can engender a therapeutic attitude.

My earlier work has sometimes been described as "phenomenological." In our field, this term usually means relying on or even limiting oneself to the immediate data of subjective experience.It is true that I have been interested in studying the formal ways of thinking, the attitudes, the kinds of subjective experience, and the kinds of behavior that characterize various types of neurotic conditions. But my interest has . . .

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