Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

The Perilous Calling

Academic journal article American Journal of Psychotherapy

The Perilous Calling

Article excerpt

MICHAEL B. SUSSMAN, ED.: The Perilous Calling. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1995, $39.95, ISBN 0 47 105 657 X.

Contrary to the psychoanalytic model, the therapeutic process is now viewed as consisting of two vulnerable human beings with different roles: the patient and the therapist. Much has been written about patients and treatment modalities but little about psychotherapists. Sussman is to be commended for filling this gap with A Perilous Calling. He assembled 28 therapists, from a wide range of persuasion, who had the courage to acknowledge therapeutic blunders, expose vulnerabilities and share countertransference reactions.

The book is divided into six parts: (1) the therapist's personal development; (2) the therapist's own ailments; (3) the emotional impact of the work; (4) clinical dilemmas; (5) professional, ethical, and legal issues; (6) the therapist's renewal. Each part contains four to five chapters. Throughout the book it is emphasized that the therapist's humanity predisposes him/her to having similar fears, needs, and expectations as the patient. One of the therapist's fears is anxiety about death, which may cause avoidance of old, ailing clients (Ch. 4). This reluctance reduces availability of psychiatric services to a group that is rapidly increasing. Another concern, experienced mainly by women therapists, is body dissatisfaction. The clinical literature is virtually silent on this topic although in supervisory sessions despair and shame about body image is often expressed.

A problem for both sexes is the struggle to change rigid character traits into flexible ones. Shub (Ch. 6) discusses with candor his long-lasting attempt to become more flexible. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.