The book offers the reader an understanding of the philosophical, theoretical and clinical dimensions of psychotherapy.
It is an exposition of psychotherapy as a relationship for healing, which attends to the personal, transpersonal, and transgenerational aspects of human experience.
At this time of heightened social fracture and conflict, my hope is that the book will be a nourishing contribution to psychotherapy as a profound, deep endeavour, and relationship for holding, love, and realisation.
In its drafting, I committed to make the book of use and accessible to both practitioners and people with a personal interest in their journeys of psychological healing and self-realisation.
Whilst the book emphasises the depth and profundity of the psychotherapeutic process, in composing its text I have striven to make it an inviting and rewarding read.
I believe the book will be a valuable addition to reading lists for courses of training and CPD where the nature of psychotherapy, psychological healing, the self and self-realisation are explored.
The first two chapters concern my Jewish family history, my childhood and formative experiences in the post-Holocaust era, within which my philosophy of therapy emerged and developed.
By making explicit the personal roots of my approach and practice, I believe I make a contribution towards transparency and democracy in the art and relationship of psychotherapy.
I encourage the reader to follow personal inquiry and reflection, towards the unfolding of their own perspective and approach to the therapeutic journey, as practitioner and, or client.
In the following chapters, I explain and describe my philosophy, theory and practice of psychotherapy as a relational art, which holds the self as a unique, individual manifestation of the ultimate unity of being.
It includes examples of my work with clients, and their own reflections.
Outline of its contents
Preface: This is a spiritual and personal start to the book, with gratitude to, and appreciation of my ancestors, and the hope it will be of service to the reader.
Introduction: Here I outline the purpose of the book and the philosophy of therapy which it holds.
Chapter One 'The Way Which Found Me' : I write about my Jewish background and the shadow of antisemitism and the Holocaust, with their catastrophic attack upon one's self, human value, and right to be . It includes a revised draft of the article published by 'Psychotherapy and Politics International' concerning my spiritual retreats at Auschwitz in 2014 and 2015.
Chapter Two: 'Walking Home'. In this chapter I write about my childhood and formative years, and the dynamics and experiences from which my philosophy of therapy emerged. It includes my early, transformative experience of therapy, in which contact with my essential self was recovered.
Chapter Three: 'My Philosophy of Therapy' This chapter is central to the book. I describe my understanding of the nature of the self, personal truth, and the dynamic challenges of psychological healing and self-realisation. It includes quotations, references and discussions of those texts I consider to be relevant, and some illustrations from my work with 'Carrie'. My work with Carrie is the subject of the final chapter of this book.
Chapter Four: ' Contact, Exploration & Healing' I commence this chapter by offering both an appreciation of gestalt therapy, and a critique of its reductive conception of the self. I describe my own approach which draws upon the qualities of that modality, and is, I believe more available to engage in depth with the self and the transpersonal dimensions of our experiencing. It includes a description of my work with 'Lily'.
Chapter Five: 'The Transgenerational Dimension' Here I explore this crucial but often neglected aspect of psychological experiencing. I describe key elements of the approach developed by Bert Hellinger in the 'Family Constellation Model', and my own way of working with transgenerational traumas and entanglements. I include five case studies from my work.
Chapter Six: 'Trauma, Identity Politics and Psychotherapy' In this chapter I engage with the issue of trauma and identity. I articulate my concern about the divisive and adverse effects of identity politics upon the endeavour of healing from trauma, both individual and collective. I reference and discuss texts relevant to this exploration, and offer my own perspective. I describe my work with two clients.
Chapter Seven: 'Reflections from Clients' Four of the clients who I have written about in this book, have generously provided a piece for this chapter.
Chapter Eight: 'Carrie: Recovery of the Self' This is a case study of my work with Carrie, and concerns her reconnection to, and recovery of self from the compound effects of transgenerational trauma, childhood trauma, and her experience of domestic abuse, both physical and sexual.
Concluding words: This is a brief piece of reflection for the conclusion of the book.