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Cottis, T. (2016). Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma: Conversations with Pioneering Clinicians and Researchers (2015) by Daniela F. Sieff, Published by Routledge. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 10(1):61-68.
(2016). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 10(1):61-68
Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma: Conversations with Pioneering Clinicians and Researchers (2015) by Daniela F. Sieff, Published by Routledge
Review by: Tamsin Cottis
This is an unusual book in its scope and form. It is comprised of interviews, or extended conversations, between the author and ten people whose long-term work has been concerned with trauma: its roots, causes, psychological and physical manifestations, and treatment. Their work has been in psychodynamic psychotherapy, in neuroscience, or in evolutionary psychology. Daniela Sieff has taken on the task of eliciting as much as possible from each contributor in regard to their theories, practice, and hard-earned wisdom. However, the book does more than provide valuable exposition from significant pioneers in their respective specialist fields. The author brings herself to the book too. At many points, her questions and expressed thoughts take the conversations further and deeper, and we have a sense of minds meeting to generate new ideas.
The form of the book means that each chapter has a distinct “voice,” reflective of the individual contributor. I found this to enhance the impact of the book. As therapists, as with creative artists, we are all, crucially, bringing our own self to our work. As we grow and develop we are increasingly able—to paraphrase the writer William Fiennes (2011)—to find ways of being in therapeutic relationship that, “have the feel of us about them”. Our work may be underpinned and guided by our theoretical or professional perspectives, but the way we are is unique and particular. Writer Al Alvarez (2005) says, as he makes a connection between the writer's search for their voice and that of the psychoanalyst, “… the object of the exercise for both the patient and the analyst is to listen for the true-speaking self among all the inauthentic ones, to find it then to stick with it” (p.
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