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Purser, G.S. (2016). The Search for a Relational Home: An Intersubjective View of Therapeutic Action (2015) by Chris Jaenicke, published by Routledge. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 10(3):267-269.

(2016). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 10(3):267-269

Book Reviews

The Search for a Relational Home: An Intersubjective View of Therapeutic Action (2015) by Chris Jaenicke, published by Routledge

Review by:
Gülcan Sutton Purser

Chris Jaenicke, in his book The Search for a Relational Home, describes beautifully the two way, dyadic work of psychotherapy, how client and therapist affect each other, how change happens, illustrated with case studies, and all this with an open, honest, and enquiring mind. This book helps us to understand the the uniqueness of each person, the centrality of our intersubjectivity, and the importance and necessity of a working alliance. He sheds light on the process of re-enactments, explaining why clients keep repeating the same patterns, and what this provides them with on physical and psychological levels. Jaenicke invites us to think about psychotherapy and the process of cure.

The book starts with a chapter entitled “Basic premises: thoughts on success, failure and cure in psychoanalysis”. Jaenicke tells us how both success and failures, and strengths and weaknesses, create a weaving of the therapeutic process and are inevitable.

He writes:

If I want to write about cure, I have to write about illness. If I want to define therapeutic success, I have to look at therapeutic failure. If I don't believe therapy is something that I do to you, but rather that we change and become who we are through one another, then who we aren't and can't be is as important as who we are and try to become. Therefore trying to understand what we are able to achieve with patients means looking equally how we fail with them. (pp. 5-6)

He describes, with examples, how client and therapist affect each other, and how the change occurs. He shares his journey of therapy with his client, Rafaela, who was in her early thirties, and with whom he experienced excruciatingly anxious silences, of hopelessness, shame, rejection, nothingness, and fear.

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