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Raicar, A.M. (2017). Healing Moments in Psychotherapy (2013) edited by Daniel J. Siegel and Marion Solomon, published by W. W. Norton & Co.. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 11(2):180-194.

(2017). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 11(2):180-194

Healing Moments in Psychotherapy (2013) edited by Daniel J. Siegel and Marion Solomon, published by W. W. Norton & Co.

Review by:
Alexandra Maeja Raicar

This intriguing book draws on cutting-edge neuroscience research and clinical practice to explore what heals in the psychotherapeutic relationship. The reader is invited “to dive deeply into the art and science of healing from the perspective of a variety of clinical approaches and scientific viewpoints”—all within the framework of Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB), which combines “a range of ways of knowing into one view of the nature of being human—a view of the human mind, development, relationships, the brain, and well-being” (p. 1).

In the “Introduction”, the editors provide a helpful overview of the different yet consilient approaches of the thirteen contributors to the book, each a respected pioneer in their specialism. IPNB is already being applied in fields as diverse as education, parenting, contemplative practice, organisational functioning, and psychotherapy.

IPNB has created its own, often complex, terminology to explain its concepts. Mind is defined as a “self-organising, emergent process that is both embodied and relational and that regulates, as well as arises from, the flow of energy and information within us and between us” (p. 2).

Healing accordingly becomes “the process of integration in which energy and information flow is cultivated, such that separate elements of a system are differentiated and then can become linked” (p. 2). Client and therapist must honour and reflect on these differences with compassion to enable integration, thus “making whole” or healing that which was previously fragmented and so retraumatising that it could not be thought or spoken about safely but remained as dissociated implicit knowing. Through the mindful presence of the therapist and, increasingly, of the client, this linkage of disparate elements allows the “system” (of the client, as well as of the therapist in the therapy dyad) to become co-ordinated and balanced and so to achieve harmony. Put more simply, the clinician's willingness to be open and vulnerable and receptive to her own process, as well as to that of the client, facilitates “the therapeutic unfolding of experience” and can lead to significant healing moments (p. 4).

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