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Raicar, A.M. (2020). Dancing between Hope and Despair: Trauma, Attachment and the Therapeutic Relationship by Sue Wright, published by Palgrave, 2016, 232 pages, ISBN: 978-1-137-44123-2 (paperback). Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 14(1):128-130.

(2020). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 14(1):128-130

Dancing between Hope and Despair: Trauma, Attachment and the Therapeutic Relationship by Sue Wright, published by Palgrave, 2016, 232 pages, ISBN: 978-1-137-44123-2 (paperback)

Review by:
Alexandra Maeja Raicar

This is a comprehensive and accessible, well-researched, and up-to-date “how-to” book on trauma therapy. It integrates the best of old and new psychological theories, supports work with mind and body, embraces the transpersonal, and is beautifully written with helpful case illustrations, great compassion and honesty, and an inclusive attitude towards struggling clients.

Wright skilfully interweaves different theoretical strands—ranging from Buddhist psychology and mindfulness, relational and psychoanalytic perspectives, to attachment, neuroscience, and developmental trauma research—and all firmly grounded in a sensorimotor psychotherapeutic approach to connect with and heal the whole person. Wright draws on a wealth of thinking over the decades by various pioneering psychoanalysts, psychotherapists from different orientations, and neuroscientists who have contributed to our current understanding of trauma, fragmentation of selves, and what helps to heal and integrate us.

In this hugely ambitious undertaking, Sue Wright explores from a transtheoretical perspective the perennial dilemmas at the core of the therapeutic endeavour: how to mindfully and compassionately support, witness, and accompany deeply traumatised and often dissociative clients on their tightrope journey from existential hopelessness and despair, through illusory hope and magical thinking, to a more grounded and realistic hope of healing from their wounded past—and all this without the therapist herself also constantly falling with the client into the slough of despond or taking flight from the patient's suffering into analytic distancing.

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