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Hinshelwood, B. (1988). Editorial. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(1):3-4.

(1988). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(1):3-4


Bob Hinshelwood

The psychotherapist's resistance to psychotherapy is often acknowledged yet seldom studied though always unconsciously regretted by patient and therapist. The intensity of the experience for the therapist may well be as great as that for the patient. Storms of feeling frequently sweeping across the therapist's mind And yet he is on his own with it, quite unlike the patent. As Colin Woodmansey remarks, touching patients needs close supervision- because it is so difficult to be clear whose need, and loneliness, is being treated. The therapist is deeply ‘touched’ by his work and this we know is an important diagnostic tool if we can keep open a space for reflecting upon it. Yoram Hazan reports a telling moment with a schizophrenic in which reflection gives great insight into the schizophrenics' experience through the therapist's. The therapist in that instance is not alone, but with his colleagues.

But do we ever get used to the problem? When asked questions, point blank, by a demanding patient it remains so often extremely difficult to retain the space inside oneself m keep asking, as Chris Mists, reminds us -What is the real question? It is the patients right to receive psychotherapy as the first priority, and it, the therapist's first obligation, and we have to carefully assess each time when the exchange of information or of social pleasantries is an evasion of what we have come together to do.

There issues are so raw that the avoidance of touching, answering questions' may be the expression of fears just as much as the indulgence in answering questions or touching may be indulging in the easy way out.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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