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Thomson, J. (1994). Integrity in Depth by John Beebe. Published by Texas A&M University Press, College Station, USA, 1992; 165 pages; $19.30.. Brit. J. Psychother., 10(3):448-449.

(1994). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 10(3):448-449

Integrity in Depth by John Beebe. Published by Texas A&M University Press, College Station, USA, 1992; 165 pages; $19.30.

Review by:
Jean Thomson

Does the psychotherapy movement represent a search for health or the provision of treatment for illness? In the earlier days of the NHS this was not an either/or choice but a spectrum covering prevention of disease, enhancement of living, hospital treatment as part of a dynamic community mental health service. These reflections came into my mind as I read John Beebe's book. Hopes of wholeness and integration underlie the philosophy of unified health provisions but his book reminded me that psychoanalytically-based therapies are still struggling for a permanent place. The Jungian approach to psychotherapy involves the view that the perception of opposites lies in every part of human experience so health and illness, therefore, as apparent opposites, can make sense in relation to one another when they are comprehended as parts of whole systems. Lacunae, traumas, misconnections, all have a role in achieving integration which John Beebe discusses as an inbuilt moral tendency. But it seems to require basic trust, and the loss or lack of this constitutes the dis-ease so that, in practice, the ‘talking cure’, in spelling out the nature of social and personal relations, stirs fears of catastrophe as much as it fosters hope.

Applying this to the social context, certainly in contemporary Britain, understanding the human capacity to make emotional links seems to have become anathema. Attention to a part causing problems, especially if given an apparent scientific validity by being statistically numerous, is sufficient remedy if as a result the whole system doesn't collapse.

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