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Evans, M.O. (2005). Gift-Giving in Psychotherapy: Layers of Meaning and Developmental Process. Brit. J. Psychother., 21(3):401-415.

(2005). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 21(3):401-415

Gift-Giving in Psychotherapy: Layers of Meaning and Developmental Process

Mark O. Evans

Relatively little has been written about the experience of gift-giving in psychotherapy and what literature there is tends to emphasize more unconscious and destructive motivations. Less attention has been paid to the healthier and healing aspects and how gift-giving as a process can change over time. In this paper, episodes of gift-giving from a patient within the author's own practice are thought about from several different perspectives with particular attention being paid to the developmental process of exchange as conceptualized in the work of Meares and Anderson (1993). Also themes from the myth of Medea, which have previously been cited (Orgel & Shengold 1968) to conceptualize the detrimental effects on women of particular forms of parental gift-giving, are used to throw light on the gift-giving process within the therapeutic relationship.

Gifts, they say, persuade even the Gods. (Euripides)

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