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Mander, G. (2008). Learning from Life: Becoming A Psychoanalyst by Patrick Casement. Published by Routledge, London, 2006; 212 pp; £17.99.. Brit. J. Psychother., 24(1):103-105.

(2008). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 24(1):103-105

Learning from Life: Becoming A Psychoanalyst by Patrick Casement. Published by Routledge, London, 2006; 212 pp; £17.99.

Review by:
Gertrud Mander

Patrick Casement's first book, On Learning from the Patient, was a bestseller when it was published 20 years ago and it soon became required reading throughout the profession. The present book is his fourth book, after Further Learning from the Patient and Learning from Our Mistakes. I am strongly tempted to connect this Learning from ‥. series with Bion's Learning from Experience (1962), which was a difficult disquisition about significant learning and dealing with anxiety in which many of Casement's ideas originate. He has developed his own didactic and narrative style, demonstrating with the use of plentiful clinical material how he works, thinks and achieves therapeutic results with his patients and thereby instructs his readers how to learn. In the present autobiographical account he relates his personal experiences from difficult beginnings through becoming a social worker to training as a psychoanalyst, once again repeating the successful formula that has made his books so readable for trainees, clinical practitioners and interested lay readers. Part story-telling, part detailed explanation of his shrewdly interpretative methodology, he describes the analytic dialogue as an ingenious strategy to communicate with patients, learning from them and understanding his therapeutic influence on them, but also registering his countertransference and constantly monitoring his mistakes.


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