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Arden, M. (1986). On not knowing all the answers. Free Associations, 1(4):139-149.

(1986). Free Associations, 1(4):139-149

On not knowing all the answers

Margaret Arden

On Learning from the Patient, by Patrick Casement, Tavistock, 1985, Pp. xiii + 244, hb £12.00, pb £6.50.

Patrick Casement is a training analyst of the British Psycho-Analytical Society. Before becoming an analyst he had long experience first as a social worker and then as a psychotherapist. The fruits of his experience as teacher and therapist are presented in this book, where he offers his personal viewpoint on clinical descriptions taken from his work with patients and from his supervision of student therapists. The book is designed as a teaching aid and also as a source of information for the non-specialist. It is well planned and easy to use, with clinical descriptions clearly differentiated by different typefaces from discussion and a very good simple system of cross-referencing between sections.

Dr Anthony Storr is quoted on the cover: I believe that the future of psychoanalysis lies along the path which Casement is pointing out in this sensitive, excellent book. The foreword is by Dr A. Hyatt-Williams, Director of the London Clinic of Psycho-Analysis, who is equally enthusiastic in his praise. I can only add that the book fulfils the expectations which the title arouses, by giving satisfying accounts of what goes on in sessions. Most to be welcomed are the author's accounts of how he has faced up to mistakes and helped students to do so. There is a great deal that can be learned here about the attitude of mind that makes such work possible.

It is worth considering why the title is so attractive and raises such hopes.

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