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Kurpinsky, M. (2008). A Healing Conversation — How Healing Happens by Neville Symington London: Karnac, 2006; 147 pp.. Fort Da, 14(1):69-74.

(2008). Fort Da, 14(1):69-74

Book Reviews

A Healing Conversation — How Healing Happens by Neville Symington London: Karnac, 2006; 147 pp.

Reviewed by
Maureen Kurpinsky, Ph.D.

Talk to Me

On the second page of A Healing Conversation — How Healing Happens, Neville Symington writes:

I feel what I am going to say is right but at the same time I know that cannot be so. However, you have full license to be angry when you hear me assert a proposition with certainty. I do not want to diminish your freedom when that angry feeling wells up in you, but I would be very pleased if you converted that raw feeling into a potent criticism. (2006, p. 2)

Symington is correct in his prediction of my response to his book and very close to understanding its source. It is not exactly his certainty that arouses my anger, but feeling conscripted into a quest for certainty that eludes me. Symington's enthusiasm drives the book and leaves little breathing room in which to engage with his ideas. Less than one third through the book I was lost and wondering, “Where am I?”

A Healing Conversation is a compilation of six successive lectures Symington delivered in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, in 2004 and 2005. At the beginning of each of the six lectures, Symington repeats the intriguing question: “How is it that someone who has a problem is able to resolve it through conversation with another?” With this question, it seemed Symington might be resuming work he began in 1983, when he wrote his paper, “The Analyst's Act of Freedom as Agent of Therapeutic Change.” For the most and better part of that early paper, Symington was not so interested in the “how” but more in describing the process of change he was experiencing in his analytic work. He described the meeting of patient and analyst wherein “there is an immediate adaptation and fusing into a corporate entity” (p.

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