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Kubler, A. (2019). Learning Along the Way by Patrick J. Casement London: Routledge; 2018; 178 pp.. Fort Da, 25(2):55-59.

(2019). Fort Da, 25(2):55-59

Reviews: Book Review Essay

Learning Along the Way by Patrick J. Casement London: Routledge; 2018; 178 pp.

Review by:
Alan Kubler, Ph.D.

Patrick Casement is probably most well-known for his first book, On Learning from the Patient (1985). It has been over 30 years since its publication, but Casement still has the same approachable voice and invitation to rethink the cornerstones of psychoanalytic practice. The current text, Learning Along the Way (2018), joins a number of other books, not coincidentally, all with the theme of learning in their title. Casement, well into his retirement, chose to stop seeing patients when he turned 70, but continues to write and offer consultation to other clinicians.

Casement's writing is never insistent or dogmatic — he still questions and wonders, choosing the path of curiosity, uncertainty, and openness to learning over that of knowledge and theoretical compliance. Approaching life and clinical practice as a learning process has clearly been his venture, and this is significant for a number of reasons. Learning Along the Way is a selection of mostly previously published material, a couple of interviews, short articles more like essays, and reflections on moments in psychoanalytic practice amply illustrated with clinical material. There is, in a way, nothing new in this book — many of the themes are Casement's previous thoughts — but there is also a freshness, subtleness, and richness to these previously published ideas. This book asks the same questions that most of his writing addresses, except that now, after 50 years of clinical practice and well into his retirement, these questions have been honed and refined into one question — “How do we learn to be a clinician?” It is an ongoing interrogation of clinical practice and simultaneously an ongoing enquiry into what it means to live a full life.

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