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Luciani, D. (1983). Sidney Bloch: What is Aychothmupy? Oxford University Press, 1982.. J. Child Psychother., 9(1):89-90.

(1983). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 9(1):89-90

Sidney Bloch: What is Aychothmupy? Oxford University Press, 1982.

Review by:
Dorothy Luciani

For those who know little about psychotherapy or those who have closed their eyes to the wide meaning of the word, this book serves as a clear, unprejudiced guide to a complex subject, the discussion of which is often obscured by the blind bias of different schools of thought. It is sobering to remember, as the author points out, that there are “over a hundred schools of therapy, each with its own theoretical model of normal and abnormal behaviour and its particular set of practical methods”. Research does not confer any one school with more validity or a higher rate of success than any other.

The strength of the book lies in the useful distinctions it makes between three basic types of psychotherapy: psychodynamic, humanist-existential, and behavioural. Each is explored and explained briefly and simply. (The summary of Freudian psychoanalytic psychology deserves special mention for its lucid condensation of the theory.) The psychodynamic approach aims at greater self-knowledge through understanding of underlying unconscious conflicts and their roots in the past. It tries to make sense of bewildering behaviour. The humanist-existentialist method, with its beginnings in philosophy, is based on the belief that neurotic suffering results from a person's inability to face the human condition; the inevitability of death, the lack of meaning and purpose in life, the basic isolation of each person, and the fear of assuming complete responsibility for one's life. The treatment itself is “a clarifying process rather than an analysis; interpretations are limited and based on what the patient is experiencing in the present”.

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