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Thomson, J. (1999). CHRISTOPHER, SHELLEY (ed.). Contemporary Perspectives on Psychotherapy and Homosexualities. London & NY: Free Association Books, 1998. Pp. viii + 223. Pbk £15.95.. J. Anal. Psychol., 44(3):410-411.

(1999). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 44(3):410-411

CHRISTOPHER, SHELLEY (ed.). Contemporary Perspectives on Psychotherapy and Homosexualities. London & NY: Free Association Books, 1998. Pp. viii + 223. Pbk £15.95.

Review by:
Jean Thomson

On being given this book to review I wondered if it would be yet another discussion of whether homosexuality is or is not a perversion in the eyes of psychotherapists. Some of this debate does indeed remain, but taken as a whole the book addresses homosexuality as a fact of everyday life and takes a big step forward into differentiating pathology from other problems, such as erotic countertransference and ‘homophobia’ in analysts and in patients.

The editor writes from an Adlerian viewpoint and most of the contributors are practising psychotherapists briefed to give their theoretical perspectives: Jungian, psychodynamic/psychoanalytic, cognitive analytic, Adlerian and Rational Emotive Behavioural. Most of the authors are gay or lesbian and I wonder how many therapists realize that psychotherapy organizations and the National Health Service (NHS), would founder without their homosexual staff. Christopher Shelley says that ‘An important impetus which led me to organize this book is the trend for psychotherapy training organizations to dismiss or hide the topic of homosexuality and therapy under the liberal political trend [of forbidding discrimination]’.

There are accounts of the history which made homosexuality into an ‘it’ and, following this, necessarily a pathology or a crime.

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