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McNamee, R. (2007). Moving Beyond the Comfort Zone in Psychotherapy, by Nancy Bridges. Lanham, PA: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005, 210 pages, $40.. Psychoanal. Soc. Work, 14(1):95-100.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Social Work, 14(1):95-100

Book Review

Moving Beyond the Comfort Zone in Psychotherapy, by Nancy Bridges. Lanham, PA: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005, 210 pages, $40.

Review by:
Regina McNamee, LCSW-C

Bridges' book describes psychotherapy through a relational lens. The book provides multiple theoretical definitions of this perspective, most specifically whetting two conditions for a helpful therapeutic outcome. The first condition is described as “expanding one's relational procedural knowledge” and the second condition emphasizes that an explored relationship field between the therapist and the patient is an explicit space to foster the first condition. The title of the book refers to the changing traditional trends from the therapist as a “neutral” presence in the therapeutic dyad to the therapist as an active participant and change agent. Relational therapy emphasizes mutuality, not neutrality, between therapist and patient. In distilling the book's content, the central conditions for helpful therapeutic outcome can first be located in Chapter Two, where Bridges quotes Lyons-Ruth (2004) in describing procedural knowledge as “knowing how to do something, how to behave, rather than knowing information.” She describes relational procedural knowledge as a “non-verbal internal representation of implicit procedures for how one conducts a relationship” (p. 34). These previously determined, sometimes unconscious, ways of relating are experienced in the therapeutic dyad.

To this end, Bridges explores the relational field between the therapist and patient. She calls the psychotherapy relationship the “vehicle” for transforming relational procedural knowledge and optimally, expanding it.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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