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Raicar, A.M. (2015). Being and Relating in Psychotherapy: Ontology and Therapeutic Practice (2013), edited by Christine Driver, Stephen Crawford, and John Stewart, published by Palgrave MacMillan. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 9(1):101-108.
    

(2015). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 9(1):101-108

Being and Relating in Psychotherapy: Ontology and Therapeutic Practice (2013), edited by Christine Driver, Stephen Crawford, and John Stewart, published by Palgrave MacMillan

Review by:
Alexandra Maeja Raicar

I found myself engaged for weeks in a dialectical relationship with this rich collection of essays on “being and relating in psychotherapy” by experienced clinicians, supervisors, and trainers, most of whom have been involved with the psychotherapy training programme at WPF Therapy.

The book is divided into three parts:

The Therapeutic Relationship

The Personal and Interpersonal

The Personal, Social and Cultural

In Chapter One, “Ontology and the Therapeutic Relationship,” Christine Driver refers to Laing (1960, p. 39):

He considers the importance of “ontological security and ontological insecurity” (p. 39); in other words, the security and insecurity of being in relation to tackling the “hazards of life” in terms of the “social, ethical, spiritual and biological” (p. 39). WPF Therapy (formerly the Westminster Pastoral Foundation), also recognised ontology, the study of being and the “mystery of what it is to be a human being” (Black, 1991, p. 96), as important in the training of counsellors and psychotherapists. Such a perspective requires the therapist to be willing to develop a depth of understanding of the attributes of being that, in many ways, go beyond the theories of the internal world or the psyche. (Driver, p. 6)

Sadly, given the religious roots of WPF Therapy, it seems that opportunities have been missed in this otherwise wide-ranging book to include a full and coherent exploration of transpersonal aspects of being and how they can enhance healing encounters for therapist and client, both of whom are affected through the alchemy of relationship.

While we may not know whether there is anything beyond our reality, no one would doubt the transcendental power of Nature or the hope and strength and comfort that individuals derive from their spiritual beliefs, including in angels or other supernatural beings.

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