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Carlson, D.A. (2009). Listening to the Melody of the Mind: The Psychodynamic Psychotherapist. By Rima Brauer and Gerald Faris. New York: Jason Aronson, 2009, 169 pp., $50.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(6):1494-1499.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(6):1494-1499

Listening to the Melody of the Mind: The Psychodynamic Psychotherapist. By Rima Brauer and Gerald Faris. New York: Jason Aronson, 2009, 169 pp., $50.00.

Review by:
David A. Carlson

The twenty-four chapters of this slim volume are a powerful introduction to psychotherapy, and will be a valuable resource for teachers and supervisors in grabbing and holding the attention of harassed, distractible students. As one might expect from its concision and forcefulness, this is a book of opinion, though much of the opinion can be buttressed by research; and most analysts will agree with what is said. Central to the exposition is an “experiential self” in discussing the psychology of the patient and an “experiential intelligence” in describing the mind of the therapist at work. The experiential in either case is elaborated in musical terms. “Each patient has her own melody of mind, filled with both consonant and dissonant notes and chords” (p. 143).

The authors, a psychiatrist analyst and a clinical psychologist, draw on their rich experience to focus not on a “how-to” approach, but on the person of the therapist and on the cumulative poise and wisdom that develop in the clinician's personal therapy or analysis, extended study, extensive practice, and thoughtful reflection. This is a fresh, forthright account of a life dedicated to the study and advancement of psychotherapy. They very early stress that even good and knowledgeable therapists experience anxiety with some patients, a statement that does a lot to make for a more open, less defensive student, and they return several times to their concept of “the good enough psychotherapist.”

[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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