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Ventimiglia, W.J. (2011). Boston Change Process Study Group. Change in Psychotherapy: A Unifying Paradigm. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Pp. Xviii + 235. Pbk. $35.00.. J. Anal. Psychol., 56(1):142-144.

(2011). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 56(1):142-144

Boston Change Process Study Group. Change in Psychotherapy: A Unifying Paradigm. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Pp. Xviii + 235. Pbk. $35.00.

Review by:
William J. Ventimiglia

In Change in Psychotherapy, the Boston Change Process Study Group (BCPSG) offers what they have termed a ‘unifying paradigm’ for psychotherapeutic change. This paradigm privileges moment-to-moment implicit intersubjectivity between patient and analyst as opposed to traditional psychoanalytic emphasis on reflective and verbalized consciousness. Their model challenges but does not repudiate such analyst-initiated activities as the interpretation of the transference, enactments, resistance, and dreams. Rather, in offering ‘something more than interpretation’, they invite the clinician to focus on the implicit and the relational in the psychotherapeutic endeavour. Well within the camp of relational psychoanalysis, the authors insist that ‘the relationship itself is the central force for change’ (p. 194). As stated by the authors,

There has long been a consensus that something more than interpretation in the sense of making the unconscious conscious, is needed …. the something more has taken the form of psychological acts versus psychological words; of change in psychological structures versus undoing repression and rendering conscious; of a mutative relationship with the therapist versus mutative information for the patient.

(p. 2; italics added)

Here the analyst will be challenged to break the traditional frame of neutrality using ‘a specific aspect of his or her individuality that carries a personal signature’ (p. 18). The BCPSG states ‘that although our professional responsibility enjoins us from sharing the same life space as the patient, it is misguided to assume that the complex emotional being of the analyst can be (or should be) kept from the sensings of the patient’ (p. 25) thus creating '… a domain that transcends but does not abrogate the “professional” relationship … (p. 27). One has the sense of an optimal relationship that is both intimate and personal while remaining reflective and respectful of appropriate boundaries—indeed, that operate on two levels simultaneously, that of authentic spontaneity, and that of attunement to the needs and best interests of the patient.


[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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