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Wiener, J. (2020). Response to Warren Colman's ‘Psychotherapy as a Skilled Practice’. J. Anal. Psychol., 65(4):645-652.
(2020). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 65(4):645-652
Response to Warren Colman's ‘Psychotherapy as a Skilled Practice’
It is a pleasure for me to be invited to respond to Colman's excellent and beautifully crafted paper, presented first at the SAP Annual Lecture in 2019.
As often happens when a piece of writing is in preparation, there is a coincidence, perhaps a synchronistic happening, that becomes a guiding thread for the way in which the piece develops. Recently, I began reading a book called A Singer's Notebook written by the English tenor, Ian Bostridge. To my delight and surprise, on the back cover, I found a comment from Richard Sennett, whose book, The Craftsman, quoted by Colman, I too like very much. Sennett writes, ‘usually great singers cannot explain what they do. Ian Bostridge can’.
Often, analysts, like singers, may find it difficult to convey very well what they actually do but Colman, in a similar way to Bostridge, really does have this rare gift. It is easier to write about the ideas of those theorists we admire and our reasons why, but much more difficult to bring to life for a wider audience the central skills and style of how we work with our patients in the privacy of our consulting rooms. I feel sure the reader will agree that, in both the content and style of his writing, Colman has elegantly evoked the relevance for analysts of Aristotle's ideas of technê and phronesis as being of the essence in the making and development of an analyst. The paper itself is full of the ‘practical wisdom’ of what it means to be an analyst or psychotherapist today. The way Colman has woven together theory and practice, with examples from different crafts, evokes his own wisdom, emerging from many years of experience as a clinician and his own profound curiosity about both theory and practice, developed in his many papers. The paper permits us all, whether psychotherapist, analyst or trainee, to bring our own minds helpfully and creatively to the craft of our work and the skills we need to practice it.
My first response is to agree heartily with the essence of what Colman writes here.
[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.]