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Casement, P. (2016). Clinical Implications of the Psychoanalyst's Life Experience: When the Personal Becomes Professional, edited by Stephen Kuchuk, New York, NY: Routledge, 2014, + 254 pp., $45.37 (paperback). Psychoanal. Psychol., 33(1):211-213.
(2016). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 33(1):211-213
Clinical Implications of the Psychoanalyst's Life Experience: When the Personal Becomes Professional, edited by Stephen Kuchuk, New York, NY: Routledge, 2014, + 254 pp., $45.37 (paperback)
Review by: Patrick Casement, M.A.
I do not think that there can be a better description of this book than that which Kuchuk writes in his introduction:
In the following pages, established psychoanalytic writers and newer contributors come together to address the phenomena of the analyst's personal life and psychology. Each author explores pivotal childhood and adult life events and crises that have contributed to personality formation, personal and professional functioning, choices of theoretical positions, and clinical technique. (p. xviii).
The book is a treasure trove that can only be fully appreciated by studying it. From a wide range of experiences, the authors have applied themselves to the invitation, to examine the ways in which their life experiences had shaped how they are, in themselves and in their approach to their clinical work. They have also, many of them, shared with the reader some of their own struggles with the issues of self-exposure—or remaining hidden. How might this affect their work with patients? How might their patients' transference experience of the analyst be colored by such exposure, which it surely will be? Might this restrict the freedom to work meaningfully in the transference? Might this become impossible, or might it—in some way—be enhanced by this?
There is a repeating theme, throughout this book, around various kinds of “coming out.” Not only do we hear of gay and lesbian therapists struggling with this, unsure of how this might be received by patients and/or by colleagues, but we also hear some careful reflections upon how exposure through publication could also impinge upon the therapists' ongoing work with patients, or with patients yet to come.
[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.]