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Rasmussen, B. (2005). Have We Learned from Our Mistakes? Learning from our Mistakes: Beyond Dogma in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, by Patrick Casement. The Guilford Press: New York and London, 2002, 150 pp.. Psychoanal. Soc. Work, 12(1):73-79.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Social Work, 12(1):73-79

Featured Review

Have We Learned from Our Mistakes? Learning from our Mistakes: Beyond Dogma in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, by Patrick Casement. The Guilford Press: New York and London, 2002, 150 pp.

Review by:
Brian Rasmussen, Ph.D.

While it seems reasonable to propose that we have much to learn from challenging dogma and from examining our own mistakes in practice, remarkably little has been written about mistakes in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Further, many practitioners (of all persuasions) cling to dogma, which makes one wonder, how do we advance theory and practice, if not by error, pushing limits, and challenging received truths? Without question, the field of science has a history of advancing rapidly through failed experiments, although I suspect that shame and embarrassment exert debilitating forces in these fields as well. Certainly when we consider Freud's case studies, we can appreciate that, while they were not all successful, they did advance the theoretical and technical issues of their day. Accordingly, Fortune (1996) was right when he wrote that, “psychoanalysis has a history of advancing through artful failures.”

Consequently, there is much to appreciate in this recent offering from Patrick Casement. In an important contribution to clinical practice, Casement urges us to examine the kind of mistakes that we regularly make, how we can prevent them, how we can understand them, and how we can work with them.

[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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