True and False Experience: Human Element in Psychotherapy


Is psychotherapy first and foremost a technique that can be described, learned, and practices, or is it a relationship in which techniques play a part but ordinary human qualities are the crucial factors? True and False Experience discusses those factors that have made it difficult for therapists and patients to meet as equals in a natural and ordinary way, keeping them from establishing a genuine relationship with each other.

Lomas acknowledges Freud as the most valuable and influential theorist of psychoanalysis, but he also questions the consequences of his detached and scientific methods. Lomas also critiques psychotherapeutic theory since Freud, examining the work of the main contributors to the field, including R. D. Laing, Erik Erikson, Melanie Klein, Rollo May, and Carl Rogers. As an alternative, Lomas recreates relations between himself and some of his patients in order to demonstrate how therapy can develop into a straightforward and personal contact between therapist and patient.

In a new introduction, Lomas analyzes the changes that have occurred in society over the past twenty years and rethinks his work in a historical perspective. True and False Experience is an essential and stimulating resource for psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, counselors, and social workers.

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Published on
Sep 29, 2017
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Psychology / Psychotherapy / General
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While on staff of England's Cassel Hospital, a leading therapeutic community, Peter Lomas had the rare opportunity to study mothers suffering from post-partum breakdown together with their babies and, at times, the entire family. Given the media attention paid to family in both Britain and the United States, it seems odd that the close relationships between childbirth and the dynamics of family life have been only minimally addressed. Drawing from the "Independent" school of British psychoanalysis, particularly that of Donald Winnicott, and borrowing from existentialist thought and the family studies of Gregory Bateson, Lomas gives us a glimpse into the fascinating, often disturbing, intersection of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and the family at critical junctures. The family is the focal point of Personal Disorder and Family Life, a series of Lomas' collected papers written between 1959 and 1996. Although he concentrates on the family, Lomas covers a variety of themes. "An Interpretation of Modern Obstetric Practice" explores the effect of the maternity ward on the psychology of the mother. He also critiques contemporary psychotherapeutic theory, practice, and teaching, in particular the excessive preoccupation with technique at the cost of spontaneity. Psychotherapy, he believes, can only be properly understood in the context of morality. Brave, honest, and outspoken without a hint of intellectual pretension, Lomas has produced a powerful book at the crest of new thinking on the family as an organizing premise. As such, it will be of interest to professionals in the fields of psychoanalysis, analytically oriented psychotherapy, and individual or family counseling, as well as general readers.
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