The Impossibility of Knowing: Dilemmas of a Psychotherapist

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9781855758247: The Impossibility of Knowing: Dilemmas of a Psychotherapist

The Impossibility of Knowing is a book that assembles and integrates Jackie Gerrard's clinical work and thinking over the many years of her working life.

The chapters in Part I focus on patients with specific types of psychopathology and explore particular difficulties in technique and thinking. There are numerous clinical examples from her practice. Above all, she stresses throughout the book the importance of the enquiring mind and the struggle not to 'know' but to be ever ready to 'not know' and to explore--reflected in the title of Chapter 2--'On Travelling Hopefully'. The subsequent three chapters in part II of the book address the issues of love, hate and the erotic and offer many clinical vignettes of the complexities and sensitivities of work in the arena of passion and sexuality. Erotic transference and counter-transference are vital areas of exploration in psychoanalytic work and technique.

Finally, in part III, specific challenges to the psychotherapeutic frame are illustrated in chapters on enactments and on work with an absent patient. The last chapter is written on a lighter note, illustrating some everyday dilemmas that have occurred in the course of her clinical work. The book should be of interest to qualified practitioners, to those who are training in psychodynamic or psychoanalytic work, and to anyone who has an interest in psychoanalysis and the "impossibility of knowing".

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About the Author:

Jackie Gerrard is a Senior Member and Fellow of the London Centre for Psychotherapy (LCP) and a Training Therapist and Supervisor for the LCP and other psychotherapy and counselling training organizations. Her background is in social work and she has been a practising psychotherapist for almost thirty years. Her private practice is in Hertfordshire, where she sees individuals and couples for therapy, and supervises trainees and qualified therapists. An important focus of her working life has also been on teaching and writing.

Review:

"Psychoanalyst Gerrard (London Centre for Psychotherapy) addresses subjectivity and the processing of affective responses by engaged (as vs. computational) analysts who emphasize the need for being human with patients rather than knowing all the answers. Through case examples, chapters examine the difficulties in treating specific types of psychopathology; analytic relationships where love, hate, or the erotic are central; and such special dilemmas as dealing with rescue fantasies, the frequently absent patient, what to charge patients, and publication of clinical material." (Book News Inc.)

“For those who regret the apparent demise of sexuality in analytic therapy, this collection of papers is a refreshing reminder of the problems therapists face when entering the heat of the Freudian kitchen. The reader will be assisted in charting a course between the twin perils of evasion on the one hand and unthought enactment on the other. Highly recommended.” (David Riley, Fellow)

“A highly original and brave exploration of many issues, including the delicate relation between seduction and love.” (Anne Alvarez, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist)

“Jackie Gerrard writes about the complexities and dilemmas that face the psychotherapist, particularly when confronted by aspects of her own unconscious. She recognizes that the real barrier to change can lie within the therapist’s own resistance to truths that patients are trying to communicate. Working through these barriers allows her patients to experience mutuality and depth within the relationship.” (David Morgan, Fellow)

“Being a psychotherapist is endlessly fascinating and endlessly difficult. Gerrard shows her participation in both these states. She has learned from experience and she shares it fruitfully in the instructive and thoughtful chapters in this book.” (Lesley Murdin, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, Hon. Fellow)

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