Saturday, November 17, 2012

Healing the Self

Constructing The Self, Constructing America: A Cultural History of Psychotherapy deserves to be on your reading list.  In the book, Philip Cushman (on this list of providers) covers a lot of areas.  He advocates a hermeneutic stance in therapy, in which the social/political status quo is given its due.  He gives some examples of his own patients, who he helped to broaden the "clearing" which they could view, and construct their world in ways which were more positive for them.  He also talks about the changing role and nature of healers and healing over time.  Our current situation is seen as one in which consumerism is the response to the empty self.  Several past times and therapies are explained.  One is the social forces present in the 1960s, and the therapies which stemmed from that.  It is, of course, interesting the read history and compare it to what you experienced when you were there (ouch)!  Mesmerism is covered well, as is the controversy surrounding Melanie Klein.  Cushman explains self and object relations theories in ways that help with an overall understanding.  Winnicott and Sullivan are also covered quite extensively.  From the philosophy side, Gadamer gets his say.  This book provides some perspective for anyone who functions as a healer.