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Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy101 Healing StoriesA Clinician's Guide to Legal Issues in PsychotherapyA Map of the MindA Primer for Beginning PsychotherapyACT With LoveActive Treatment of DepressionAffect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of SelfAlready FreeBad TherapyBecoming an Effective PsychotherapistBefore ForgivingBeing a Brain-Wise TherapistBetrayed as BoysBeyond Evidence-Based PsychotherapyBeyond MadnessBeyond PostmodernismBinge No MoreBiofeedback for the BrainBipolar DisorderBody PsychotherapyBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBrain Change TherapyBrain Science and Psychological DisordersBrain-Based Therapy with AdultsBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCase Studies in DepressionCaught in the NetChild and 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Inside TherapyReview - Inside Therapy
Illuminating Writings about Therapists, Patients, and Psychotherapy
by Ilana Rabinowitz
St. Martinís Press, 1998
Review by Margo McPhillips
Nov 30th 1999 (Volume 3, Issue 48)

This is a collection of 20 "stories;" mostly lectures, essays and excerpts from larger works, the theme of which is therapy by psychoanalysis, the analysts themselves, and their patients. I call them stories because that is the effect reading this book had on me; it was very like reading a book of short stories by authors not well known to the reader, some interesting and some merely to be waded through or dropped if they prove too boring. I found very little "illumination."

Three-quarters of the way through the book I found myself wondering why I was still reading it; what its raison d’être might be. Compilations of short stories by different authors often show little snippets of life the reader may not be familiar with or may show aspects of familiarity not considered. Most of this book centers around fairly classical Freudian psychoanalysis, a now relatively small, and some say dying, subset of psychotherapy. By three-quarters of the way through the book, I was feeling sorry for it and understanding why it may be dying.

Quite a few of the articles were by famous-enough psychiatrists and pschoanalysts; Weinberg, Viscott, Reik, Yalom, Fromm, among some of the better known names. The few good writers were easily picked out from the majority; either the editor is a lousy editor or most of these people can’t write! Case discussion was too self-satisfied and "clever" and lectures or other similar essay-style material was too dry and… lecturing. Material from a patient’s point of view was literal novel excerpts, not "real" material at all. I found it interesting that for all the selections I particularly enjoyed, I’d read the entire original work or similar material by that author.

I don’t know why I read this whole book; I only outright skipped one or two of the selections. Reading the book left me feeling more sad than wise and I don’t think I would choose to read it if given the opportunity again. Had I looked at this book in a bookstore instead of purchasing it online, I would have seen I’d read some of the authors, would have turned to their selections and seen I’d read the whole selection in the original or, concluded that one or two "good" selections was not worth buying this book.

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