email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
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 PsychotherapistBecoming MyselfBefore 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 Adolescent Treatment for Social Work PracticeChoosing an Online TherapistChronic DepressionClinical Dilemmas in PsychotherapyClinical Handbook of Psychological DisordersClinical Intuition in PsychotherapyClinical Pearls of WisdomCo-Creating ChangeCognitive Therapy for Challenging ProblemsCompassionConfessions of a Former ChildConfidential RelationshipsConfidentiality and Mental HealthConfidingContemplative Psychotherapy EssentialsControlConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCoping with BPDCouch FictionCounseling in GenderlandCounseling with Choice TheoryCouple SkillsCrazy for YouCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCreating HysteriaCritical Issues in PsychotherapyCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesDeafness In MindDecoding the Ethics CodeDeconstructing PsychotherapyDeep Brain StimulationDemystifying TherapyDepression 101Depression in ContextDialogues on DifferenceDissociative ChildrenDo-It-Yourself Eye Movement Techniques for Emotional HealingDoing CBTE-TherapyEarly WarningEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEnergy Psychology InteractiveErrant SelvesEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthically Challenged ProfessionsEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingExistential PsychotherapyExpectationExploring the Self through PhotographyExpressing EmotionFacing Human SufferingFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFamily TherapyFavorite Counseling and Therapy Homework AssignmentsFear of IntimacyFlourishingFolie a DeuxForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFrom Morality to Mental HealthFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGod & TherapyHalf Empty, Half FullHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHeinz KohutHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHigh RiskHistory of PsychotherapyHow and Why Are Some Therapists Better Than Others?How Clients Make Therapy WorkHow People ChangeHow Psychotherapists DevelopHow to Fail As a TherapistHow to Go to TherapyHypnosis for Inner Conflict ResolutionHypnosis for Smoking CessationI Never Promised You a Rose GardenIf Only I Had KnownIn Others' EyesIn SessionIn Therapy We TrustIn Treatment: Season 1Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and PsychotherapyInside the SessionInside TherapyIs Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Issues in Philosophical CounselingIt's Not as Bad as It SeemsItís Your HourLearning ACTLearning from Our MistakesLearning Supportive PsychotherapyLetters to a Young TherapistLife CoachingLogotherapy and Existential AnalysisLove's ExecutionerMadness and DemocracyMaking the Big LeapMan's Search for MeaningMetaphoria: Metaphor and Guided Metaphor for Psychotherapy and HealingMind GamesMindfulnessMindfulness and AcceptanceMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMindworks: An Introduction to NLPMockingbird YearsMoments of EngagementMomma and the Meaning of LifeMotivational Interviewing: Preparing People For ChangeMulticulturalism and the Therapeutic ProcessMultifamily Groups in the Treatment of Severe Psychiatric DisordersNarrative PracticeOn the CouchOne Nation Under TherapyOur Inner WorldOur Last Great IllusionOutsider ArtOutsider Art and Art TherapyOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsOverexposedPathways to SpiritualityPersonality and PsychotherapyPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical Issues in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophical PracticePhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPillar of SaltPlan BPlato, Not Prozac!Polarities of ExperiencesPower GamesPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyPsychologists Defying the CrowdPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychosis in the FamilyPsychotherapyPsychotherapyPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPsychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy East and WestPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy for Personality DisordersPsychotherapy Is Worth ItPsychotherapy Isn't What You ThinkPsychotherapy with Adolescent Girls and Young WomenPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy without the SelfPsychotherapy, American Culture, and Social PolicyRapid Cognitive TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRationality and the Pursuit of HappinessRebuilding Shattered LivesReclaiming Our ChildrenRecovery OptionsRelationalityRent Two Films and Let's Talk in the MorningSaving the Modern SoulScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologySecond-order Change in PsychotherapySelf-Compassion in PsychotherapySelf-Determination Theory in the ClinicSelf-Disclosure in Psychotherapy and RecoverySerious ShoppingSex, Therapy, and KidsSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySigns of SafetySoul Murder RevisitedStaring at the SunStraight to JesusStrangers to OurselvesSubjective Experience and the Logic of the OtherTaking America Off DrugsTales of PsychotherapyTales of UnknowingTalk is Not EnoughTalking Cures and Placebo EffectsTelling SecretsThe Behavioral Medicine Treatment PlannerThe Body in PsychotherapyThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior TherapyThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Clinical Child Documentation SourcebookThe Clinical Documentation SourcebookThe Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Couch and the TreeThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Crucible of ExperienceThe Cure of SoulsThe Death of PsychotherapyThe Education of Mrs. BemisThe Ethical Treatment of DepressionThe Ethics of PsychoanalysisThe Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Gift of TherapyThe Great Psychotherapy Debate: The Evidence for What Makes Psychotherapy Work The Healing JourneyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Heroic ClientThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Love CureThe Making of a TherapistThe Mindful TherapistThe Mirror Crack'dThe Mummy at the Dining Room TableThe Neuroscience of PsychotherapyThe Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social BrainThe New Rational TherapyThe Older Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Other Side of DesireThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe Philosopher's Autobiography The Pornographer's GriefThe Portable CoachThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Problem of EvilThe Problem with Cognitive Behavioural TherapyThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy of HopeThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Schopenhauer CureThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Talking CureThe Therapeutic "Aha!"The Therapist's Guide to PsychopharmacologyThe Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised EditionThe Therapist's Ultimate Solution BookThe Trauma of Everyday LifeThe Trouble with IllnessThe UnsayableThe Way of the JournalTheory and Practice of Brief TherapyTherapy with ChildrenTherapy's DelusionsTheraScribe 3.0 for WindowsTheraScribe 4.0Thinking about ThinkingThinking for CliniciansThinking for CliniciansThoughts Without a ThinkerThriveToward a Psychology of AwakeningTracking Mental Health OutcomesTrauma, Truth and ReconciliationTreating Attachment DisordersTreatment for Chronic DepressionTreatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety DisordersUnderstanding Child MolestersUnspeakable Truths and Happy EndingsWhat the Buddha FeltWhat Works for Whom?What Works for Whom? Second EditionWhen the Body SpeaksWhispers from the EastWise TherapyWittgenstein and PsychotherapyWorking MindsWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaWriting About PatientsYoga Skills for Therapists:Yoga Therapy
This book is a must read for all counselors. All too often counseling modalities become closed systems, rigid and stubbornly resistant to change or new ideas. This is particularly the case with the Freudian and Jungian modalities where adherence, of an almost fundamentalist nature to the "master's" principles, prevents growth and a positive outcome for counselees.
Read with an open mind this book will help counselors overcome this myopic view of the psycho-therapies and perhaps bring about a more acceptable, consistent and holistic outcome for their clients. Peter Raabe has done an excellent job of editing this book so as to include a balanced approach to a long overdue critical review of the efficacy of traditional psychotherapy. s he notes in the introduction, the various contributors all have slightly different approaches to the unconscious, "...some defend a concrete conception of the unconscious that "drives" the physical mechanism", others claim "...that any conception of a substantive unconscious is ultimately logically and scientifically indefensible, or worse nonsensical, and that counseling and therapy cannot claim to be concerned with an unconscious because there is simply nothing to be concerned about" (p. 14) Given the broad scope of the high quality, scholarly essays there is as the saying goes, "something for everyone", all with the one aim, that of improving our understanding and practice of counseling. Given the inherent complexity of psychotherapy and some philosopher's writing, the book much to the contributor's credit is easy to read and only requires a basic lay person's knowledge of counseling terms such as transference, repression and so on.
Philosophical Counseling and the Unconscious consists of fifteen chapters and an Introduction which summarizes each chapter. This means the book may be read in order of interest, rather than sequentially. The key methodology of this book is to present various approaches to therapy which create a dynamic tension for the reader between philosophical counseling methods and psychotherapy. Within this, three aspects of the unconscious are discussed, from the perspective of philosophy, clinical psychology and personal mental health. Psychologists and psychotherapists have a tendency to believe they are the only ones capable of dealing with the unconscious and those not trained in this area, such as philosophers, have no business dabbling in areas they don't understand. This book may help temper this arrogance a little, not only through the carefully argued logic of the various essays but also because none of us really understands what constitutes the conscious mind, let alone the so-called unconscious!
The philosophical counselor quite often has to try and undo the damage caused by therapy based on "the psychotherapeutic medical model of distress as 'mental illness'". There is now ample evidence which should dispel "...the popular misconception that the unconscious is a controlling but ultimately incomprehensible entity buried deep within the mind" (back cover). One such study in this regard is Allan Hobson's, The Chemistry of Conscious States, this book deserves far more recognition than it seems to get.
Chapter Five by Cameron Tsoi-A-Sue in Philosophical Counseling and the Unconscious has the brilliant title, Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar, at first glance this title seems simple enough, however for me, it encapsulates and exposes the whole myth of Freudian psychoanalysis (and much psychoanalytic cultural discourse) in one sentence. . The reader is in any doubt regarding Tsoi-A-Sue's position in this regard I'll quote the first paragraph of his contribution in full. "Forms of therapy that center on Freudian psychodynamics are not therapeutic; the fundamental concept of the two-part human psyche, conscious and unconscious, is flawed, both practically and philosophically. The treatment models of psychodynamics are dehumanizing, create co-dependency, and encourage moral irresponsibility". (p. 145)
This rather provocative paragraph and other similar ones indicate the book will be challenging for many counselors, especially those who believe their methods express an almost 'universal truth'. There is no space in this short review to describe each chapter in detail so I will list their titles as they give a fairly comprehensive indication of the subject matter discussed.
The Unconscious: Sartre versus Freud
Mankind Cannot Bear Too Much Reality: Wishful Thinking and The Unconscious
Divided Loyalties: Cultural "Weltanschauungen" and the Psychology of the Unconscious
Humean Character Revision: Reflections of Pride and Shame.
Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar
Nietzsche and the Unconscious
Addressing the Crisis of Meaning: Towards a 'Psychotheological' Reading of the Unconscious
The Pathologos: the Unsuspected Underlying Belief
Critical Thinking, Not "Head Shrinking"
Dialogue and the Unconscious
Hidden Kantian Full Thoughts in Modern Socratic Dialogues
The Unconscious and Philosophical Counseling
Can Philosophers Deal With the Unconscious
Causal Nets and the Disappearance of the Unconscious
Transcending The Unconscious: Philosophical Counseling Sessions With Arthur Schopenhauer
Philosophical counseling attempts to, "...help counselees to overcome their predicament by going beyond their narrow, self-regarding needs towards a broader attitude about life" (p. 22). This together with sympathetically encouraging counselees to take responsibility for their own character traits and actions in the world is a far cry from blaming the 'predicament' on a fictitious unconscious, which the hapless counselee has no control over and by extension, cannot really be held responsible for. Philosophical counseling suggests that even if an unconscious does exist it is not necessary to dig into it but rather transcend it in an attempt to allow a person to live a more balanced contented life. This particular concept is creatively expressed in the final essay in the book.
As I mentioned earlier this book is essential reading for practicing counselors of all persuasions. Philosophical counselors will find support for their own unique approach to counseling and discover help in expanding their methodology if they choose to do so. Psychotherapists will be challenged as to the validity of their fundamental counseling assumptions and hopefully realize that at very least, addition of the 'philosophical way' to their oeuvre will increase the efficacy of their counseling efforts. I do not think the book is especially suitable or useful for young or first year students as an understanding of basic counseling techniques and modalities is assumed. Of course final year students about to go into practice may well find this book one of the most useful they'll ever read. For the lay person who has been left bewildered by psychotherapy and perhaps still have their 'problem' after extensive psychotherapy the book will be well worth buying.
My only minor criticism of this book is that it comes from a very much Western cultural background and a particularly Eurocentric one at that. Obviously to a degree this is unavoidable, as psychotherapy originated in Europe, and the Western philosophical tradition goes back to the Greeks. However, I would have liked to have seen at least one essay from an indigenous/tribal healing perspective to give a little more balance to the overall approach. We have much to learn from these traditions (as well as the Chinese approach to holistic living) and I would encourage Peter Raabe to produce a follow-up volume which transcends the moribund, Eurocentric psychotherapeutic model completely and concentrates further on philosophical counseling methods together with at least an overview of indigenous or tribal philosophical healing systems.
© 2007 Rob Harle
Rob Harle is an artist and writer, especially concerned with the nature of consciousness and high-body technologies. His current work explores the nature of the transition from human to posthuman, a phenomenon he calls the technoMetamorphosis of humanity. He has academic training in philosophy of mind, comparative religious studies, art and psychotherapy. Rob is an active member of the Leonardo Review Panel. For full biography and examples of art and writing work please visit his web site: http://www.robharle.com