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Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month

As we arrive at the end of March 2021, designated Women’s History Month, we want to acknowledge 12 transformative female therapists who have all taught at WPF Therapy and published books that have influenced, illuminated, and added to the canon of psychotherapeutic understanding that continues to underpin the work of students and practitioners. Choose to Challenge was theme for this year’s International Women’s Day (08/03/21), and these women have challenged and shaped thinking and practice. There have been other women, as this is by no means a definitive list, and many of those mentioned are authors of multiple texts that continue to enrich.

1. Ruth Archer – Dual Realities: The Search for Meaning: Psychodynamic Therapy with Physically Ill
(2006. Routledge)

Little has been written about psychotherapy with the seriously physically ill and this book seeks to remedy that. The title Dual Realities refers to the inner reality of the individual’s internal world and the outer reality of their illness and the interaction between the two. Out of this arena came an understanding that what is important for the client/patient is the meaning, for them, of their illness.

Dual Realities aims to show how therapists can work effectively with ill or disabled people, by facing their fears,          adjusting their technique and by learning from their patients. To the general reader it offers an insight into this            important area of psychotherapeutic work. To us all it gives the opportunity to discover the courage of those who
were willing to pursue the path of psychotherapy in the search for wholeness and meaning in their illness and who
have allowed their explorations to be published.

2. Jenny Davids – The Nursery Age Child (2010, Routledge)

This book aims to facilitate the understandings of nursery age children, that is, children around three, four and five years, and their parents. Children of these ages are particularly fascinating. The wealth of their growing minds is apparent in their play and in their widening capacity to express themselves in words. It is a time of much discovery and experimentation, accompanied often by excitement and anxiety. There is something open-minded and open-hearted about children of these years.

The author’s views on nursery age children have been based on observing and working with them over the past            twenty years, in various settings, including their homes, nursery schools and hospitals, and as a psychologist                and child psychotherapist, in assessments and individual psychotherapy. She has also learnt much in working              with families and with groups of parents.

3.     Christine Driver (ed.), Edward Martin (ed.)  –  Supervision and the Analytic Attitude (2005,

Supervision is a discipline that is informed and enlivened by the theories, insights and understandings of the psychoanalytic and psychodynamic disciplines to which it is related. This book takes key theories and engages with them in relation to the supervisory process and the supervisory relationship and considers how they inform an analytic attitude and generate awareness, understanding, and meaning between supervisor and supervisee about the patient. The authors are all Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists and / or Analytical Psychologists, have worked extensively as supervisors and have experience in training supervisors. This book is aimed at all supervisors who work Psychodynamically or Psychoanalytically.

4.       Jackie Gerrard – The Impossibility of Knowing: Dilemmas of a Psychotherapist (2011, Routledge)

This is a book that assembles and integrates Jackie Gerrard’s clinical work and thinking over the many years of her working life. Part I focuses on patients with specific types of psychopathology and explores particular difficulties in technique and thinking. Part II addresses the issues of love, hate, and the erotic. In Part III, specific challenges to the psychotherapeutic frame are demonstrated in chapters on enactments and on work with an absent patient. Richly illustrated throughout with clinical vignettes, above all, Gerrard stresses the importance of the enquiring mind and the struggle not to “know” but to be ever ready to “not know” and to explore.

5. Celia Harding – Sexuality: Psychoanalytic Perspectives (2001, Routledge)

According to the popular imagination, psychoanalysis is about men wanting to sleep with their mothers and women wanting penises. This book tells a different story about what has happened to sex in psychoanalysis over the past century. A range of distinguished contributors challenge the view that sexuality is nothing other than historically and culturally determined. Introducing the ideas of sexuality from the viewpoint of a number of theoretical schools, they cover topics such as: sexuality in childhood; female and male sexuality (hetero- and homosexual) and sexual perversions.

6. M.J. Maher – Racism and Cultural Diversity: Cultivating Racial Harmony through Counselling, Group Analysis, and Psychotherapy (2012, Routledge)

M.J. Maher writes for all those interested in the dynamics of racism, from professionals in counselling, group analysis and psychotherapy working in multiracial and multicultural societies to those exposed to racism who need help in dealing with the impact of their experiences. She also addresses the concept of victims becoming perpetrators if support is not given to contain the process.

Herself a group analyst, the author experienced at first hand racial discrimination within the system, but rather than succumb has instead produced an enduring and proficient work that draws heavily on personal experience. Combining years of counselling skill with a natural compassion, she makes the subject of racism approachable, thus motivating all those wanting to explore the issues. For people whose experience of broken attachments crosses racial lines, this book is possibly the first to use Bowlby’s Attachment Theory as a framework for understanding racism.

7.  Gertrud Mander – A Psychodynamic Approach to Brief Therapy (2000, Sage)

Illustrated throughout with clinical vignettes, this book is a comprehensive guide to psychodynamic brief counselling and psychotherapy. It is ideal for those looking for a practical introduction to the subject, both trainees and practitioners. Following a summary of the roots and development of psychoanalytic theory, psychodynamic models of brief, short-term and time-limited work are described. The author describes their differences and similarities in terms of duration, technique and the contexts for which they were developed. She then examines the basics of brief therapeutic practice from a psychodynamic perspective, starting with assessment, contracting, structuring and focusing. The active stance of the brief therapist is emphasized, and the importance of beginnings and endings, and of supervision and training, are particularly stressed.

8.  Lesley Murdin – Understanding Transference: The Power of Patterns in the Therapeutic
     Relationship  (2009, Palgrave)

Emotional links between therapists and their clients can help or hinder the therapeutic process. This comprehensive book examines how the main approaches deal with transference, looking at the technical and ethical difficulties in understanding transference from a theoretical point of view and with clinical illustration.

9.            Rozsika Parker – Torn in Two: The Experience of Maternal Ambivalence (2005, Virago)

More and more women confess uneasily to finding motherhood as much a source of pain as pleasure. Rozsika Parker presents a new understanding of maternal ambivalence, suggesting that the coexistence of love and hate can stimulate and sharpen a mother’s awareness of what is going on between her and her child. Drawing on interviews, clinical material from her practice as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and a range of literary sources, Torn in Two is original and accessible. With new readings of the work of Klein, Winnicott, Bowlby and others, this book offers invaluable – and often reassuring – insight into the conflicts confronting women at every stage of motherhood.

10.   Anne Power – Forced Endings in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis: Attachment and Loss in
  (2015, Routledge)

A forced ending is an intrusion of the clinician’s own needs into the therapeutic space. Anne Power shows how this might compromise the work but may also be an opportunity for deeper engagement. Drawing on attachment theory to understand how the therapeutic couple cope with an imposed separation, Power includes interviews with therapists who took a temporary break to demonstrate the commonality of challenges faced by those who need to impose an ending on clients.

Forced Endings in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis opens up an area which has been considered taboo in the profession so that future cohorts can benefit from the reflections and insights of this earlier generation. It will support clinicians making this transition and aims to support ethical practice so that clients are not exposed to unnecessary risks of the sudden termination of a long treatment.

11.  Hazel Robinson and Victoria Graham Fuller  –  Understanding Narcissism in Clinical Practice               (2003, Routledge)

Understanding Narcissism in Clinical Practice is a new volume in the eagerly anticipated clinical practice monograph series from the Society of Analytical Psychology. Aimed primarily at trainees on psychotherapy and psychodynamic counselling courses, these compact editions will be invaluable to all who wish to learn the basics of major psychoanalytic theories from an integrated viewpoint. The authors are Jungian analysts trained at the SAP; highly experienced in both theory and practice.

Narcissism is one of the most important contributions of psychoanalysis, as well as one of the most confusing. This monograph presents the clinical condition of narcissistic disorder in a clear, concise and easy-to-read style. The myth of Narcissus, from where the term ‘narcissism’ originates, is presented and discussed. Several brief case studies, plus one in-depth, illustrate the manifestations of narcissistic disorder that are detailed throughout. The book ends with a summary of the leading theories that have evolved since Freud and takes an intriguing look at the narcissistic traits in Jung’s personality and the impact these had on his life and work.

12.     Fiona Ross – Perversion: A Jungian Approach (2013, Routledge)

Theoretical understanding of perversion is neglected in analytical psychology, and narrowly developed in psychoanalysis, where it traditionally refers to sexual perversion. Etymological exploration of the word “perversion”, including its use in religious, moral, sociological and legal contexts, reveals a wider meaning than that adopted in psychoanalysis. The aim of the author is to revise the psychoanalytic model through the introduction of Jungian concepts that extend the understanding of perversion beyond the bounds of sexuality to a more general relational context.

By describing the development of psychoanalytic thinking on perversion in detail, the author is able to highlight the central differences between the Freudian and Jungian interpretive traditions and to explain why Jungian ideas on perversion have remained underdeveloped, leading to the absence of a unique or available Jungian contribution to the theory of perversion. Jungian concepts, together with some from outside the psychoanalytic domain, are combined with psychoanalytic concepts to create an integrated formulation in which perversion is presented as a response to early trauma, with intrapsychic deception enacted relationally in the outside world through vengeful behaviour, that is not necessarily sexual, but is addictive and symptomatic of a defensive psychic structure that establishes and perpetuates self-deception. The formulation is presented in stages with illustrations drawn from three biographies, exemplifying sexual perversion, bodily perversion, and emotional or cognitive perversion.


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