A Curious Calling : Unconscious Motivations for Practicing Psychotherapy
"What brings you here?" is the standard question posed to patients at the outset of their therapeutic journey. In A Curious Calling, this question is posed to therapists themselves. Applicants to psychotherapy training programs commonly state that they wish "to help people"-but this tells us very little. What are the unconscious factors underlying the decision to become a psychotherapist? Guilt, compassion, a sense of moral duty, a sense of power? Or a wish to be needed, or to enjoy vicariously the prospect of receiving aid and comfort? For each individual with a "need to help" there exists a unique constellation of underlying motives and aims. Without exploring and facing up to these hidden sources of motivation, therapists run the risk of exploiting patients for their own needs.
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- Paperback | 258 pages
- 154 x 229 x 20mm | 386g
- 31 Oct 2007
- Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers
- Northvale NJ, United States
- Second Edition
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Nowhere is there a more complete and coherent explication of the myriad of forces that lead all of us into careers as psychotherapists....Readers will respond to Dr. Sussman's bok with sighs of recognition over and over again as they find aspects of themselves jumping out at them from the pages fo the book. -- Glen Gabbard M.D. The author is to be congratulated for his orderly approach and his courage to delve into a controversial area. He has written a book that should be read by all mental health workers, a volume that contains both wisdom and compassion. -- Peter L. Giovacchini, M.D., Psychoanalytic Books: A Quarterly Journal of Reviews ...an excellent review of how therapists have understood their own motivations for practicing psychotherapy. -- Stuart Scheiderman, The New York Times Book Review Dr. Sussman's A Curious Calling is a must-read for any clinician with an unconscious. Sussman writes compellingly of the therapist as a 'wounded healer,' motivated by a whole host of powerful unconscious forces. His book is a disturbing but sympathetic exploration of a controversial issue-the therapist's 'dark place,' those unconscious motivations that can be unconscionably destructive if not acknowledged or profoundly constructive if recognized and known. It is an awesome responsibility to be in the position of helping another come to know himself and his unconscious; if the therapist is to be able effectively to assume responsibility, he must truly know himself, as well. -- Martha Stark, M.D. Psychotherapists with perfect mental health should avoid this book. The rest of us will benefit greatly from Dr. Sussman's important contribution. Providing a sophisticated, psychodynamic discussion of the complex motives which fuel the desire to help others, the author challenges us to know ourselves more fully and thereby to deepen the therapeutic process. This well-documented and thought-provoking book should be read by all cliniclans, and by those who train them. -- Amy Schaffer PhD How can I convey the excitement engendered by this book? Sussman makes a unique contribution to the literature of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis with its publication....This book is both stimulating and challenging. It should be required reading in training programs for psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. -- Frederick S. Mittleman, M.D., Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic
About Michael B. Sussman
Michael B. Sussman, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Sussman has worked in private practice and as a clinical instructor at Harvard University. He is the editor of A Perilous Calling: The Hazards of Psychotherapy Practice and the author of a children's picture book, Otto Grows Down.