Life Witness

Life Witness : Evolution of the Psychotherapist

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In Life Witness: Evolution of the Psychotherapist, T. Byram Karasu demonstrates how a young therapist can become an expert clinician by transcending his own school of therapy. Every young therapist attempts to perfect his skills by anchoring onto a single paradigm and becoming an expert technician of that particular school. Within the first five to ten years of practice-the so-called experiential evolution phase-the therapist finds that no single paradigm is suitable for treating all psychopathology. The therapist thus begins to appropriate techniques from other schools of psychotherapy, and by shifting paradigms, synchronizes himself with the patient's mind. It is from this synchronization that all his techniques begin to evolve and an expert clinician can evolve into a master psychotherapist. The therapist who has transcended his school of psychotherapy now must transcend the field of psychotherapy itself. If he wants to address the patient's existential issues as well, the therapist first has to come to terms with those issues himself. After all, the therapist can take the patient only so far as he himself has come.

Life Witness demonstrates that this formative evolution phase of a therapist encompasses a broad education in literature, philosophy, and spirituality. Karasu ultimately concludes that therapists must find the meaning and purpose of life before they can cultivate an authentic self and become someone whose presence is itself therapeutic. Once this occurs, all "therapeutic messages" will naturally emanate from within.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 194 pages
  • 160 x 233 x 20mm | 417g
  • Northvale NJ, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0765709872
  • 9780765709875

Table of contents


Part I: Psychotherapist, the Expert Clinician: Transcending One's School of Psychotherapy
Chapter 1: Theory: Science Issues Only Interim Reports
Chapter 2: Brand Psychotherapies? Casting Multiple Anchors
Chapter 3: Transcending Dualities
Chapter 4: Universal Curative Agents
Chapter 5: Generic Psychotherapy? Weighing Anchors
Chapter 6: Generic Therapeutic Techniques

Part II: Psychotherapist, The Master: Transcending the Fields of Psychotherapy
Chapter 7: Limitations in Science Invite an Offering of Philosophy
Chapter 8: Ordeal of the Self
Chapter 9: Inter-subjective Dialectics
Chapter 10: Ontological Attunement: The Formation of the Psychotherapist

About the Author
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Review quote

This extraordinary volume offers a profound and moving analysis of the spiritual potential of psychotherapy-a fundamental contribution to therapists of all traditions. A comprehensive review of all major therapeutic approaches, Life Witness provides an up-to-date summary of the major controversial issues that are the focus of contemporary research. T. Byram Karasu presents a highly critical, convincing analysis of the problematic relationship between DSM diagnoses and treatment indications. Reflecting the experience of a psychotherapist profoundly steeped in psychoanalytic tradition, Life Witness demonstrates psychotherapy at its best. -- Otto F. Kernberg M.D., author of Love and Aggression With four decades of clinical experience under his belt, with painstaking and meticulous study of diverse psychotherapeutic techniques, and with impressive credentials as an author and editor, Dr. Karasu takes us on an enlightening journey of the growth and maturation of a psychotherapist. He underscores the tension between the specificity and universality of our healing methods and deftly blends contradictory perspectives into a harmonious gestalt. Truly knowledgeable in diverse `schools' of psychotherapy, comfortable in putting Eastern and Western notions together, and familiar with philosophy and spirituality, Dr. Karasu exhorts us to strive to learn and unlearn theories, open our eyes and ears to the clinical material in front of us, cultivate authenticity, and transcend dogma. This is powerful stuff indeed! -- Salman Akhtar, MD, is professor of psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Life Witness is a profound overview-thorough, penetrating, and witty-of the practice of psychotherapy. I continue to be amazed and enlightened by Byram Karasu's blend of intelligence and compassion. He is a therapist's therapist, and this new book should be on the desk-ready at hand-for every thoughtful psychotherapist. -- Thomas Moore, PhD, author of Care of the Soul T. Byram Karasu has written a remarkable book about the evolution of psychotherapeutic expertise or know-how. Crucial to this evolution, according to Karasu, is the therapist's transcending of the particular theoretical doctrine in which he or she was trained en route to a pluralistic, `transtheoretical' perspective that helps orient him or her to a patient's emotional experience. Using Aristotle's classical distinction, I would characterize such an evolution as a movement from techne (technical rationality) toward phronesis (practical wisdom), which is always oriented to the particular person and his or her particular situation. Karasu gives us a rich description of this evolution and an apt vision of psychotherapy as a form of applied philosophy. -- Robert D. Stolorow Ph.D., author of World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis
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About T. Byram Karasu

T. Byram Karasu, MD, is Silverman Professor and the university chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center. Karasu is a scholar, renowned clinician, teacher, and lecturer.
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