chapter  Five
The therapist's revenge: the law of talion as a motive for caring
ByMichael Jacobs
Pages 16

Therapists in particular, through their own therapy, should not have naïve views about the nature of the caring relationship. They learn to acknowledge that as therapists they act with what at times looks suspiciously like sadistic, seductive, or salacious interest towards their clients, albeit in what they hope is controlled and sublimated form. In examining the theme of revenge, it should not be confused with another of the wishes that is believed to be one of the motivations for being a therapist: the need to make reparation. Revenge within the therapist may act as one of the legitimate motives for caring. The same law of talion suggests that there may be a subtle link between forgiveness and revenge. Therapists may not pronounce forgiveness, but they try to provide an accepting, non-judgemental milieu in which the client may come to some sense of reconciliation with the past, with memories, with parts of the self, and with other people.