This book explores the way in which loving kindness, contained within professional boundaries of practice, is essential to the building of trust necessary to the psychotherapy relationship.

Arguing that loving kindness has both biological and ethical relevance in assisting recovery from the trauma of emotional injury, Heather Reeves brings forth a renewed philosophical and cultural discourse about its importance in professional work with vulnerable people. The philosophical premise of the book is the concept of alterity, or awareness of the subjective reality of others, developed by Emmanuel Levinas and expressed in psychotherapy theories since the mid-twentieth century. Understandings drawn from attachment theory, affective neuroscience and psychodynamic psychotherapy are applied to case studies (one of them written by a client) from the author’s practice and themes from literature and biography, including the long-term impact of the Covid pandemic.

Loving Kindness in Psychotherapy will appeal to psychotherapists, counsellors and other mental health professionals as well as a range of other readers, including medical and palliative care professionals, educators, clergy, theologians and philosophers.

chapter |6 pages


chapter Chapter 1|22 pages

The nature of loving kindness

chapter Chapter 2|17 pages

Expressions of loving kindness in psychotherapy

chapter Chapter 3|24 pages

False friends of loving kindness

The symbiotic merger and sentimentality

chapter |25 pages

Loving kindness and moral injury

chapter |25 pages

The shadow side of loving kindness