I welcomed the editors’ invitation to participate in this challenging venture; yet as I approached the task, I experienced some trepidation since of necessity it deals with highly personal matters.
Almost a quarter of a century ago, at a faculty party, I overheard a conversation between two colleagues, one of whom asked, ‘How did you happen to become a psychotherapist?’ The second answered, without a moment’s hesitation but without rancour ‘You are asking a highly personal question.’ I don’t remember how the conversation proceeded, but for some reason I vividly recall the exchange. I had never thought about the issue in that light, but the riposte struck me as eminently meaningful. Indeed, when confronted with a question of this kind one is being asked to reveal thoughts and feelings one might share only with people closest to us. Some thoughts may be so private that we might verbalize them only in therapy, perhaps against strong resistances, and others we may not wish to verbalize at all. Thus I doubt that anyone in a chapter of this kind can ever be ‘perfectly honest’. I pledge not to dissimulate, but the reader will understand that I shall use discretion.