ABSTRACT

Our aim in this chapter is to outline some of the themes that run through the essays in this book, themes that seem to play a major role in how the process of becoming a therapist is made intelligible by our contributors. Such themes include the therapist’s drive towards understanding and repair, the development of empathy, and the concern with the integration of different parts of oneself. We then pursue, in part two, a particular line of inquiry which, we believe, the essays in this book bring into view, namely that an important, if not crucial move in the process of becoming a therapist is the establishment of a particular domain in one’s sense and experience of oneself, which is that of the inner world and the self. This domain is taken to represent both the field of the therapeutic endeavour and the source of therapeutic knowledge, skill, and intuition. We will consider how the notion of the self plays a key part in these accounts, and some of the ways in which it is described. In part three we suggest that the idea of the self serves an important function as a counterpoint to theory in psychotherapy. In part four we focus on the language employed by the contributors to describe both their development as therapists and the practice and nature of psychotherapy itself. We identify, in addition to the language of the self, three traditional areas of discourse-the religious, political, and narrative-which are used by the writers as a fund of metaphors and ways of thinking with which to try and describe the highly elusive process of therapy. We finally make reference to the view of therapeutic knowledge, as having a fundamentally personal and interpersonal dimension, which seems to emerge from what our contributors have written.