ABSTRACT

This chapter reports on and explores the process of consulting to the psychotherapy of a very troubled man. It hopes to illustrate the difficulty, importance and meaning of what Symington calls “tak(ing) the transference”. The transference–countertransference relatedness with this patient felt like a death grip. Psychotherapy consultation differs from psychotherapy supervision. Because it is not ongoing and not embedded in an educational task, consultation is not primarily about mentoring. And, most importantly, it actually makes contact with the patient. It thus functions very powerfully as an actual treatment intervention, the timing of which is in unconscious but direct response to the gathering affective storm between patient and therapist. The therapist eventually picked up on the way in which his mother’s illness must have felt like her turning away from the patient. He joined that and spoke of her having lost her will to go on.