ABSTRACT

This chapter discusses the progress made in psychotherapeutic thinking and neuroscience during the twentieth century, which has allowed the disposition of loving kindness to be understood more clearly in professional practice, in forms of therapeutic conversation. The discussion is introduced with reference to the work of Hobson (1985), Meares (2001), Phillips and Taylor (2009), Westland (2015) and Damasio (2000). Reflections about humane feelings are traced to some of their origins in Enlightenment thinking. The thought of Montaigne is connected with the later views of Freud. The progression towards greater understanding of the human need for sociability and kindly relations with others, which has provided a foundation for the psychotherapeutic relationship, is discussed. This theme is elaborated further in the concluding chapter of this book. Various expressions of loving kindness which have emerged in psychotherapy theory since the mid-twentieth century are cited: Carl Rogers and the person-centred approach, Hans Loewald and the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis, Donna Orange et al., on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas and the concept of the ‘ethical turn’ in contemporary psychoanalysis, Salman Akhtar and Evelyne Schwaber on empathic listening and Paul Gilbert on compassion focused therapy.