A perceptive and empathetic psychologist tackles a touchy subject--the role of love in therapy. Finding little solid...

READ REVIEW

THE INTIMATE HOUR: Love and Sex in Psychotherapy

A perceptive and empathetic psychologist tackles a touchy subject--the role of love in therapy. Finding little solid research on the subject, Baur (The Dinosaur Man, 1991; Confiding, 1994; etc.) uses stories from the past and present to illustrate the various kinds of relationships that form between doctor and patient, therapist and client. She rejects as oversimplified the currently popular view that such erotic entanglements are necessarily instances of a powerful person preying on a weaker one for personal gain. From Jung's lengthy affair with Sabina Spielrein and Otto Rank's obsession with Ana‹s Nin to a present-day woman suing her psychiatrist for sexual abuse, the stories she tells show that the nature of the bond is indeed complex. To the question of whether a close bond is essential to effective therapy, and further, whether love should be a part of that bond, Baur's answer is a firm ""yes."" At their best, she asserts, the feelings of love between therapist and client can be compared to the medieval ideal of courtly love--pure and unfulfilled. Rather than denying the role of love in therapy, it is time, she says, to acknowledge it, to study it. To those alarmed by what they have seen as the increased victimization of female patients, Baur notes that the issue of sex in therapy will gradually disappear as the philosophy of relational therapy, which emphasizes the curative power of the relationship between client and therapist, puts the parties on a more equal footing, and as women increasingly outnumber men as providers of therapy. Another force for change, and one that Baur deplores frequently, is the growth of managed health care, with its limits on therapy and its regulations affecting therapists. The intimate hour, she fears, may be transformed into a brief business transaction. Intriguing ideas about the past and present of psychotherapy for both therapists and those they counsel.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 1997

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996