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A profile of Israelis living ""in the shadow of war,"" as explored in Gestalt therapy sessions and private interviews: a revealing book of limited interest to a general audience, of some potential to other therapists, of most value to lsraelis. Lieblich, who trained with Jim Simkin at Big Sur, began her sessions in 1970, after the Six Day War left Israelis wary but relatively snug. After the Yom Kippur War, people were jumpier, far less secure. Many struggle with the decision to stay in Israel; yet yoreds (emigrants) are not admired and men who don't go to the front have ambiguous status. Parents look at newborns and wonder, ""Am I raising my child to be a soldier?"" Widows often live in expectation of their young husbands' return. A minority share fantasies with wheelchair motifs. And many go numb at an early age: ""there is an accumulation of losses, and then you become sort of immune to them. It's as if your emotions are dulled. This is functional, since tomorrow the list of losses will keep growing."" Lieblich's clients, primarily university students and mental health professionals, take to the format with little resistance, even though unaccustomed to the subject, and proceed in ways outsiders find easy to parody. (Natan: I am so much nowhere that I don't even know if I am worried about it. Amia: What is ""it""? Natan: The void which enfolds me, which is me. Amia: Be the void. Natan: I am white and foggy. I am warm and comfortable.) Answers are not always forthcoming, in a single session or even after several. (""We did not solve your problems, but at least we felt them."") At the beginning, Lieblich explains basic concepts--the hot seat and empty chair, why ""why"" is a dirty word--and throughout she offers brief characterizations of each individual plus broader general comments supported by the sessions and interviews. Not quite so moving as Shapira's The Seventh Day (1971), interviews with kibbutzim following the Six Day War, but illuminating and involving.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1978
Publisher: Pantheon