THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUCH: What Psychotherapists Believe by Mark E.--Ed. Stern

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUCH: What Psychotherapists Believe

Email this review


Twenty-four psychotherapists expound--briefly, simply, and in some cases quite compellingly--their personal-professional credo. Not too surprisingly it turns out that they believe all sorts of things, although Stern (a Jewish convert to Christianity) has loaded his deck with a disproportionate number of religious types. Still there's plenty of variety here: atheists, agnostics, humanists, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Freudians (no hardliners), Jungians, eclectics, a logotherapist, a forthright Evangelical moralist (""if I mention that pre-marital sex is not God's ideal, I always add that Jesus was very loving to whores""), a wild-eyed proponent of ""the natural high,"" and so on. Many of the contributors sound remarkably sensitive and intelligent (since Stern lists their city of residence and institutional affiliations, a few readers might even want to use the book as a consumer's guide to good psychological help), and many give sympathetic accounts of their own angst-ridden spiritual struggles. Almost none of them, however, deal with the broader problems linking religion and psychotherapy. An exception is William Crosby (an ordained Episcopal priest, but no longer functioning as such), who notes that ""The very existence of psychotherapy reveals the inadequacy of religion in our culture."" Crosby's fellow-therapists constantly talk about ""meaning"" and ""value"" and ""love"" and ""healing,"" but too few of them pay any attention to the massive cultural disruptions that have put them in business. The view from ""the other side of the couch"" seems to stop short at the patient and to miss the mess in the streets outside. But if nothing else, Stem's group shatters--or strongly challenges at least--the stereotype of psychotherapy as a supremely secular profession.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1981
Publisher: Pilgrim Press--dist. by Seabury