Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy

Integrative Psychotherapy Books

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Therapeutic Dialogues: A Review of “A Healing Relationship”

José M. Martínez

Richard G. Erskine’s new book entitled A Healing Relationship: Commentary on Therapeutic Dialogues is an excellent source to understand the principles and relational methods of Integrative Psychotherapy. This is one of those books which may provide most readers with crucial inspiration, perhaps even a turning point in understanding relational psychotherapy. Some of the chapters are written in a dialogic form where there is an explicit intent to involve the readers at an intersubjective level. Richard says: "I´ll write it as though I am writing a personal letter to you" (Preface X-XI), a direct invitation to elicit a dialogue between the author and reader; an invitation to think together as a way to set a relational frame and deepen the effectiveness of the therapeutic relationship.

The theories and methods of Relationally-focused Integrative Psychotherapy reflect a long-standing dialogue with many clients about what was beneficial and what was ineffective in their psychotherapy. The theories and methods also reflect numerous conversations with psychotherapist who use other theories and methods. Such dialogue is an important method to further our knowledge about effective psychotherapy (Erskine, 2015; Moursund & Erskine, 2003; Erskine, Moursund & Trautmann, 1999).

Plato, in his Letter VII, stated the importance of learning through conversation and the gentleness of life in common. Socrates developed his philosophy through the dialogue with his students. The meaning of interventions, the personal differences in the practice of psychotherapy, the different perspectives between schools need to be clarified and put into a relational context to clarify and understand the therapeutic factors involved. The importance of the relationship in psychotherapy is underlined through the dialogic style that permeates Dr. Erskine’s whole book.

Only a few authors allow the chance that other professionals may observe their psychotherapeutic work, or read and study transcripts of real psychotherapeutic sessions. So, the naturalistic application of many psychotherapeutic methods cannot be watched and reflected upon. In this book, Richard G. Erskine gives transaction by transaction transcriptions of three therapeutic sessions with a description of his internal reactions, thoughts, and feelings. He shares with the reader his personal thoughts and feeling that underly his interventions. Erskine’s dialogue with the reader opens a royal avenue to understand and internalize the principles and methods of Relationally-focused Integrative Psychotherapy.

This is a key book in the psychotherapy field because it clearly demonstrates the importance of intersubjectivity in the therapeutic relationship and the need for an involved other to heal the injuries of early relational ruptures.

Dr. José M. Martínez, MD.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine of the Valladolid University. International Integrative Psychotherapy Trainer and Supervisor. Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst in the field of Psychotherapy.

The Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists, by the National Board of Certified Counselors for counselors and by the American Board of Examiners in Pastoral Counseling for pastoral counselors. The Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy maintains responsibility for this program and its content.