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Synopsis

Most accounts of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy have been written by therapists, from a professional point of view. May such accounts alone be an authentic history of what occurred between the therapist and the patient? Would the patients' accounts be as valid as those of the therapists? In this book the published stories of several analysands over 100 years have been collected for purposes of comparison; some have been written by therapists in training, but others are by patients not involved in the profession. A number are complaints about malpractice, or of failures to make a difference to their condition, and a common factor in most has been a discordant agenda between analyst and analysand. Where analysands have felt that they have gained transforming benefit from the therapy, those gains are frequently ascribed to the relationship with the therapist, rather than the practice or technique which they may have criticized. Collected together they make stimulating reading and raise interesting issues about the nature of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, and the healing function of the process.

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