Geller, J.D., Norcross, J.C., Orlinksy, D.E. (2005). The Psychotherapist’s Own Psychotherapy: Patient and Clinical Perspectives. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 429 pages. ISBN:987-0-19-513394-3.
Reviewed by: Alexa D’Angelo, Hunter College
Edited by Jesse D. Geller, John C. Norcross and David E. Orlinsky, The Psychotherapist’s Own Psychotherapy tackles the topic of the psychotherapist as a patient. More specifically, the editors have gathered nearly thirty essays, written by a number of professionals in the field of psychotherapy, which explore the subjects of the psychotherapist’s experience in psychotherapy, as well as the impact and importance of therapy for the practicing psychotherapist or analyst. The Psychotherapist’s Psychotherapy is organized into three parts. The first is dedicated to “The Therapist’s Therapy in Different Theoretical Orientations”, the second discusses the therapist as a patient, while the third part is focused on the experience of the therapists’ psychotherapist (x-xii). Editors Geller, Norcross and Orlinksy have compiled a body of work that is deeply informative on the topic of the psychotherapist’s psychotherapeutic experience.
Chapter I, presents readers with a comprehensive introduction to the topic of the psychotherapist’s therapy, as well as the implications for both their personal and professional life. This includes the role of the psychotherapist’s therapist, as well as the largely limited guidelines and literature that refer to this relationship. The authors identify individual therapy as an important tool, which should be utilized by practicing psychotherapists “as the symbolic core of professional identity” (3). While personal experience in individual therapy is obligatory in clinical psychology programs in many European countries, the United States often does not require any experience in psychotherapy (with the exception of psychoanalytic training)(5).
Part II presents readers with autobiographical essays, which recount the psychotherapeutic experiences of several psychotherapists in differing theoretical orientations. Jesse D. Geller, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, recalls his time with five different psychotherapists in his essay, “A Patient in Five Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies” ((81). He delves into the successes, failures and difficulties he experienced in psychotherapy, beginning with his first psychotherapy experience at New York’s, City College (82). Geller offers a great deal of insightful and relevant information relative to his varying experiences in psychotherapy throughout his academic and professional life.
Geller, Norcross and Orlinksy have compiled a group of theoretically diverse essays that tackle the topic of the therapist’s psychotherapy from both the viewpoint of the therapist-patient, as well as the therapist’s therapist. Through various insightful and informative essays, readers are offered a great deal of information on the subject, as well as an emphasis on the importance of psychotherapy for the practicing psychotherapist.
Geller, J.D., Norcross, J.C., Orlinksy, D.E. (2005). The Psychotherapist’s Own Psychotherapy: Patient and Clinical Perspectives. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN:987-0-19-513394-3.
Hardcover. 429 pages. References and Index included.
Keywords: Psychotherapy, Patient Perspectives, Autobiography