When Hurt Remains: Relational Perspectives on Therapeutic Failure




In this book the editors have solicited the unique and unmediated voices of fifteen leading psychotherapists, who share intimate and revealing stories from their clinic of professional incidents that shook the therapeutic bond and left a scar in both parties. The contributors courageously agreed to revisit the cases that still burn inside of them, attempting to conceptualise these and give them words, and to demonstrate the mutual vulnerability inherent within the psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic endeavour.

While failure is recognised as developmentally necessary and a cornerstone in the formation and maintenance of attachment relationships, stories of therapeutic failures are seldom told in our profession. Can we fully recognise our failures without shaming ourselves and others? Can we bear it while attending to our narcissistic wounds and rescue fantasy? This book addresses all of these concerns, while examining what relational theory and practice has to contribute to the understanding of, and working with, therapeutic failure.
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