On Learning from the Patient
Routledge – 2014 – 214 pages
On Learning from the Patient is concerned with the potential for psychoanalytic thinking to become self-perpetuating. Patrick Casement explores the dynamics of the helping relationship - learning to recognize how patients offer cues to the therapeutic experience that they are unconsciously in search of. Using many telling clinical examples, he illustrates how, through trial identification, he has learned to monitor the implications of his own contributions to a session from the viewpoint of the patient. He shows how, with the aid of this internal supervision, many initial failures to respond appropriately can be remedied and even used to the benefit of the therapeutic work. By learning to better distinguish what helps the therapeutic process from what hinders it, ways are discovered to avoid the circularity of pre-conception by analysts who aim to understand the unconscious of others. From this lively examination of key clinical issues, the author comes to see psychoanalytic therapy as a process of re-discovering theory - and developing a technique that is more specifically related to the individual patient.
The dynamics illustrated here, particularly the processes of interactive communication and containment, occur in any helping relationship and are applicable throughout the caring professions. Patrick Casement's unusually frank presentation of his own work, aided by his lucid and non-technical language, allows wide scope for readers to form their own ideas about the approach to technique he describes.
This Classic Edition includes a new introduction to the work by Andrew Samuels and together with its sequel Further Learning from the Patient, will be an invaluable training resource for trainee and practising analysts or therapists, and those teaching in related professions.
"Some of Casement’s observations are nothing short of brilliant." Social Work Today
"This book provides some moving insights into analytic technique at work. Free from jargon, it is accessible to anybody." The Economist
"Doctors, particularly general practitioners, are often chastised for failing to listen to or communicate properly with patients … Patrick Casement’s book could well serve as a compelling explanation of dynamic dialogue." The Lancet
"This is an excellent textbook. It is entertaining to read, and it conveys complex concepts in accessible and easy-to-read ways." International Journal of Psychoanalysis
"Casement’s two books (On Learning from the Patient and Further Learning from the Patient) will become classics in their field and deserve to be so. They should be required reading for every psychotherapist in training." Anthony Storr (from the first edition)
Samuels, Introduction. Williams, Foreword. Casement, Introduction. Preliminary Thoughts on Learning From the Patient. The Internal Supervisor. Internal Supervision: A Lapse and Recovery. Forms of Interactive Communication. Listening From an Interactional Viewpoint: A Clinical Presentation. Key Dynamics of Containment. Analytic Holding Under Pressure. Processes of Search and Discovery in the Therapeutic Experience. The Search for Space: An Issue of Boundaries. Theory Re-discovered. Appendix I Knowing and Not-knowing: Winnicott and Bion.Appendix II The Issues of Confidentiality and of Exposure by the Therapist.
Patrick Casement is a Fellow of the Institute of Psychoanalysis and a Member of the International Association of Psychoanalysis. He was formerly a training analyst of the British Psychoanalytical Society, having been in full-time private practice for many years, now retired. He is the author of numerous publications including Learning from Life (Routledge, 2006) and Learning from our Mistakes (Routledge, 2002).