Mother Tongue and Other Tongues: Narratives in Multilingual Psychotherapy

Editor : Ali Zarbafi, Editor : Shula Wilson

Mother Tongue and Other Tongues: Narratives in Multilingual Psychotherapy

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : 2021
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 160
  • Category :
    Individual Psychotherapy
  • Catalogue No : 95468
  • ISBN 13 : 9781912691852
  • ISBN 10 : 9781912691

Reviews and Endorsements

In old Vienna, Sigmund Freud treated his very first patients, all of whom lived nearby, in his native German tongue. But, today, psychotherapy has become a far more globally diversified practice, both culturally and linguistically, posing many challenges and opportunities. In this wonderfully rich and readable book, Ali Zarbafi and Shula Wilson have assembled a magnificent collection of colleagues from Canada, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Japan, the United States of America, and Zimbabwe, to examine the nature of multilingual psychotherapy from the perspective of both the patient and the clinician. I devoured this book in one sitting and I recommend it very highly indeed.
Professor Brett Kahr, Senior Fellow, Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, London, and Visiting Professor of Psychoanalysis and Mental Health, Regent’s University London

‘Speaking a language is an emotional experience,’ states Ali Zarbafi at the beginning of this book. Speaking multiple languages is increasingly the norm across the world. So why has the multilingual experience been left in the shadows of psychotherapy practice for so long? Mother Tongue and Other Tongues, edited by Ali Zarbafi and Shula Wilson, boldly and truthfully examines the profoundly important, although neglected, experience of the multilingual client in psychotherapy theory and practice. The book is a collection of chapters (developed from the Burgh House lectures) written by practising multilingual psychotherapists. These chapters make the compelling case that we experience the world differently according to the languages we speak or hear throughout our lives. Each beautifully written chapter starts with the author’s autobiographical narrative, interwoven with case vignettes and examples from theory, novels, poetry, and music. The themes of identity, home, displacement and exile, dreams, mother tongues and father tongues, loss, attachment, transgenerational gifting or withholding of languages, intimacy, emotional engagement and distance and the processing of trauma – are all considered through the multilingual frame. Each chapter is a story in its own right. The book is written in English which is the mother tongue of only a few of the contributors. Perhaps for that reason the writing is so compelling – each word chosen with care and respect for the inherent power of language. Each page is saturated with the truth of the experiences shared and reflected upon by the authors. Mother Tongue and Other Tongues takes the reader deep into the multilingual experience. It shows us that if we ignore the multilingual emotional experiences of our clients, we do not really see them. This book makes a powerful case for the multilingual experience to be incorporated into contemporary psychotherapy thinking and practice.
Dr Beverley Costa, DPsych, UKCP-approved supervisor, MBACP, Senior Practitioner Fellow, Birkbeck, University of London , Director, the Pásalo Project

This is an exciting and topical book, written with great elegance, that demands to be read. Ali Zarbafi and Shula Wilson have edited a series of moving and thoughtful chapters, written by authors, all psychotherapists, exploring what it is like to speak and work in a second language that is not their mother tongue. The authors’ personal experiences of exile, dislocation, and then adaptation into a new culture will be an invaluable resource for those working with or living alongside people from other cultures and how to communicate with them.
Jan Wiener, Training Analyst and Supervisor, Society of Analytical Psychology, London

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