A Humane Vision of Clinical Psychology, Volume 1: The Theoretical Basis for a Compassionate Psychotherapy

Author(s) : Robert A. Graceffo

A Humane Vision of Clinical Psychology, Volume 1: The Theoretical Basis for a Compassionate Psychotherapy

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : August 2022
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 264
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
    Clinical Psychology
  • Catalogue No : 96701
  • ISBN 13 : 9781032259925
  • ISBN 10 : 9781032259

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The primary purpose of psychotherapy is to improve a patient’s subjective experience. A Humane Vision of Clinical Psychology, Volume I shows readers what this might really mean, how it can be achieved, and where prevailing views go wrong in achieving it.

It lays out an alternative idea of human suffering and human healing, one that deemphasizes constructs and prioritizes experience itself. Early chapters argue that helping people to "know new things" is the ultimate target of psychotherapeutic change, but that our field has not sufficiently reflected on the complications of this task. A theory is then offered, which suggests that the unthinkable aspects of human experience are responsible for the very ways in which we human beings think. It invites and outlines a serious reformulation of psychotherapy in which human cognition is not the seat but the beneficiary of human change.

This book will be valuable for therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other practitioners as well as graduate and undergraduate students in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy, mental health, social work, and philosophy. It will be of great interest for clinicians who find themselves disenchanted with the field’s current ethos, which is stilted by scientistic approaches to soothing the suffering of the other.

Reviews and Endorsements

A Humane Vision of Clinical Psychology is a remarkable book on several fronts. First it is humanely written. Graceffo takes pains to write crisply and eloquently about the need for a broader and deeper theoretical vision for clinical psychology but also and just as cogently about the challenges of his own life that led him to articulate this vision. Second, Graceffo identifies the "ocean" (or "more" as William James put it) that each person has access to but that so often gets covered over and reduced by mountains of cultural and sometimes even psychotherapeutic presumption. Third, Graceffo perceptively underscores love and kindness as underlying healing ingredients, almost regardless of the therapeutic technique applied. In the final analysis, this book makes a powerful case for ways of being with clients that alerts them to their own powers to deeply live--rather than merely exist or fit into categories peripheral to them. I highly recommend this book as a "clinician's desk reference."
- Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D., author of The Psychology of Existence (with Rollo May), Existential-Humanistic Therapy (with Orah Krug), Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy, and Awakening to Awe.

"In this book, Graceffo looks behind the constructs of modern psychological systems. Psychotherapy helps so many people, but the vocabulary and its techniques can seem reductive; psychological disciplines can appear mechanistic. How to prevent modern psychological understandings, helpful though they are, from becoming a barrier? This book examines the ways we are and experience situations. Through three case studies we hear how new things can be known about others and compassion can arise in surprising situations. What is a ‘problem’ and how do we decide it is one and what the outcome should be? Humility in how we know and about what we know, in the manner suggested by this book, would be very helpful for us all." - Sarah Shaw,/i>, PhD, Member of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, UK; Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies.

"It is easy to fall into the flow of current thinking about an array of issues, practices, and beliefs. When time (and effort) is used to reflect on the true essence of things, we can be reminded about what is vital and what is superfluous. Robert Graceffo eloquently reminds us that the philosophical and humanistic roots of psychotherapy are vital to its success. Without this perspective we face the possibility that psychotherapy, as we know it, will warp into another disembodied medical practice." - E. Wampold, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin - Madison. 

About the Author(s)

Robert A. Graceffo, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and a lecturer and supervisor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, USA.

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