Shakespeare on the Couch

Author(s) : Michael Jacobs

Part of The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy Series - more in this series

Shakespeare on the Couch

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : 2008
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 162
  • Category :
    Culture and Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 25366
  • ISBN 13 : 9781855754546
  • ISBN 10 : 1855754541
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Drawing upon a vast literature in psychoanalytic journals and either upon Shakespeare's characters themselves or alluding to those characters in the course of other topics, this book discusses eight of Shakespeare's plays and the relationships between the main characters in them.

Psychoanalytic and literary approaches sometimes diverge, but they can also concur in seeing characters either as true examples of different psychological states and types of relating or as symbolic of aspects of the personality. The chapters contain many references to psychoanalytic interpretations from Freud onwards, although these cannot be proved, and in some cases are over-stretched, there will be times when psychoanalytic criticism 'rings bells' in the reader.

The importance of this book lies in its drawing together from a large number of disparate sources, many of which will be inaccessible to those who do not have access to the journals or psychoanalytic databases. It is nonetheless relevant for counsellors and therapists, as well as for those interested in literature, particularly in Shakespearean studies. It is written for the thinking lay reader, and does not blind the ordinary reader with psychoanalytic terminology and concepts. Readers who are therapists may gain some insights into aspects of some of their clients; everyone should be encouraged through these ideas and theories to muse upon aspects of his or her own personality, thoughts, fantasies and behaviours.

Reviews and Endorsements

'Another creative triumph from Michael Jacobs! You will discover as much about yourself as you do about Shakespeare's characters. There's a compassion for human frailties in these pages plus a demand that we all - not just therapists - shape up. In struggling to hold these two opposite positions, Jacobs reveals himself as a true Shakespearean - and the Bard's similar struggle is a model for today's psychotherapists and counsellors.'
- Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex

'Already reknowned for books that make psychodynamic thinking highly accessible, Michael Jacobs now offers an original approach to Shakespeare's stories and characters - making them more authentically psychological than ever. Such an analysis has been attempted before, but never in such a down-to-earth, readable fashion. Jacobs knows his Shakespeare and he knows psychodynamic psychotherapy from years of experience. So many of us - whether we are exploring Shakespeare, human psychology and therapy, or the interface between art and the mind - will all benefit from reading this fascinating work.'
- Christopher Hauke, Psychotherapist, Goldsmiths College, University of London, Author of Jung and Film: Post-Jungian Takes on the Moving Image and Human Being Human: Culture and the Soul

About the Author(s)

Michael Jacobs is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Health and Community Studies, Bournemouth University, and in independent practice in Swanage, Dorset, where he supervises counsellors, sees clients and continues to write and edit. He was, prior to retirement, Director of the Counselling and Psychotherapy programme at the University of Leicester for fifteen years, and prior to that a therapist in the Student Health Service at the same University for twelve years. His books on psychodynamic counselling and therapy are used as key texts on many training courses - notably The Presenting Past, Psychodynamic Counselling in Action and Still Small Voice. Other recent publications include The Therapist's Use of Self (written with John Rowan) and Supervision: Questions and Answers for Counsellors and Therapists (co-written with his wife, Moira Walker).

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What Shakespeare Teaches Us About Psychoanalysis: A Local Habitation and a Name

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