The Muse as Therapist: A New Poetic Paradigm for Psychotherapy

Author(s) : Heward Wilkinson

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

The Muse as Therapist: A New Poetic Paradigm for Psychotherapy

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : 2009
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 290
  • Category :
    Individual Psychotherapy
  • Catalogue No : 25803
  • ISBN 13 : 9781855755956
  • ISBN 10 : 1855755955
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In recent years there has been a cautious movement towards seeing psychotherapy and counselling as arts not as sciences. In this rich, yet rigorous, multidisciplinary text, this movement is explored in terms of poetry; therapy; dreams; literary texts; Heideggerian, Kantian, and post-modern philosophy; the modern developmental theorising of Daniel Stern; and the politics of psychotherapy regulation. This path-breaking book offers a grounded challenge to reductive visions of the therapy process.

Reviews and Endorsements

'Heward Wilkinson's long-awaited book offers a feast of fascinating reading. It is so rare to find a book as equally at home with poetry and philosophy as with psychotherapy. His concept of "enactment" will challenge psychotherapists and analysts for years to come. He indulges my hobby-horses, even integrating into psychotherapy original thinking on Kant and Heidegger themselves. And, even if one still believes Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare, one cannot read his chapter on King Lear and the authorship question without seeing Shakespeare with fresh eyes.'
- James S. Grotstein, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

'In his beautifully argued thesis that "poetry is therapy and therapy is poetry", Wilkinson develops the "poetic paradigm" as a basis for understanding the infinite creativity and wisdom of the psyche, challenging the "objecthood paradigm" and "over-technical views" of the person. His methodology interweaves literary-critical and literary-psychotherapeutic enquiry, philosophical learning and psychotherapeutic theorising, mirroring the cross-connective character of both poetry and therapy.

'The paradigm of poetry, he argues, parallels an approach to psychotherapy that offers an experience of acceptance, grace and self-healing, rather than remedial 'fixing'. This is an inspiring and erudite text that finds a language to transcend the fundamentalist dogmatism that can cripple our profession. It provides sound support for us to trust the mystery and wonder of the unknown in the psychotherapeutic endeavour. I thoroughly recommend it.'
- Tricia Scott, UKCP-Fellow, MAHPP, author of "Integrative Psychotherapy in Healthcare: A Humanistic Approach"

'Wilkinson shares his bounding enthusiasm for the language of the soul, his immense capacity for the muse's delights with us, and is to be thanked for this fantastic effort'
- Theodor Itten, The International Journal of Psychotherapy

About the Author(s)

Howard Wilkinson, BA (Cantab), MA, M Psych, is a fellow of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, currently Chair of its Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy Section, with a literary and theological background, out of which thinking in The Muse as Therapist originated. He is also a founding co-director of Scarborough Psychotherapy Training Institute, a member of the UKCP, and was senior editor of the International Journal of Psychotherapy and the journal of the European Association for Psychotherapy.

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