A Healing Relationship is about a relationally focused psychotherapy, how the author works, and why. The first couple of chapters provide a brief orientation to relationally focused aspects of an integrative psychotherapy. The heart of the book are the transaction-by-transaction examples of what actually occurred in the psychotherapeutic dialogue. It is composed of three verbatim transcripts along with annotations about what the author was thinking and feeling when he engaged in psychotherapy with each client. Many of the annotated comments as well as the actual therapeutic dialogue will describe some elements of the process of relationally focused psychotherapy and the reasoning behind his therapeutic comments, silences, and challenge.
This book is intended to elicit a dialogue between the reader and the psychotherapist / author and is written as though a personal letter. Psychotherapy is such an interpersonal encounter an intimate meeting of two souls. No two psychotherapists will ever do the same therapy, even with the same client, even if they use the same theory and methods. It is important to appreciate how each think about theories, the concepts that underlie the methods chosen, how each assess the therapeutic setting, and express personal temperament.
Richard G. Erskine has taken an important step in communication about the practice of psychotherapy. Not only with this excellent book but also with video footage of the three therapy sessions, which will be made accessible to purchasers of the book. The overarching aim is to stimulate important conversations between colleagues; to both agree and disagree, to influence each other, to grow professionally, and to share knowledge.