Jungian Analyst Deborah Reider Bazes’ review of I’m Working On It In Therapy
Following are excerpts from Deborah Reider Bazes’ review of “I’m Working on it in Therapy: How to Get the Most out of Psychotherapy.”
“What Trosclair adds to the literature is a clear companion guide to the process of psychodynamic psychotherapy, written primarily for the general public. Speaking directly to his readers, he addresses not only what makes therapy work and why it’s worth the effort, but, most importantly, he offers ten detailed and highly differentiated “tools” which elaborate the how of “working on it” in therapy.”
“[O]ne of the great strengths of this book is its accessibility. The ability to bridge the distance between complex psychological concepts and the common-sense understanding of “ordinary people” is no small accomplishment. But this is what Trosclair succeeds at over and over again in the course of this book. Through the use of humor, cartoons and homely metaphors, he may charm even his most skeptical readers.”
“The author takes on a number of common complaints and stereotypes about psychodynamic therapy portrayed in the media–such as its being an endless, passive blame-game—or, the opposite, a series of dramatic, therapist-inspired breakthroughs–and answers them with alternative stories about the sources of growth and change from myth, fairy tale, literature, film, case vignettes, and research studies. Nowhere does he minimize the hard work and personal sacrifice necessary to the work: ‘Therapy is a heroic venture that requires both initiative and receptivity, neither of which is easy. The very nature of the work requires us to go to the places that scare us most, and it can feel incredibly difficult at times to remain open and persevere’”.
“Trosclair’s approach manages to express compassion for those King-egos who fear exposure and feelings of dependency, while gently emphasizing the value of entering into this work.”
“While the value of depth-oriented theories and techniques is emphasized throughout, Trosclair does not hesitate to incorporate methods used in CBT, Focusing, Body Awareness, and Narrative Psychology, among others, if he finds them useful to his task. Although he quotes relatively infrequently from Jung compared to his many sources, Jungian theory is clearly at the heart of his thinking–whether it be the innate drive towards individuation; the synthetic/constructive approach; the teleological goal of symptoms; the de-pathologizing of psychic phenomena; the natural dissociability of the psyche; the continuous work of incorporating the shadow; the channeling of libido; the natural healing function of the dream; the striving towards wholeness rather than perfection; or the ultimate goal of the work as the establishment of an ongoing dialogue between the ego and deeper layers of the psyche.”
“While succeeding at his intention to “demystify the client’s role in psychotherapy” (p. ix), Trosclair’s work is full of subtleties and differentiated thinking. He does a fine job of incorporating many opposites and contradictions into his text, including the limitations, under certain conditions, of any given tool or theory…. By maintaining multiple viewpoints, Trosclair constantly reminds the reader of the individual nature of the journey: what is medicine for one may be poison for another. He begins with the “paradox right at the heart of psychotherapy”—and, interestingly, the paradox at the heart of this book—that “working too hard to be a ‘good’ client will limit what you get out of [the process]” (p. 2). ”
“At the same time as he emphasizes the value of “working on it,” Trosclair encourages what he seems to posit as its opposite—the need to allow for the “flow of imagination,” rather than to hammer away at symptom relief.”
“[J]ust when one might begin to balk at an over-reliance on “ego work,” Trosclair–like an experienced psychodynamic therapist in session–utilizes methods that penetrate to the feeling level and even to the unconscious of his readers.”
“Trosclair’s tenth and most important tool—developing an attitude of willingness to enter into the fires of transformation in the service of growth–draws upon myth and spiritual traditions in addition to empirically supported psychological theories on the development of resilience. … Building resilience and finding meaning–through suffering not only the large, but also the small, incremental challenges which we face in therapy as in daily life–is the process which Trosclair calls (and which might have been the subtitle of this book) ‘everyday alchemy.'”
Deborah Reider Bazes, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., L.P., is a graduate and faculty member of the C G. Jung Institute of New York and a Jungian Analyst in private practice in Manhattan and Katonah, NY.
Copyright 2015 by The C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, Inc.
The entire review may be found at http://www.cgjungny.org/quadrant.html.