The whole point of this, our second last issue of Inside Out, is to express the clear message that involvement in psychotherapy is a process of both gain and loss, no matter what kind of humanistic therapy is practised. All of our contributors have looked at this from different standpoints. Loss in therapy is not talked about very much, especially in current thinking where instant counselling is offered, often within hours, to the survivors of train crashes on the one hand and to victims of institutional abuse on the other, as if it were a ‘catch-all’ mechanism for healing.
As an extreme example, for many of those who suffered in institutions one of the greatest losses in coming into therapy is having to let go of the deeply-held belief that they were ‘lucky’ to have been looked after by their persecutors. To have to acknowledge the wrong that was done to them has, in some cases, caused more hurt than healing.
The notion of help at all, of course, may be suspect because it infers a helplessness on the part of the client. This is not a therapeutic stance. The role of the therapist is not to give something to another person as in a charitable act. His or her purpose is to create a real, profound, meaningful dialogue between therapist and client. To achieve this and to relate therapeutically at these levels is difficult for both client and therapist. And because of this, gains in psychotherapy are not necessarily quick to come by, but they are abiding and represent real change which is brought about by finding and creating a real relationship. In many ways, the very expression of freedom is close to that of loss in quite a deep and puzzling way.
The Winter issue of Inside Out will be our last and will look at the Future of Psychotherapy. All copy must be received by the editorial committee by Friday 5 November.
We intend to publish a book which will be a collection of what we consider to be the most significant articles of the past ten years. This will be launched at the meeting of the European Association of Psychotherapy which is being held in Dublin in June 2000. Further information will be given in the Winter issue.