The Art of Psychotherapy and the Liberation of the Therapist is an academic work by Dr. Len Bergantino, Ed.D., Ph.D. This book educates the reader on psychotherapy and shows how it has progressed throughout the career of Dr. Bergantino as well as the work of many other experts whose work he has carefully studied and evaluated, and the experiences and views of the patients.
At the beginning of the book Dr. Bergantino points out that on the cover of his book is a picture of the American Revolutionary War hero Patrick Henry who was noted for his famous quote “Give me liberty or give me death.” Dr. Bergantino explains that the only way to see progress in psychotherapy is if both the psychiatrist and the patient are completely liberated from everything around them and are entirely open and honest in the work that they are doing, and that is the approach he tried to use throughout his career.
This enlightening book is divided into two parts, with part two being a continuation and deeper dive into the topics in part one. This work covers topics from the existential moment, working with children, the holistic approach to psychotherapy, narcissism, couples therapy, schizophrenia, clinical psychology, and more. It also includes experts such as Freud, Whitaker, Frankl, and others. The book is filled with stories from Dr. Bergantino’s career and shows readers how he handled situations with different patients such as a very tall, overweight man who carried a knife with him which made for a very unpleasant, unsafe, and stressful work environment, or a recent widower who was left alone with his young children, and many more.
A key term in this book is ‘existential moment’ which is defined as a full sense of being between patient and therapist. Those two human beings are capable of experiencing the focus of the moment, as it is applied to therapy. It deals with authenticity and the vulnerability that comes from two people facing each other as equals. Readers will also be met with the question that Shakespeare asked so many years ago, “To be or not to be?” The book explores how we interpret that question in our own lives, along with psychotherapy, and more interesting topics readers otherwise may not have thought about.
The Art Of Psychotherapy and the Liberation of the Therapist is an informative and thought-provoking book that I would recommend to readers looking for a compelling memoir or an edifying book on the topic of psychotherapy. This book takes an incredible dive into the world of psychotherapy and will appeal to practitioners, psychologists, or students in the psychotherapy field, as well as patients who want to learn more about psychotherapy.
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