Nourishing the Inner Life of Clinicians and Humanitarians: The Ethical Turn in Psychoanalysis, demonstrates the demanding, clinical and humanitarian work that psychotherapists often undertake with fragile and devastated people, those degraded by violence and discrimination. In spite of this, Donna M. Orange argues that there is more to human nature than a relentlessly negative view. Drawing on psychoanalytic and philosophical resources, as well as stories from history and literature, she explores ethical narratives that ground hope in human goodness and shows how these voices, personal to each analyst, can become sources of courage, warning and support, of prophetic challenge and humility which can inform and guide their work. Over the course of a lifetime, the sources change, with new ones emerging into importance, others receding into the background.
Donna Orange uses examples from ancient Rome (Marcus Aurelius), from twentieth century Europe (Primo Levi, Emmanuel Levinas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer), from South Africa (Nelson Mandela), and from nineteenth century Russia (Fyodor Dostoevsky). She shows how not only can their words and examples, like those of our personal mentors, inspire and warn us; but they also show us the daily discipline of spiritual self-care, although these examples rely heavily on the discipline of spiritual reading, other practitioners will find inspiration in music, visual arts, or elsewhere and replenish the resources regularly.
Nourishing the Inner Life of Clinicians and Humanitarians will help psychoanalysts to develop a language with which to converse about ethics and the responsibility of the therapist/analyst. This is an exceptional contribution highly suitable for practitioners and students of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.
Donna M. Orange teaches, consults, and offers study groups for psychoanalysts and gestalt therapists. She seeks to integrate contemporary psychoanalysis with radically relational ethics. Recent books are Thinking for Clinicians: Philosophical Resources for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and the Humanistic Psychotherapies (2010), and The Suffering Stranger: Hermeneutics for Everyday Clinical Practice (2011), both from Routledge.
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