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In 2000, Shay Joseph and Wheelis Joan co-edited the book “Odysseys of Psychotherapy.” This book offers a set of 18 essays by leading psychotherapists representing diverse disciplines and programs in London and the United States. The book consists of personal descriptions of the psychotherapists’ evolution, about preliminary family upbringing, and the pursuit of the psychotherapy profession, as well as their initial training and mentors. The book also depicts the moments in their career paths and the encounter, which inspired them to change or modify the beliefs in which they were first nurtured.
Shay and Wheelis argue that the fundamental metaphor of the book is the fact that the change processes in the field are reproduced in the changed process themselves in exceptional and thoughtful psychological counselors (2000, p. 7). Nevertheless, they proceed to say that senior psychotherapists do not reproduce all the perspectives. Shay and Wheelis hope that their selection is wide and sufficient to elucidate a leading force of the volume that, a broad set of therapists has common critical conclusions yet they differ broadly from each other.
Certain contributors expose rather outspoken anecdotes of their respective personal family history, rearing, and encounters that drove them to consider the discipline of psychotherapy and psychiatry as their career paths. Also, the majority of the participants commenced their professional career paths guided by, and maintained, a fundamental psychoanalytic view on the conventional imposing paradigms of psychopathology.
Nevertheless, virtually all the contributors discovered that, in their clinical encounters, this conventional model was not often effective in addressing many of the cases they encountered in practice. Consequently, most of the psychotherapists experienced a drift from theory and technique towards a more dynamic, interactional, and interpersonal two-people psychological perspective method of therapy. In this light, they demonstrated how unique life events and circumstances influenced their judgment and approach to psychotic patients in their intervention practice.
Further, the authors underscore the influence of the contributors’ mentors on their philosophical and practical work. The majority of them attribute their change in understanding, to certain personalities or groups, including the realization that ensued during the interaction process between the mentor and their retrospective client.
Apart from the main text of the body, the authors write two chapters of their own, at the start and end of the book. They summarize the vital substance of the book and the psychotherapist involved. They underscore how the theory and approaches of psychotherapy were developing. The past psychotherapy models and events are currently the baseline from which prospective improvement, alterations, and evolution will happen.
Shay and Wheelis wrote a captivating and diversified set of essays and encounters of psychotherapies derived in the immediate post-WWII period of customary psychoanalytic models, and who concurrently diverged in their practical approaches driven by their clinical experience and incorporated with the judgment of their mentors. Hence, it reflects the varied theoretical and practical paradigm presented to the growing psychotherapist and the challenges of distinguishing individual theoretical understanding and intervention from the preliminary psychological, interpersonal, and educational experiences of a person taking up a therapist role.
Reading this set of essays teaches a historical view of the evolution and alterations of psychotherapeutic approaches other than the standard paradigm of classical psychoanalysis, and its relevance to the diversified range of clients presenting with psychological disorders for help and treatment. Its diversity and the captivating vignettes given, explaining such evolutionary alterations is significant; moreover, trainees and professionals alike can easily read and understand them.
Shay, J., & Wheelis, J. (Eds.). (2000). Odysseys in Psychotherapy. New York: Ardent Media Inc.