The Therapeutic Narrative

Overview

How do people change? Longing for personal growth and transformation is a central theme of our times. Psychotherapy seeks to change the dynamics behind people's symptoms and conflicts. Writers, too, are fascinated by this theme, and have explored it frequently in their stories and characters. In this book, Barbara and Richard Almond, both psychoanalysts, explore a variety of novels that describe internal, personal change. They discover that there are fascinating parallels between the processes that lead to change...

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Overview

How do people change? Longing for personal growth and transformation is a central theme of our times. Psychotherapy seeks to change the dynamics behind people's symptoms and conflicts. Writers, too, are fascinated by this theme, and have explored it frequently in their stories and characters. In this book, Barbara and Richard Almond, both psychoanalysts, explore a variety of novels that describe internal, personal change. They discover that there are fascinating parallels between the processes that lead to change in literary characters and the mechanisms observed in psychotherapeutic change.

From Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice to Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden to Anne Tyler's IThe Accidental Tourist, the plot begins with a character struggling with personality limitations. A new person appears in the story; a bond is formed with the central character. In the relationship that follows, the two struggle. Confrontational and loving interactions lead the protagonist through a process of gradual change. The authors delineate a therapeutic narrative: the plot of change in both psychotherapy and literature. By comparing a variety of novels, they elaborate the elements of this therapeutic narrative and draw provocative conclusions about the mechanisms of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Argues that the therapeutic narrative exists in both psychotherapy and literature, and concludes that we read, write, and talk to heal. Chapters include "Pride and Prejudice": Jane Austen's foreshadowing of psychoanalytic process; "Jane Eyre": mastering passion and guilt through mutual influence; Margaret Drabble's "The Needle's Eye": a depressive neurosis is healed in a spontaneous relationship; "The Accidental Tourist": traumatic loss and pathological grief respond to "accidental therapy"; and "Heidi": the innocence of a child as a therapeutic force. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275953621
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/30/1996
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

BARBARA ALMOND is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University Medical Center.

RICHARD ALMOND is a member of the faculty at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute and is Clincial Professor of Psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 Pride and Prejudice: Jane Austen's Poreshadowing of Psychoanalytic Process 23
3 Jane Eyre: Mastering Passion and Guilt through Mutual Influence 43
4 Margaret Drabble's The Needle's Eye: A Depressive Neurosis Is Healed in a Spontaneous Relationship 63
5 The Accidental Tourist: Traumatic Loss and Pathological Grief Respond to "Accidental Therapy" 77
6 Silas Marner (George Eliot): Chronic Depression Resolves in a Complexly Layered Therapeutic Process 93
7 Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden: Multiple Cures, Multiple Processes of Cure 107
8 Heidi (Johanna Spyri): The Innocence of the Child as a Therapeutic Force 125
9 The Magus (John Fowles): A Literary Psychodrama 131
10 The House of Mirth (Edith Wharton): Tragedy - The Failure of a Relationship to Transform 149
11 Conclusion: We Read, We Write, We Talk to Heal 169
Notes 187
Selected Bibliography 195
Index 201
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