The place of the psychotherapist within the hierarchy of the medical profession and his status in the public opinion are ambiguous: many myths and ill-informed fears cloud the practice of psychotherapy—not the least of which is the thorny issue of doctor-patient relationships. In this finely etched book, Peter Lomas puts the case for a personal psychotherapeutic approach based on his work with patients over many years.
The Psychotherapy of Everyday Life argues that the response to a person who comes for help should be an intuitive one, not hidebound by confusing technical theory. Psychotherapy is best understood as the application of ordinary interpersonal competence within an unusual setting, and formulations about its nature should take this point into account as their starting point.
In his brilliant new introduction, the author juxtaposes the clinical neutrality of Sigmund Freud to the Saridor Ferenczi position, which entails a sense of the rights of and respect for the patient. Lomas holds that Freud initiated the setting but brought to bear upon it an unnecessary and inappropriate theoretical superstructure that now stands between therapist and patient. It is not ideology but everyday judgment that should be the touchstone of treatment. Rigid professional distance can blind the analyst to the actual needs of real people.
"Lomas is more honest and outspoken than I have ever known any psychotherapist to be in print."
—Charles Rycroft, New Society
"It must have taken an enormous amount of courage to write this book: it is indeed a personal account of Peter Lomas's approach to psychotherapy, and as such it is undefended by any of the conventional professional armor, which, in one form or another, most of us feel compelled to hide behind. There is not a trace of intellectual pretention, 'scientific' self-Justification or professional mystique. . . . The last word on psychotherapy will of course never be written, but by any other standards this is a very significant work."
—David Small, New Forum
"I recommend Dr. Lomas' book unreservedly. His account is honest, open, clear, and thought-provoking; the blend of clinical illustration and scholarship is highly attractive."
—Sidney Bloch, Mind Out
"Peter Lomas is concerned to meet the question. What does it mean to be natural in the psychotherapeutic session?' Lucidly and scrupulously he makes out a case against the rule-bound, technological model of therapy that, in different ways, tends to be adopted equally by psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and assorted psychotherapists."
—Rosemary Dinnage, T.L.S.
“This is one of the best discussions of psychotherapy that I have read. It is short, well-written and erudite without being pretentious. ... It is also a personal account written ... by someone who is willing to share his uncertainties as well as state the beliefs which sustain his in his work."
—Graham Rooth, Marriage Guidance
"Reading this book will make you want to have, as well as be, a therapist like Lomas."
—H. Auerbach, Contemporary Psychology
About the Author
Peter Lomas has worked in general practice, neurosurgery, and psychiatry before training at the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London. Since that time he has practiced in child and family psychotherapy in the Health Service and independently with adults as a psychotherapist. He is the author of The Limits of Interpretation and Cultivating Intuition and the Transaction titles True and False Experience and The Psychotherapy of Everyday Life. He has also edited The Predicament of the Family.