Communicative Exchange, Psychotherapy and the Resonant Self : Roads to Realization book cover
1st Edition

Communicative Exchange, Psychotherapy and the Resonant Self
Roads to Realization

ISBN 9780367196530
Published July 13, 2020 by Routledge
226 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In Communicative Exchange, Psychotherapy and the Resonant Self, Anthony Korner demonstrates how important communication and resonance are to the development of a sense of self. This process of realization is embedded in social relatedness and is intrinsically tied to language.

Uniquely presenting a collaborative approach to research, this book illuminates the potential for change that lies in therapy that engages both heart and mind between patient and therapist, as well as demonstrating how language and relating are fundamental to psychotherapy. Korner explains how language engenders growth through communicative processes that shape lives and personality. Korner helps the reader see how communicative exchanges can be transformative. Brimmed with emotive clinical material, literary illustrations and reports of first-hand life experience, Korner demonstrates how the combination of knowledge and evocation of feeling in human connection is central to psychotherapeutic process.

An intersubjective approach to research is put forward as exemplar of how the minds of both patient and therapist might be employed in furthering understanding of psychotherapeutic process. This book will be an essential resource for mental health clinicians involved in psychodynamic psychotherapy, as well as more generally to people interested in understanding human connections.

Table of Contents

Preface;  1. Cry and Response;  2. Living Language and the Resonant Self;  3. Heart and Soul: The Feeling Body;  4. Making Meaning Together: The Realization of Value;  5. Two Minds Better Than One: An Intersubjective Approach to Research;  6. Becoming Who We Are: Personal Realization;  7. The Long Conversation;  References;  Index

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Anthony Korner, PhD, is a clinical senior lecturer in psychiatry at Westmead Clinical School, University of Sydney. He lives with his wife in Sydney and has worked as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist for over 30 years. He has also completed a PhD in linguistics. He has interests in theatre, music, philosophy and time with family.


"Dr Korner’s work represents a profound language-centred movement in psychotherapy. It is an examination of language at the core of our most vulnerable human characteristic: the cohesion of self, or the co-ordination of competing ‘selves’. Building on the tradition from Hughlings Jackson, Janet, and James, through to today – in the Conversational Model of Meares and Hobson – Korner investigates the development of the self as extensions of a personal, historical, and evolutionary continuum. Language here encompasses the web of latent patterns in communication by which the metaphors and more general choices we make reconnect patients with the quickened core of life’s positive narratives. In the uncovering of such personal value, meaning potential opens out, even in painful cases of Personality Disorder." –  David G. Butt, Associate Professor, Linguistics Department, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

"This book is a must read if you are interested in human relationships, what it means to be human and how psychotherapy can help people in distress. The fundamental basis of the book is that humans develop through interactions with others, symbolised by the very earliest form of communication, the human cry.

Modern psychological treatments have tended to regard humans as isolates, separate, contained organisms, who regulate emotions via internal thought processes, without much reference to the outside world. Korner is an advocate of the Conversational Model of Therapy, which views self, as arising from a matrix of mutual relations with key others, starting at birth and continuing throughout life. The therapy, as it name implies, pays close attention to language and how meaningful contact and communication is shared between people.

The main chapters of the book focus on ‘living language’, ‘the feeling body’, and ‘making meaning ‘. Korner seamlessly weaves discussions on language, philosophy and human development to explain the human condition, and the central importance of feeling. In the final chapter, ‘The Long Conversation’ he addresses the impact of trauma on the developing person and draws upon examples from human civilization to argue how this can be addressed both in therapy and in day to day life. He uses the example of ‘The Dreaming’– the Indigenous People’s of Australia understanding of the world, it’s creation and how life should be lived – to offer a model of healing and unity for individuals and society.

This is a deeply thought-provoking book, which mixes theory and clinical material in a stimulating and, at times, entrancing way. It is a wonderful addition to our current understanding of how therapies work and can be read by therapists, clients and anyone who is interested in the human psyche." –  Professor Elspeth Guthrie, Professor of Psychological Medicine, University of Leeds, UK

"Anthony Korner is a doctor who appreciates the life story of each patient who seeks his care. He attends to their unique experiences of illness with pain, with acceptance for the sense of shame that goes with admission to others of being unwell. He knows that speaking about these personal experiences gives them meaning to be shared, and a chance of help with mutual understanding. His book is a story of stories, a telling of how life has been negotiated and what it needs from sympathetic listening of family and other kind friends, including those educated in the science of bodily wellbeing and emotional health." – Colwyn Trevarthen, Professor (Emeritus) of Child Psychology and Psychobiology, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

"This beautifully written book develops the newly emergent idea that the central experience of living we call self comes into being in the context of a particular kind of therapeutic conversation. The author highlights the integration of language and feeling as the basis of this creation. The book shows the reader how communicative exchanges can be transformative. These exchanges are embodied. The author’s argument is supported by research data concerning the timings of language and breathing. This book is an important contribution to a further understanding of therapeutic action." – Emeritus Professor Russell Meares, University of Sydney, Australia

"In this intellectually rich and clinically relevant volume, Dr Korner provides a new understanding of how psychotherapy provides an opportunity for the client to reframe and integrate feelings into a powerful personal narrative of optimism. We learn that language, as a mental structure, frames meaning and helps form the boundary of mental activities that we experience as the self. But most importantly, we are reminded that our biology limits our capacity to experience the positive attributes of being a human and that the expression of these positive features through psychotherapy is predicated on our ability to feel safe, which is dependent on opportunities to regulate our physiological state via reciprocal social interactions." – Stephen W. Porges, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, USA; Distinguished University Scientist, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, USA