Fictional Clinical Narratives in Relational Psychoanalysis
Stories from Adolescence to the Consulting Room
Fictional Clinical Narratives in Relational Psychoanalysis explores the therapeutic space between the patient and therapist in psychoanalysis and the transformative effect of the therapeutic relationship through a collection of twenty-two short stories beginning at a moment of trauma in adolescence. Christina Moutsou illustrates both contemporary clinical issues as well as the relational and intersubjective nature of the therapy relationship.
First, six teenagers narrate in the first person their experience of battling with sexual abuse, eating disorder, body image, the first sexual awakening, loss of a parent and the intricacies of teenage friendship. The stories then unravel years later as adults in the consulting rooms of Ellie and Jake, two middle-aged therapists working in London. The reader is offered an intimate look at how the therapists work through their personal losses and past wounds, while facing their patients’ conflicts and dilemmas including adoption, bereavement, pregnancy loss, lack of intimacy in the couple relationship and a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.
What distinguishes this collection of fictional clinical narratives is the focus on an internal point of view, where the reader is invited to experience first-hand the tribulations of the psychoanalytic dialogue and the enduring marks that trauma and loss leave on each member of the therapeutic dyad. The focus here is on how narratives are constructed and deconstructed through the intersubjective dance between the therapist and the patient. Both are transformed in the process. The fictional nature of the stories also allows for the exploration of sensitive issues that are difficult or awkward to explore adequately using direct case studies from real-life examples.
This fascinating and unusual work provides an innovative method of exploring everyday clinical dilemmas, using an accessible, easy to follow narrative path. It is written from a broadly relational perspective but will appeal to all psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists.
Table of Contents
Part 1: A moment in my teenage years
On the Beach
The ham and cheese sandwich
London in August or Serendipity
Part 2: Ellie
At arm’s length
Lost love and how to find it
Part 3: Jake
The crumpled coat
Three in bed
Part 4: Ellie and Jake
On losing and not being lost
Christina Moutsou is a social anthropologist and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist working in private practice in London, UK. She is co-editor of The Mother in Psychoanalysis and Beyond (with Rosalind Mayo, Routledge, 2016) and the author of a psychological novel Black Cake published in Greek (Archetypo, 2018). She is a visiting lecturer at Regent’s University.
"Christina Moutsou has written an extremely beautiful collection of tender and poignant stories – often quite chilling, and always quite moving – which reveal not only the challenges of human development but, also, the opportunity to explore those challenges within the confidential context of the psychoanalytical consulting room. A work of great creativity and enlightenment, composed in a compelling literary style, I recommend these unique stories most warmly."-Professor Brett Kahr, Senior Fellow, Tavistock Relationships, Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, London, and Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Psychotherapy and Mental Health, Centre for Child Mental Health, London
"Christna Moutsou calls upon her considerable experience and expertise as a psychotherapist to combine beautifully the art of relational psychoanalysis with that of story telling in her exciting new book. She demonstrates her sensitivity and sensibility to both in revealing lucid insights into the clinical encounter in an engaging and gripping way. This is a wonderful read not only for counsellors, therapists and psychoanalysts but also for anyone curious about the nature of human relationship. I commend it highly."-Martin Schmidt, MBPsS, Jungian Training Analyst, Honorary Secretary and Regional Organiser for Central Europe of The International Association of Analytical Psychology
"We seem to live in a world that no longer preserves confidentiality. It’s as if all the secrets are out, everybody bears all. The person of the psychotherapist, however, seems to have stubbornly resisted today’s bear-all culture. The person of the psychotherapist may be one of the few personages that still evoke wonder and mystery. They either appear as mind-readers, criminally sane, or crazier than the rest of us. It’s hard to see them as just human. But of course we are human and we get into this "impossible profession" because of our own experiences and our own psychological and emotional characters. In a series of short stories, Christina Moutsou parts the veil to internal psychological experience in a new and intriguing way. We learn about the wounds that bring clients to therapy from their own mouths, before hearing how these clients affect their therapists. In Clinical Fictional Narratives in Relational Psychoanalysis we don’t just go into the patient’s world, we go deep into the therapist’s experience and learn just how human and wounded they are too. Dr. Moutsou’s work is humanising, normalising, and compassionate. A must-read for clinicians and non-clinicians alike, ultimately proclaiming that at the very core, we’re all human, because we’re all wounded somehow."-Aaron Balick, PhD, psychotherapist, supervisor and author of The Little Book of Calm: Tame your anxieties, face your fears, and live free
"These are thoughtful, intelligent stories based mainly on exchanges in a therapeutic relationship. Christina writes eloquently and insightfully and I was gripped throughout."-Maggie Hamand, author of The Resurrection of the Body and Creative Writing For Dummies