Loving Kindness in Psychotherapy  book cover
1st Edition

Loving Kindness in Psychotherapy

  • Available for pre-order on April 21, 2023. Item will ship after May 12, 2023
ISBN 9781032200705
May 12, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

This book explores the way in which loving kindness, contained within professional boundaries of practice, is essential to the building of trust necessary to the psychotherapy relationship.

Arguing that loving kindness has both biological and ethical relevance in assisting recovery from the trauma of emotional injury, Heather Reeves brings forth a renewed philosophical and cultural discourse about its importance in professional work with vulnerable people. The philosophical premise of the book is the concept of alterity, or awareness of the subjective reality of others, developed by Emmanuel Levinas and expressed in psychotherapy theories since the mid-twentieth century. Understandings drawn from attachment theory, affective neuroscience and psychodynamic psychotherapy are applied to case studies (one of them written by a client) from the author’s practice and themes from literature and biography, including the long term impact of the COVID pandemic.

Loving Kindness in Psychotherapy will appeal to psychotherapists, counsellors and other mental health professionals as well as a range of other readers, including medical and palliative care professionals, educators, clergy, theologians and philosophers.

Table of Contents

1. The Nature of Loving Kindness  2. Expressions of Loving Kindness in Psychotherapy  3. False Friends of Loving Kindness: The Symbiotic Merger and Sentimentality  4. Loving Kindness and Moral Injury  5. The Shadow Side of Loving Kindness  6. Loving Kindness and Difficulties of Engagement in Psychotherapy  7. Loving Kindness and the Question of Suffering in Pandemic Times  8. A Philosophical Basis for Loving Kindness in Psychotherapy

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Heather Reeves works in private psychotherapy practice in Norwich, UK. Her interest in loving kindness arose from her work with people from diverse backgrounds, facing difficulties in physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual domains.


‘This thoughtful book manages the difficult task of talking about loving kindness in psychotherapy with clarity and compassion but without sentimentality. The breadth of disciplines it draws on means that readers will find themselves challenged to see things from a different perspective and will be both absorbed and moved.’

Penelope Campling, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, author of Intelligent Kindness and Don't Turn Away

Loving Kindness in Psychotherapy is a welcome addition to contemporary thinking about psychotherapy. Expanding on a century-old debate - originating in the contrasting views of Freud and Ferenczi - about the healing role of love in the psychotherapeutic relationship, it gets to the heart of the therapeutic enterprise.’

Rabbi Howard Cooper, psychoanalytic psychotherapist

‘Following contemporary neuroscience, Heather Reeves suggests that loving kindness has the potential to protect and heal us and is essential in psychotherapy. Theory, research, philosophical ideas and examples from literature and clinical practice are skilfully woven together, offering a refreshing and engaging new perspective.’

Gill Westland, body psychotherapist, author of Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication in Psychotherapy