1st Edition

Loving Kindness in Psychotherapy

By Heather Reeves Copyright 2023
    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    206 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    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

    Loving Kindness in Psychotherapy is a well-informed and scholarly work which should appeal to anyone with an interest in Medical Humanities.  Heather Reeves is a psychotherapist, with a broad knowledge of English literature. Her book, which is a detailed analysis of the history of psychotherapy and the influences upon it up to the present day, explores the way in which loving kindness is essential to the psychotherapeutic relationship.  She sees it as a collaborative art, offering the therapeutic kinship which should be a vital component within all caring professions.

    Dr Tony Fincham, Vice Chairman of the Thomas Hardy Society, in the Thomas Hardy Journal