Process Facilitation in Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy and Social Work  book cover
1st Edition

Process Facilitation in Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy and Social Work

ISBN 9781138591097
Published July 4, 2018 by Routledge
196 Pages

SAVE ~ $8.59
was $42.95
USD $34.36

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Process Facilitation in Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy and Social Work elaborates a differential theory of therapeutic engagement with full reference not only to psychoanalysis and to psychotherapy but also – surprisingly – to social work. When contemporary social work with the marginalised achieves mutual constructive collaboration, social workers characteristically notice an unfolding process. Could this correspond to the ‘analytic process’ of psychoanalysis?

Sylvia O’Neill seeks to explain theoretically, and to illustrate clearly in practice, just how a quasi-autonomous therapeutic process becomes established. The theory underpinning the book is Jean-Luc Donnet’s conceptualisation of the establishment of the analytic process in psychoanalysis through introjection of the analytic setting. Donnet designates the psychoanalytic setting as the analytic ‘site’. O’Neill proceeds to trace, by means of detailed clinical discussion, the analogous process by which a viable therapeutic process can become established through created/found discovery and introjection of the relevant ‘site’ or setting in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and in social work. Amongst the most important elements are the practitioner’s internalised theoretical principles.

The book demonstrates that unconscious introjection figures more importantly in effective therapeutic engagement than a conscious therapeutic alliance. An important corollary for social work is that, contrary to popular myth, no prior psychological-mindedness is required. The differential theory of Process Facilitation in Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy and Social Work is equally relevant to psychodynamic counselling.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Lines of Advance, Then and Now: Continuum, or Radical Break?

Chapter 2. Donnet’s Concept of the Analytic Site or Ensemble


Chapter 3. Juliana and her Faithless Boyfriend: The Psychotherapy Site in a Twice Weekly Therapy

Chapter 4. The Dark World of Incest: The Psychotherapy Site in a Once Weekly Therapy

Chapter 5. Thraldom to Narcissistic Objects: The Psychotherapy Site in a Three Times Weekly Therapy

Chapter 6. Satish’s Weekend: Drama on the Stage of External Reality


Introduction to Part 3

Chapter 7. Miss M: The Site in Social Work with a Vulnerable Adult

Chapter 8. Engaging Families "Mired in Deep Distress"

Chapter 9. A Question of Allegiance to the Social Work Frame of Reference

Chapter 10. After Starting Where the Client Is, What Next?

Chapter 11. Weathering a Crisis: Relationship with the Social Worker as Touchstone

Chapter 12. Ruth and Mrs F: The Site in a Social Work Case of Non-Accidental Injury to a Child

Chapter 13. Joining the Discourse of Contemporary Social Work


Chapter 14: A Differential Theory of Therapeutic Engagement

View More



Sylvia O’Neill is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist practising privately in Edinburgh and in the NHS in Glasgow. She trained in psychotherapy at the Tavistock Clinic after practising social work in Melbourne and London. Her published research interests include therapeutic engagement, autistic pathology, male anorexia and professional cultures.


'This strikingly ambitious book offers a theoretical model of how practitioners of psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy and social work seek to offer transformative help. It is a psychoanalytical theoretical model but its explanatory scope reaches far beyond traditional psychoanalytic work, and this makes it essential reading for the wide range of professionals who work with the disadvantaged. O’Neill writes clearly, explains complex ideas with clarity, gives the reader excellent summaries of what she’s covered and signposts to where she’s going next. The book fulfils its ambitious aims. O’Neill’s thesis is both a new conceptualisation of what might be called social intervention, and a theory of therapeutic change.'-Vic Sedlak, Training Analyst, The British Psychoanalytical Society

'Social work has sometimes valued psychoanalysis for thinking about the relational aspects of its work, but sometimes sees concentration on the inner workings of the mind as neglectful of the reality faced by clients. Sylvia O`Neill`s timely book addresses this conflict and expands, through detailed conceptual writing and fully explored case examples, the richness a sustained effort to realign the two worlds contains. Building on the work of Jean-Luc Donnet she develops his concept of the setting and those discoverable "site" elements fundamental to the establishment of a psycho-analytic and a social work process. This finely written and thoroughly researched work reinvigorates both worlds and will enhance the understanding of members of both professions.'-Mary Twyman, Member British Psycho-analytic Society; formerly Principal Social Worker, Tavistock Clinic Adult Department