In the best therapeutic tradition, Louis Breger describes contemporary theories and research in the field of analytic psychotherapy. Through the framework of his personal experiences as a scholar, researcher, and therapist, he focuses on his relationships with patients over the span of his fifty-year career. He records their reactions, in their own words, to their experience with psychotherapy many years after its conclusion. The author surveyed over thirty former patients to see if their progress, begun in therapy, had continued, expanded, or regressed. They were asked to highlight what they remembered as being most helpful, therapeutic, or curative in their treatment. The book is a unique long-term follow-up demonstrating the effectiveness of modern analytic psychotherapy.
Breger primarily deals with the connections between therapist and patient. This is a professional memoir of the life of the psychotherapist dealing with trials as a young practitioner, lessons learned, and personal reflections on the choices, including mistakes, made along the way. Young therapists, and those who are in or considering psychotherapy, will find it helpful to have access to this self-reflective approach.
Extracts from the patients are extensive and informative, giving the reader the opportunity to see therapy from their perspectives. The book also centers on the development of the therapist over his career span. Breger acknowledges that his understanding of patient care has improved over time in the eyes of his patients. In a larger sense, the book contains lessons for all psychotherapists. This is an important, unique, and innovative work.