Trauma and the Supernatural in Psychotherapy : Working with the Curse Position in Clinical Practice book cover
1st Edition

Trauma and the Supernatural in Psychotherapy
Working with the Curse Position in Clinical Practice

  • Available for pre-order on May 26, 2023. Item will ship after June 16, 2023
ISBN 9780367707477
June 16, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages

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USD $39.95

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Book Description

This fascinating book explores how traumatic experience interacts with unconscious phantasy based in folklore, the supernatural and the occult. Drawing upon trauma research, case study vignettes, and psychoanalytic theory, it explains how therapists can use literature, the arts, and philosophy to work with clients who feel cursed and manifest self-sabotaging states. The book examines the challenges that can arise when working with this client population and illustrates how to work through them while navigating potent transferences and projective identifications. It’s an important read for students, psychotherapists, and counselors in the mental health field.

Table of Contents


1. Magic and the Supernatural: The Historical Context for the Curse Position

2. Mythopoetic Hysteria: The fin de siècle

3. The Curse Position (1). Unconscious Phantasy

4. The Curse Position (2). The Uncanny

5. The Ancestral Curse

6. Imposters of Love: Introjection and Identification

7. Redemption and Conditionality: Fairbairn and Relational Trauma

8. The Devil’s Culpa: Shame, Guilt and Evil

9. The Evil Eye and the Limited Good

10. An Alien Seed: Fear and Desire in Psychotherapy

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Alex Monk is an integrative arts psychotherapist and musician based in London, UK. He has a private practice in East London. He has a particular interest in psychoanalysis, the arts, the weird, uncanny, and magical.


"Alex Monk has written a monograph of great urgency and importance, both for the subtlety of its argumentation and its sensitivity to neglected aspects of psychic life. Modernity can no longer pretend that magical consciousness is an artifact of the past, and Monk’s work triumphs in recommending the integration, rather than the denial, of the weirdness that will not go away." - J. F. Martel, Author of Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice and co-host of the Weird Studies Podcast 

"The curse is a powerful image evoking the inexorable workings of an unseen force that works against us, thwarts our efforts, and condemns us to suffering and struggle. It’s a fascinating lens through which to explore clinical work with those individuals who seem perpetually dogged by the dark forces in their own unconscious. This volume artfully ties the age-old, archetypal language of the curse to psychoanalytic thought, providing a unique perspective that brings additional insights to familiar clinical issues." - Lisa Marchiano, Jungian Analyst and author of Motherhood: Facing and Finding Yourself

"Alex Monk’s comparative approach is a much welcome development in psychoanalysis. His psychoanalytic perspective on the "evil eye" phenomenon illustrates the importance of locating clinical work within cross-cultural contexts that also attend to multiple social factors such as economics and class. Monk’s clinical presentations are especially compelling as he reflects upon the impact his patients have on him." -  Marsha Aileen Hewitt, University of Toronto, Freud on Religion and Legacies of the Occult: Psychoanalysis, Religion, and Unconscious Communication.