The Presence of the Therapist

Book Cover: Presence of the TherapistBy Monica Lanyado.
Brunner Routledge 
ISBN 1583912983

This book is about the technique of psychoanalytic psychotherapy with traumatised children and adolescents. In particular, Lanyado writes about the psychological presence and emotional involvement of the therapist. 

The book uses case material to illustrate the therapy process and the writing is always accessible and lucid. The cases described include a three-year-old in transition from fostering to adoption, a young boy who is placed in a residential therapeutic unit and a suicidal adolescent girl. She brings each case alive in a manner that is insightful, frank and moving. Lanyado argues that therapy is a form of transition between the child’s past and the future, and the therapist’s real involvement is the key to change.  

She describes the provision of a calm and thoughtful space that is so important to these children and also how the therapist may need to work in a more direct and concrete way than would be usual. Lanyado shows how the therapist has to take risks and work with high levels of discomfort. She outlines many central aspects of work with traumatised children, linking theory to practice. This is highly recommended to those involved in psychotherapy, fostering, adoption, and therapeutic residential work. 

Patrick Tomlinson is director of practice, Saccs.

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