A Dictionary for Psychotherapists

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“In the Chessick Dictionary psychotherapists will find at last a rich compendium of essays—some measured in paragraphs, some in pages—that in the aggregate give direction to appreciating the protean contours of our discipline. Both the student and the experienced practitioner will find the Dictionary invaluable.

Beyond scholarship and integrity, an author who undertakes the preparation of a dictionary, any dictionary, requires compassionate regard for the reader. Chessick knows this, possesses the capacity for it, and does succeed in engaging the reader one-to-one. He declines the role of the anonymous expert’s prescribing what is and what is not correct usage. Quite the contrary, Chessick affirms a personal presence, venturing his views—never arrogating the voice of the unseen, unmoved, unnamed, authorial majesty.

The newcomer will welcome the authority that Chessick brings and the references that follow each entry. The scholar will appreciate the implicit invitation to engage dialogically with the author about so much that is necessarily ambiguous and controversial.

The Chessick Dictionary defines and explains, placing the matters at hand within the wider contexts of intellectual currents and the variousness of meaning. Each entry is followed by references providing the reader with further avenues for learning. Many will appreciate that included in the Dictionary as entries are biographical profiles that outline the contributions of all the major theorists: Freud, Jung, Horney, Klein, Kohut, Kernberg, Winnincott, Sullivan. But included too are those who deserve more attention: Bakhtin (dialogism), Ferenczi, Gedo, Lacan, Gadamer (herneneutics), Spence (narrative truth). The list goes on.

This is a watershed publication. In its qualities of comprehensiveness, clarity, and humility we recognize in this Dictionary the first edition of what deserves to become the standard reference of its kind for our field—or the standard against which other similar references will be measured. (1375 pgs)

Douglas H. Ingram, MD

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