Strategic Emotional Involvement


Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc.

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Today therapists no longer guard the fact that their clients emotionally affect them in sometimes deeply gripping ways. In Strategic Emotional Involvement therapists open the private doors of their consulting rooms to share heartfelt countertransference and how they came to use these feelings for therapeutic success. Now we know that to work effectively, psychotherapists must be strong, active, dynamic, straightforward, penetrating, truthful, and real in ways hardly imaginable to their predecessors. Strategic Emotional Involvement is a comprehensive clinical text on the inevitability of therapists’ responsiveness and how they use this in the therapeutic process.



“Lawrence Hedges pushes intersubjectivity and countertransference to the cutting edge in order to validate the necessity of the listener’s (therapist’s) need to avail him/herself of his/her own personal issues as they intersect with those of the speaker’s (patient’s), which not only may interfere with the development and maintenance of the necessary relatedness of the ‘symbiotic dance’ but may also be a repetition of the past failures to develop that dance, a phenomenon the author speaks of as the ‘organizing experience.’ Strategic emotional involvement constitutes a protocol of listener techniques that allow therapists to avail themselves of their countertransference even more fully, tactfully, and effectively in order to re-establish the dance. One is reminded of Alexander’s ‘corrective emotional experience’ but in a newer, more reliable, and more clinically tested way.”

James S. Grotstein

“Dr. Hedges has once again ventured into groundbreaking territory. These writings illustrate the profound complexity and depth of the interplay between the two people in the therapeutic encounter while guiding the ‘listener’ in the skillful and essential use of countertransference. I, too, cried over Ronnie’s pigeons and was angered with Albert’s hiding in stupidity. Hedges clearly demonstrates that it is through the therapeutic, strategic emotional involvement that healing occurs.”

Linda C. Sanicola

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One comment on “Strategic Emotional Involvement”

  • Paul Gronnerud says:


    This aspect of patient-therapist relationship (counter-transference) always been of academic and practical importance… thank you so much. Paul.

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