Intimacy And Its Dilemmas: Five Stories Of Psychotherapy
The classic compilation of psychological case studies from a master clinician and lyrical writer
Each generation of therapists can boast of only a few writers likeDeborah Luepnitz, whose sympathy and wit shine in her fine, luminous prose. In Schopenhauer's Porcupines, she recounts five true stories from her practice, stories of patients who range from the super-rich to the destitute, who grapple with panic attacks, psychosomatic illness, marital despair, and sexual recklessness. Intimate, original, and triumphantly funny, Schopenhauer's Porcupines goes further than any other book in illuminating "how talking helps."
Throughout its history, psychological theory has contended that at least part of what can make maintaining intimate relationships so difficult is the conflict between feeling aggressive and loving toward the same person. Luepnitz, a psychotherapist and author of The Family Interpreted, finds a metaphor for this problem of intimacy in Schopenhauer's porcupine dilemma a story of how porcupines in winter must struggle between the desire to seek warmth from closeness with each other and the pain they feel from one another's quills as they become too close. Drawing from the writings of Winnicott, Lacan and Freud, along with case studies, Luepnitz not only provides insight into the practice of a wide range of psychotherapeutic treatments (such as couples therapy, family therapy and supportive psychotherapy), but also shows how psychotherapy can help people balance their conflicting feelings of love and hate via discourse and reflection. Written for a general audience, this book is enjoyable to read and nicely describes the treatment of a variety of patients, from an 11-year-old girl struggling to control stress-induced diabetes to a homeless woman dealing with poverty and a history of abusive relationships. Although such anecdotes cannot "prove" the validity of psychotherapeutic methods, Luepnitz's book does give those who may be curious or skeptical about "talk therapies" the opportunity to consider whether psychotherapy is right for them.