The Intimate Hour: Love and Sex in Psychotherapy

Susan Baur, Author
Susan Baur, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $23.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-395-82284-5
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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Finding that the central role of intimacy between client and psychotherapist has been drastically diminished by narrow, legalistic regulations of the field, clinical psychologist Baur (The Dinosaur Man; Confiding) convincingly argues that more attention, rather than less, must be paid to the place of love in therapy. While unequivocally opposed to the sexual exploitation that so readily occurs in relationships marked by distinct differences in levels of authority (cleric/layperson and teacher/student relationships are also examined), Baur observes that the limitations imposed on practitioners today, while effectively limiting occasions of abuse, at the same time rigidly codify a process that is by nature fluid and individual. Furthermore, by casting clients as potential victims, these same formulations deny clients the principal role in their healing. Baur begins with a look at the history of sexual encounters in psychotherapy; she then examines the development of therapy and its regulation in the U.S. In the final section, ""Why Can't We Talk About Love?"" she looks at therapy's future, noting that the growing preponderance of women practitioners will reduce the amount of exploitation, which most commonly occurs between a male therapist and female client. Baur makes an eloquent plea for bringing the issues of love and sexual attraction squarely into the education of therapists, so that the central position of love--with its frequent companion, desire--is not slighted, but can be better understood and prepared for. Includes notes and an extensive bibliography. (Jan.)
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