The Empathic Healer
An Endangered Species?
- Michael Bennett, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.
- Published: March 2001
- Imprint: ACADEMIC PRESS
- ISBN: 978-0-12-088662-3
"...Bennett broadens our understanding of the dimensions of empathy as it has been referred to historically and across related scientific fields. In an interesting and erudite way, he gives the clinician historical grounding in the aesthetic origin of the concept of empathy all the way to the current linkage to recent biological research. In doing so, he makes a greater case for the importance of the empathic healer... The beginning therapist, whether social worker, psychologist, or pychiatrist, will find this book useful in providing a very basic foundation to conducting therapy and enriching their identities as therapist and healer... Bennett brings us back to the fundamentals of how to provide an effective, humane therapy experience for our clients, whatever length the therapy will be... he advises the therapist to collaborate with significant people who would potentiate the healing process and to assist in enriching the patient's "healing environment..." therapists will appreciate that his approach... can be easily adapted to one's current style." —CONTEMPORARY PSYCHOLOGY "
—CHOICE "In a "must-read" book that traces the evolution of psychiatric practice from the psychoanalytic movement into managed care, Michael J. Bennett, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist who played a major role in the early development of idealistically driven managed care health systems, argues that the heart (and soul) of psychiatry is human empathy... The Empathic Healer leads the reader into the world of human understanding and reminds us of the essential nature of our practice: understanding the helping another human being whose subjective experience is disordered... I strongly recommend The Empathic Healer: An Endangered Species? to all psychiatrists. It is a beautifully written, clinically wise meditation on an essential aspect of our clinical practice that has become eroded in recent years." —JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY "Far from being a "woe is us" account of how managed care has destroyed the doctor-patient relationship and is at the core of all that's wrong with healthcare, Michael J. Bennett's book offers hope that psychotherapy can survive--and maybe even improve--in today's time-limited scenario...Given the realities of a limited budget to serve an entire population's mental health needs, Bennett offers a heartfelt plea for offering limited service to the many (rather than much service to the many; much service to a select few; or limited service a few). Dotted with anecdotes of specific doctor-patient encounters, his work offers hope that today's therapists can overcome obstacles and maintain their humanity." —BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE TOMORROW "The Empathic Healer: An Endangered Species? by Michael Bennett, M.D. is an important book, and is must reading for those interested in how psychological healing occurs. It is more than a book on empathy. It is a comprehensive mediation on what it means to be a healer in this day and age. Bennett covers such topics as the history of empathy and "empathy and the brain." He gives a comprehensive holistic mind-body perspective, which does not oversimplify the role of either, and discusses the role of empathy in a biological age. He also emphasizes the idea of therapy as the promotion of client self-healing and provides a model of how empathy promotes that. Bennett also discusses the pressing issues concerning evidence-based practice. Most importantly, Bennett covers the role of the empathic healer in the climate of the current health care system, which he says has lost its heart. And finally he presents a new view of psychotherapy, which he calls "focal psychotherapy." Overall, Bennett's discussion is theoretically sophisticated and science-based. I learned a great deal from reading this book." —Aurther C. Bohart, Professor of Psychology, California State University The Empathic Healer is a gem of a book! With a humanism and sensitivity befitting his subject, Bennett offers us a most timely, realistic, wise and practical approach to preserving the empathic core of the healer's art. With great parsimony and clarity, Bennett traces the critical role of empathy in all healing professions. No mere polemic or "feel-good" exercise, this remarkable book, buttressed by illustrative clinical examples, synthesizes both the science and the art of the essential relationship between patient and therapist that promotes healing. This book is a "must read" for all those on the edge of despair over changes in today's health care system; it offers hope, optimism, and restored joy in the preservation of the core values of one's demanding and important work." —Don R. Lipsitt, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School