In the preface by Rainer Funk the present volume is described not as aiming to inform psycho-analytic technique, Funk stating that in Fromm's opinion there was no such thing. Instead it is aimed at providing information about Fromm the therapist and his way of dealing with the psychological sufferings of people of our time. Fromm's therapeautic methods consisting not of "verbose theoreis and abstractions, nor by differential diagnostic 'rapes' of the 'patient material' but rather by his capacity for individual and independent perception of the basic problems of man".
Like his other books, Fromm's humanistic view point clearly permeates his ideas about patients and how he interacted with them. Fromm describes how therapists can only provide a social process aimed at personal growth to patients only if they have made themselves a patient. By this Fromm means considering the counter-transferences, ie how the patient makes them feel, within the interaction. So while a therapist analyses a patient, they will then analyse themselves also.
The concepts here in prefigure a lot of relational innovations in psycho-analysis and psycho-therapy since. Fromm's consideration of analytical processes is akin to more recent reflection practitioner theories from the fields of education, social work and contemporary psychotherapy, while his conclusion that psycho-analytical "technique" is the art of listening corresponds with much theorising about Active Listening. Consequentially, while I know that Fromm would have hoped that the ideas herein would read as wide a readership as possible, ie both professional in interested public, I can see it having more appeal to professionals. I think this is why fans of Fromm's more theoretical and prescriptive reads like The Sane Society (Routledge Classics) or To Have or to be? are "turned off" by this book.
In addition to the introduction, there is a great contents page, comprehensive index, making the book accessible to anyone with less time to read it cover to cover, and a great bibliography. The contents and chapter headings break down as follows:-
Factors Leading to Patient's Change in Analytic Treatment: Curing Factors According to Sigmund Freud and My Critique; Benign and Malignant Neuroses - with a Case History of Benign Neurosis; Constitutional and Other Factors for Cure.
Therapeautic Aspects of Psychoanalysis: What is Psychoanalysis?; Preconditions for Therapeautic Cure; Factors Leading to Therapeutic Effect; About the Therapeutic Relationship; Functions and Methods of the Psychoanalytic Process; Christine: A Case History with Remarks on Therapeutic Method and on Understanding Dreams; Specified Methods to Cure Modern Character Neuroses; Psychoanalytical "Technique" - or, the Art of Listening.
I dont understand why there is no look inside option for this book on Amazon UK because I think there is on Amazon US, I'm nearly sure that I saw the contents before reaching the decision to buy the book myself. It is informative and helpful whether your concern is strictly professional or you are interested in listening skills and social interaction more generally to improve your communication skills.
NB I plan to write an expanded review of this book following a rereading.
After reading "Escape from Freedom" and being highly impressed by my first foray into Fromm's world, I found this a bit of a let down. The prose, as seems the author's inimitable style is actually excellent and the man's approach to Humanism coming from a psychoanalytic perspective is refreshing. Unfortunately there is no real thread to the work, and because of this it seems quite dry and bland. It will not however prevent me from exploring more of his views in other works.