Many adherents to the various psychotherapeutic traditions agree that the therapeutic relationship is actively shaped by the personal identities and needs of patient and therapist. Invariably, during the course of psychotherapy, therapist and patient engage in an ""intersubjective negotiation"" based on their respective individualities. In this series of creative scholarly essays arranged in eight ""dialogues,"" leading clinicians wrestle with questions of race, culture, gender, and sexuality as they apply to the therapeutic relationship. Each dialogue begins with an original chapter contribution by a clinician that includes a detailed discussion of the psychotherapeutic process, especially with regard to the negotiation of complex and difficult interactions between patient and therapist. Scholars with differing personal and professional backgrounds then offer chapters that develop ideas presented in the opening chapter, and in a closing chapter, the clinician who initiated the dialogue provides some synthesis and elaboration in response.
J. Christopher Muran, Ph.D. is Chief Psychologist and Director of the Brief Psychotherapy Research Program at Beth Israel Medical Center, where he maintains a private practice and is active in teaching and training. He is also Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.