Cradling the Chrysalis

2015, MacCallum Sullivan, M. and Goldenberg, H., Cradling the Chrysalis: Teaching and Learning Psychotherapy (Revised Edition), UKCP/Karnac Books (first published in 2004)


This is one of the very few books I have ever found that takes seriously the experience of training in psychotherapy and argues (and demonstrates) that it is something to reflect on. The authors talk to each other about theory and practice, ethics and experience.

I came to really enjoy this strategy and found myself thinking and almost commenting out loud in a way that I seldom do when following the "straightforward" explication of theory.

What is particularly heartening about this book is the way in which the authors allow us into their dilemmas rather than simply explaining the right way to do something.

Mary MacCallum Sullivan and Harriett Goldenberg remind us that the essence of psychotherapy is the search for meaning inherent in that which we see, rather than a practice that diagnoses and imposes meaning on a phenomenon.
Professor Martin Milton, Professor of Counselling Psychology, Director of Counselling Psychology programmes, Regent's School of Psychotherapy and Psychology

Within this thought-provoking volume, these two highly experienced and accomplished psychotherapists and trainers engage with the fundamentals of what psychotherapy is and the spirit in which it is practised.

This discussion is all the more apposite given that it is conducted whilst acknowledging the pressing challenges psychotherapy currently faces: the need to be evidence based and the pressure to manualise training, to name but two. In many ways, this book represents a much needed endeavour to reclaim the heart and soul of psychotherapy.

This is essential reading for all psychotherapists, regardless of experience or modality, who care about the future of their profession.
Lars Carson, UKCP-registered integrative psychotherapist in independent practice

The teaching and learning of the practice of psychotherapy is approached with refreshing openness regarding the vulnerabilities and responsibilities of all concerned in the recommended (and modelled by the authors) dialogic co-learning/teaching of this craft.

Their respect for students and the learning process is palpable and vital. The profound responsibility in teaching/learning is, first and foremost, that of the designated teacher, an open-hearted responsibility to 'let learn' and grow implicit in the title, Cradling the Chrysalis, but also the wisdom, kindness and courage to assess and relate to those judged unable to effect the necessary transformation, having already passed the selection process for training....

The authority and pleasure of Cradling the Chrysalis is enhanced by the liveliness, integrity and passion of the collaborators.... the flowing, dialogic, down-to-earth and accessible qualities of a book I heartily recommend to all concerned!
Leon Redler, psychodynamic,existential, ethical-deconstructive psychotherapist, member of the UKCP via the Philadelphia Association

Other publications

2015, MacCallum Sullivan,M., Goldenberg,H., An Ethical Endeavour, Psychotherapist, Issue 61, pp.15-17

2015, MacCallum Sullivan, M. and Goldenberg, H., Psychotherapy, Relationality, and the Long Revolution, in The Psyche in the Modern World, Psychotherapy and Society series, T. Warnecke (ed.), London:UKCP/Karnac Books

2000 Is Existential Psychotherapy A Lesbian and Gay Affirmative Approach (Milton, M.): A Response, Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis, Vol.11.1

2000, Goldenberg, H., Tikvah Sarah, E., Living Infertility, in Taking up the Timbrel, (Rothschild,S., and Sheridan,S. eds), SCM Press, London

1998, Fact or Fiction?:The Relationship of 'Fact' and 'Narrative', Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis, Vol.9.2., pp.71-83

1997, The Place of Ritual as a Marker of Infertility, Journal of Fertility Counselling, Vol.4, No.1, pp 8-9

1997, Who am I if I am not a Mother, Case Studies From an Existential Perspective, (Du Plock, ed.), John Wiley and Son, Chichester

1996, Goldenberg, H. with Isaacson, Z., Between Persons: The Narrow Ridge Where I and Thou Meet, Journal of the Society of Existential Analysis, Vol.7.2, pp. 118-130