Welcome to Therapeutic Attitude.

In 2015 I wrote a book: Being With and Saying Goodbye. Cultivating Therapeutic Attitude in Professional Practice It is passionate and, some people have told me, contains some wisdom. In January 2016 Karnac published it, just a little too late for everyone to buy it for all their family for Christmas. I believe it is still for sale, though, so it is actually not too late.

Here is the review in The BJPsych Bulletin

This blog takes some of the ideas forwards and explores, for example, Therapeutic Attitude, Values-Based Practice, and the role of subjective evidence.

Here are some recent and favourite posts:


17th March, Loosening the Knot

29th November, Leaves Leaving


14th November, Autumn and Parting

6th July, Keeping Intelligence in the Clinical Encounter

23rd March, Vortex Management

8th February, The Pain of the Wronged World

9th January, In the middle of your life


29th December, Therapeutic Chess… or… When the engineering analogy breaks down

23rd October, Reaching Across and Introducing Animus

17th June, Two Stories About Jade

(The next two are posted here for my sister site Developmental Conversations and in response to the Coronavirus pandemic)

10th May 2020, Self-care and remote-working

4th April 2020 Staff Wellbeing through Covid-19

27th January, Narrative Matters


22nd April, Music Again (a conversation with Music Therapy Conversations)

5th of April, A new home in free musical improvisation

16th March, Everything worth waiting for is worth the wait

28th February, Therapeutic Alliteration


24th September, Compass Bearings

12th June, Why Normal?

5th May, Horse-Whispering

27th January, Pebbles and People


19th October, The Denial of Shit and the Impossibility of Institutional Compassion

15th September, Diagnosis: With great power goes great responsibility

23rd June, The Sins of the Pathway

10th Jan, Nature of Evidence – After the day

Please join in, enquire, or leave feed-back. You can do this by using the “leave a reply” box, particularly under the Questions and Comments page. Whatever you post, please do make it polite. Maybe follow those methods that are taught for giving constructive feedback. Postings are moderated, so if you write something offensive (to me or anyone else) it will not appear.

Check out the book! You will find here a posting on Being With and Saying Goodbye. It will tell you at least a bit about the book. There are links to the publisher’s pages as well as some places you can buy it.

There are a number of other pages, listed in the menu in the top right of this page. For example, because the subtitle of the book is Cultivating Therapeutic Attitude in Professional Practice I posted a brief explanation of what I mean by Professional Practice and why I chose to use that phrase, rather than to settle entirely on my own area of practice which is Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Also, if you are interested in what else I have written you can look at a list of papers which I am gradually annotating. You will find that this is not a typical academic oeuvre.

Oh, and I tweet @afwesty

4 thoughts on “Home Page: Therapeutic Attitude

  1. Can you provide a reference for the Winnicott quote about “capacity in the therapist to contain the conflicts…”? It will be very helpful for a workshop I am hoping to give at a conference next year.

    Thank you!


    1. Hi Marc,

      Here it is:

      Winnicott, D. W. (1971b). Therapeutic Consultations in Child Psychiatry. London:
      Hogarth & The Institute of Psycho-Analysis. Page 2.

      It is a wonderful book.

      I hope the workshop goes well.



      1. Thank you! If my proposal is accepted, I’ll let you know more about it. In the meantime, I’ve put your book on my list to buy, along of course with the Winnicott.
        There’s another quotation attributed by a colleague to Winnicott that I haven’t been able to find the source for, that the task of the therapist is “to understand the world as the patient sees it.” If you know where that one is from, please let me know.

        Thanks again!



  2. Hi Marc. I shall be interested to hear how it goes. I hope you enjoy BWSG. I can’t help with the other quote I am afraid, though it does ring a bell. I am not sure I totally agree with it, mind you. When you read BWSG you will see that in my view the therapeutic stance is alongside the patient, so looking at the world view they have, but through one’s own eyes. I use the analogy of journeying with, for example. It is very close, and a question of degree, I have to admit (you can sense me thinking as I write!). Perhaps seeing the world from their position, but through one’s own eyes. Of course this implies that eyes are more than mere windows – they include filters and have a significant role in “understanding”.

    Anyway, one could go on…it is a fascinating area!
    Good luck,



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