This fascinating book applies social theorist Georges Bataille’s revolutionary thinking to psychotherapy, offering clinicians a new and valuable context for practicing therapy.

In adding Bataille’s ideas to several different psychotherapeutic modalities, this book makes the notoriously obscure thinker more accessible while testing the validity of his far-reaching work in the treatment room. Through an in-depth examination of several clinical case studies, the book demonstrates how to balance an understanding of the social and historical contexts of participants with a therapeutic approach that offers empathy for individual distress. It also explains how Bataille’s innovative approach can be applied to work with couples, groups, institutions, and even one of Freud’s classic case studies. Both the content and form of each chapter demonstrate the therapeutic value of a reflexive, critical approach to one’s practice and exemplify how to write about it.

Offering an unprecedented opportunity to imagine how Bataille’s own interest in psychoanalysis and clinical psychology might have developed, this book will be of interest to both practitioners in the field and scholars of continental philosophy and social theory.

Part I: Psychotherapy with Individuals  1. Searching for a Sign: Listening, Looking, Touching, Way-finding   2. The Distance Between Spending and Spent: On Manic Consuming, Hoarding, Expending, and Other Visions of Excess  3. The Other Kind of Laughter  4. Recovery  5. Excremental Journey  6. The Accursed Child  Part II: Psychotherapy with Couples  7. Sexual Disgust Redux  Part III: Psychotherapy with Groups  8. The Acephalic Stage  Part IV: Psychotherapy with Communities  9. Triple Fugue: A Dialogical Exploration of Sovereign Experience  Part V: The End(s) of Psychotherapy  10. Do No Harm/Please Harm Me