François Roustang

Never Against On Being an Attentive Body Publication date : August 28, 2015

François Roustang is a therapist and a dissident voice in the psychoanalytic community. A staunch critic of cognitive behavioural therapies, he has worked for many years on a radical re-examination of the conditions for change. His position led him to rediscover the capacity of hypnosis to bring about a profound modification in patients’ self-image and in their relations with the outside world. His highly successful trilogy — La Fin de la plainte, Il suffit d’un geste and Savoir attendre (published by Editions Odile Jacob) — has placed him among the most original writers in his field in France.

‘In general, when a therapy is undertaken, regardless of the approach, the aim is to get rid of a symptom (sadness, fear, guilt, frustration, etc.). But in order to do so, you must ask where the symptom came from and what caused it. The mistaken premise underlying all such psychotherapies is a fascination with the rule that says that every effect has a cause.
‘But the truth is that if you suffer, for example, from anxiety or insomnia, you should not oppose your symptoms. Instead, you should pay attention to them, embrace them to your body, integrate them in and through your conduct. You can even go further: take your fears and hurts in your hand as if they were nourishment, put them in your mouth, chew them slowly, swallow them, and then wait calmly as you digest them...
‘In doing all this, haven’t we gone against all the therapies that are practised in the West? It hardly matters if this seems bizarre or even scandalous. You just have to ask yourself if it works,’ writes François Roustang.

• With a new, previously unpublished introduction and conclusion by the author.
• Three highly successful works (La Fin de la plainte, Il suffit d’un geste and Savoir attendre) have been gathered here in one volume.
• The singular approach of an atypical author: accept the symptom. This is the exact opposite of what is advocated by most current psychotherapies, which are all bound to fail.