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Didier Pleux

The Freudian Couch Revolution

Didier Pleux is a doctor in developmental psychology, a clinical psychologist, and the director of the French Institute for Cognitive Therapy. He is the author of numerous important works on education, including the very successful De l’enfant roi à l’enfant tyran, Peut mieux faire, Exprimer sa colère sans perdre le contôle, Un enfant heureux, Les Adultes tyrans and Les 10 commandements du bon sens éducatif.
Preface by Michel Onfray.

Existential psychotherapy: a new approach grounded in the power of consciousness

Didier Pleux is known for his frequent denunciations of Freudian psychoanalysis but he has not rejected all of Freud’s insights. In this book, he defends a new approach, based on the more successful hypotheses of cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT), but which also takes into account patients’ past history — something that CBT practitioners too often neglect. How and why can this be regarded as a ‘revolution of the Freudian couch’?
Though it is useful to know the origins of certain emotional disorders, it is just as important not to look for and focus on a single trauma linked to early childhood, but to assess all the events in a patient’s life that contributed to produce dysfunctional emotions and behaviour. Existential psychotherapy enables patients to understand how their irrational demands and expectations — of themselves, of others and of the world — were fashioned. This reconstruction of the Self requires a new — and a fully conscious — understanding of the patient’s ‘history’. Existential psychotherapy is a synthesis of Freudian psychoanalysis and of cognitive and behavioural approaches. It is a new path to self-comprehension and healing.

• A work that will nourish the debate between psychoanalysis and non-Freudian psychotherapy, between the roles played in analysis by the unconscious and by conscious forces.
• The definition of a form of psychotherapy that aims at the patient’s actual cure.