Learn to Forget

I’ve contributed a chapter to this book; it’s called Learn to Forget: a Nietzschean Revaluation of Forgetting in Psychotherapy. It will be published by Routledge and will come out in September 2020.

Using case material in which I didn’t know the name of a client for over a year, I demonstrate the therapeutic value of Nietzsche’s ‘active forgetting’ by contrasting it’s lightness with the gravity of a more orthodox Freudian idea of forgetting as a form of defence.

Forgetting my client’s name inevitably led to a rupture of his trust indicating a potential conflict between us and our therapeutic alliance. Taking Nietzsche’s creditor/debtor relationship as a template for the therapeutic relationship I reframe this conflict as primarily moral rather than qualitative. I demonstrate how understanding the nature of our moral differences freed me (and him) from the perceived debt he’d thought I’d owed him.

I conclude by showing how the rupture and revaluation of forgetting facilitated an invigoration of our work together.  In doing so I set out a counter-intuitive revaluation of forgetting as an intentional therapeutic intervention and as an essential component for mental wellbeing and creativity.

The editor has described the chapter as ‘Unassumingly formidable.’

To read more about the book: more advance reviews, a synopsis, or to pre-order a copy, click: Waterstones