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A Psychology of Human Dignity

Ad Dekkers Translated by Ed O’Sullivan Foreword by William Bento

424 pp.  
6" x 9"



Published:  December 2015


Originally published in the Netherlands in 2011, this book is the result of a life's work devoted to developing the craft of psychotherapy in a way that leaves the therapist's and the client's own responsibilities intact and that stimulates a direct, open, and honest link with day-to-day reality.

From his deep commitment to raising the consciousness of both therapists and clients regarding the profound relevance of the larger world situation we find ourselves in (history), as well as one's own current stage of life, Ad Dekkers has spent the past thirty years developing a battery of detailed, yet flexible, psychotherapeutic exercises. These organically developed exercises, useful and stimulating for both the practitioner and the general reader, constitute the core of this book.

Although written with practicing psychotherapists in mind, anyone interested in the history of the twentieth century or the biographical stages of human life will be rewarded here with a singular and caring picture of the human experience in our time.


Foreword by William Bento, PhD
  • The Continuing Development of psychotherapy
  • Developing the Psychotherapeutic Craft
  • The History of the Exercises
  • The Psychological Sensation
  • The Natural Development of the Exercises

1. Perception, Memory, and More
  • Observation
  • Remembering
  • The Importance of Memories
  • Case—Bringing memories to the surface: A therapeutic dialogue
  • “Situations” and “Events”
  • Case—Restoring the capacity to observe after damage caused by ideological indoctrination
  • The Complex Term “Event”
  • Case—A suicide attempt. The destructive power of the ban on observation
  • Rudolf Steiner: Twelve Senses
  • The Effects of Completing Memory Depictions: About the Sentient Soul
  • Case—“Don’t get involved in anything that throws you off balance.” A suffocating climate for the sentient soul
  • Continuing the Internal Activity: The Organizing Role of the Rational-Feeling Soul
  • The Future Perspective. The Role of the Consciousness Soul
  • Case—The therapy develops: Collecting facts—making interpretations—reevaluating decisions
  • Exercises

2. Phases of Life: The Focus on Development
  • How Can Age Be Made Visible?
  • Case—Age as a therapeutic gateway. The 21st year of life
  • The Factor of Age in Therapy
  • Case—A trouble-free past and problems nonetheless. The “I” comes on the scene and demands its rights
  • An Interim Overview of the Exercises
  • The Power of Imagination
  • Case—Age as a therapeutic gateway. The 42nd year of life
  • Self-Knowledge
  • Case—Exploring the mirroring age
  • Exercises

3. The Impact of History: The Generations as a Conduit
  • Dilemmas in Psychotherapy
  • The Aftereffects of the First World War: An Example
  • Case—The absence of war memories
  • From Perception to Understanding to Effect: Processing the Example
  • Memories in the Context of History: Two Examples
  • Therapeutic Effect of the Historical Perspective
  • Case—The 1970s and 1980s: “Everything is possible” parents
  • The Influence of Our Material Surroundings
  • The Parents as Conduits
  • Case—The children of the spiritual revolution
  • Transgenerational Transference and the Differences between Parents and Children
  • Wibke Bruhns: Germany’s War Record
  • At the Back Door of History
  • Case—The Netherlands and slavery. The therapist is wide of the mark
  • The Struggle to Deal with the Past: Quelling Rebellion in the Dutch East Indies
  • Case—Acknowledging our colonial past
  • Proposal for a Transgenerational Principle
  • Case—“Hardened and affected by the Second World War”
  • An Example of Positive Transgenerational Transference: Oliver Sacks
  • Exercises

4. The Self-Aware “I”
  • The Development of the “I” during the Stages of Life. The Birth of the “I”: The First Memory
  • The Development of the “I” during the Stages of Life. Up to the Age of 21: The “I” Takes Possession of the Body
  • The Development of the “I” during the Stages of Life. The 21st Year: The “I” Ascends the Throne: The Sentient Soul
  • The Development of the “I” during the Stages of Life. The Hypomochlion: The Rational-Feeling Soul
  • The Development of the “I” during the Stages of Life. The Twin-Track Decision around the 35th Year: The Consciousness Soul
  • The Development of the “I” during the Stages of Life. The 42nd Year: The Midlife Crisis. The Spirit Comes on the Scene
  • The Awakening of Self-Awareness: Observation of the Will: Actual Intentions
  • Awakening Self-Awareness: About Warmth
  • Case—Contact with one’s own source of creation through warmth
  • Awakening Self-Awareness: Reincarnation as a Theme in Therapy?
  • Case—Ten rights of the human being. “Do you believe in reincarnation?”
  • Awakening Self-Awareness: Karmic Encounters
  • Awakening Self-Awareness: Role-reversal in “I” Perspective
  • Case—A conciliatory role-reversal
  • Awakening self-awareness: Spontaneous role-reversal during the near-death experience
  • Case—The end of a psychosomatic problem: compassion “His war has become part of me”
  • Awakening Self-Awareness: Karmic Compensation
  • Awakening Self-Awareness: The Conscience
  • Case—The broken heart; or, The conscience as real power
  • Exercises

This book is a translation from Dutch of Psychotherapie van de menselijke waardigheid (Christofoor, 2011).

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