The 16 + 1 interview

Professor Mikael Leiman, 2013. The 16 + 1 interview. Reformulation, Summer, p.51.


Interview with Professor Mikael Leiman at the ACAT conference March 2013

  1. Welcome to the interview – how are you doing? “A bit tired but I am enjoying the conference”
  2. In another life I would have been a..? “Musician, either a singer or a piano player but life took another course”
  3. Freud, Jung or Pavlov? “Freud, as he articulated the most important clinical phenomena – such as transference and counter transference enactments, mindfulness - another way of describing free association; although I don’t agree with the libido theory”
  4. Desert island luxury? “Another human being - gender not important.”
  5. Bach, Mahler or Radiohead? “Mahler’s music is brilliant and I still listen to it. But Bach is a miracle. Where would we be without his music?”
  6. Greatest hero/heroine? “My father. He was an amazing man. He was born in 1906 into utter poverty and was given away as his family couldn’t afford to raise him. He survived this and the fi rst world war. He was a social worker and identifying with him was part of what inspired me to become a psychotherapist. He used to sing lullabies to me as a child.”
  7. Cat, dog or Nintendo? “Nintendo as I’m allergic to cats and dogs but I think I’d get bored with it anyhow”
  8. Dream meal? “Fried pikeperch ( a Finnish lake fi sh ). Very delicious in butter with summer potatoes, green beans and a glass of dry reisling”
  9. Why did you become a psychotherapist? “By chance – when I was a student counsellor one of my young clients developed a strong transference to me. I didn’t understand this at fi rst but my supervisor advised me that this was psychotherapy and encouraged me to continue working with this client. I was terrifi ed at fi rst but it turned out to be a very successful outcome”
  10. Who has been the biggest infl uence on the way you work? “Tony Ryle and an unnamed psychotherapist at Guys - she taught me that you can be blunt and straightforward with clients. We tend to be very polite in Finland”
  11. What do you hope to achieve with clients? “Emancipation from repeating procedures, reconciliation with self and others”
  12. How do you try to achieve this? “There has to be a meaningful relationship and then you work with whatever is accessible to the client. In short- term work I say to them ‘we have 20 sessions – how are you going to use this?’”
  13. What is your number one CAT concept? “Reciprocal role and the sequence of reciprocation – the latter is a modifi cation of the dialogical sequence – a concept that had become rather overinfl ated”
  14. What do you see as the challenges for CAT in the future? “To remain true to the original fl exible idea of a client driven approach, not getting caught up in reifying CAT as a model with the contemporary pressures to ‘market’ therapy and, of course, good quality training”
  15. Are there any other questions you wish we had asked? “No I don’t think so”

Thank you very much

Full Reference

Professor Mikael Leiman, 2013. The 16 + 1 interview. Reformulation, Summer, p.51.

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