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Love's Embrace: The autobiography of a person-centred therapist

Love's Embrace: The autobiography of a person-centred therapist

Brian Thorne

ISBN 978 1 898059 76 9 (2005)

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Brian Thorne, prominent international practitioner in the world of person-centred therapy, has published numerous books with a wide readership. For many years, however, he has been a controversial figure and his writings have provoked fierce and sometimes acrimonious debate not only among psychotherapists and counsellors but also in the ranks of theologians and religious educators. This autobiographical study, written in a beguiling and often humorous style, offers revealing and, at times, moving insights into his personal and professional journey.

Brian Thorne is unusual in having maintained throughout a long and distinguished career a passionate commitment both to the theory and practice of person-centred therapy and to membership of the Anglican Church.This dual allegiance has earned him many friends and not a few detractors in both camps. His autobiography reveals a complex personality who grew up during the years of the Second World War and was later to see active service in the British Army during the Eoka campaign in Cyprus. We read of the experiences of the butcher’s assistant’s son who found himself at a public school and then at Cambridge. We meet the linguist who became a schoolmaster only for his true vocation to lead him to the emerging profession of counselling and psychotherapy. We are taken back to the years prior to the founding of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and to Thorne’s pioneering days at Keele University and then as the first Director of the Counselling Service at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. The final chapter provides a moving account of what it has meant for Thorne to experience – and survive – major heart surgery.

This book was launched at the Norwich Centre Silver Jubilee celebrations on 30 September 2005. A video of Brian Thorne reading extracts from the book is available for purchase from the Norwich Centre.

Ch. 1   Early encounters, human and divine
Ch. 2   The public schoolboy: Clifton College
Ch. 3   The European traveller
Ch.4    Love’s island: national service
Ch.5    The student: Cambridge and Bristol
Ch.6     The schoolmaster: Eastbourne College
Ch.7     Becoming a therapist: Reading and Keele
Ch. 8    Norwich and UEA: the first ten years
Ch. 9   The broader canvas
Ch.10  Writing, scheming, relinquishing
Ch.11  Family and friendship
Ch.12  The heart’s surrender
Appendix 1  John Elliott’s address at the conferment of the title of Emeritus Professor
Appendix 2  Publications: 1966–2004

What makes someone like Brian Thorne tick? That was the question to which I was hoping to glimpse an answer when I picked up this tantalising book. When I put it down again, I felt as if I had made a new friend. I would venture to say that there is a personal quality – an intimacy – to much of Brian's academic writing, but this, the story of his own life, takes that intimacy one step further. His honesty, openness and, above all, his very prevalent and delicious sense of humour cannot fail to endear the reader to this remarkable and inspiring man. … Brian Thorne may not be Rimbaud or Goethe, but nonetheless this joyous insight into the life and soul of a key figure in British therapy had a similar effect on me. It created the hope in me that many, many more non-academic, personal, humanistic texts can find their way into the developmental syllabi of person-centred practitioners. To allow oneself to be met as a person as Brian has done in Love's Embrace represents a modelling of the person-centred approach of the very highest order. Yvonne Bates, Ipnosis Number 20, 2005

Brian Thorne

Brian Thorne

Brian Thorne is Co-founder of the Norwich Centre for Personal, Professional and Spiritual Development. A retired counsellor and psychotherapist, he is Emeritus Professor of Counselling at the University of East Anglia, Norwich and a former Professor of Education in the College of Teachers. He is the author or editor of 19 books which include, most recently, Counselling and Spiritual Accompaniment: Bridging Faith and Person-Centred Therapy (Wiley – Blackwell, 2012) and – with Pete Sanders – Carl Rogers (3rd ed) (Sage Publishers, 2012). Professor Thorne is unusual in having maintained throughout a long and distinguished career, a passionate commitment both to the theory and practice of person-centred therapy and membership of the Anglican Church!

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