There is a growing interest on what clients have to say about their experiences in counseling and psychotherapy. Why do they say the things they say? In this powerful analysis, On Being a Client identifies a number of clear and potent messages that transcend the complexity of counseling thought and psychotherapeutic practice. Using clients' experiences as a framework, the author creates a general theory of counseling and psychotherapy. He proposes that the social and psychological structures which generate the clients' experiences underlie all psychotherapeutic encounters, and the self forms and reforms in social relationships--including those established in the therapeutic context. In this fascinating volume, the reader is invited to consider a number of thought-provoking claims about the universal qualities that characterize good and bad practice in all types of counseling and therapy. This distinctive and accessible analysis is invaluable reading for all counselors, therapists, and other mental health professionals, whether they be in training or already established in practice.



The next step on from simple description is to tell a story. Events are told in the form of a narrative; experiences are structured around a story. Most of the ‘talking cures’ have an interest in biography, and it seems that unravelling one's past is very therapeutic. The therapist is as much audience as fellow actor, as much prompter as critic.

The recognition that the story plays a central part in human affairs has received considerable attention over the last decade. As a metaphor for understanding people and their behaviour, it offers a richer, more dense fabric than the traditional metaphors of science – the machine and the organism. Whereas science looks for explanations and causes, the story is intent on finding a meaningful account.

The ...

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