The Therapeutic Relationship in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Publication Year: 2015
Unravelling the issues surrounding the therapeutic relationship, this book highlights the importance of the relationship itself, of the client as a proactive agent in the process, and of the need for partnership and collaboration for effective therapy to take place. It will provide trainees and newly qualified therapists with the knowledge and skills they need to practice on a level of deep understanding and confidence.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: The therapeutic frame
- Chapter 2: Collaboration
- Chapter 3: Empathic understanding and listening
- Chapter 4: Care and warmth
- Chapter 5: Being real
- Chapter 6: Relating at depth
- Chapter 7: Therapeutic relationships with children and young people
- Chapter 8: Telephone and online counselling relationships
- Chapter 9: Conclusion
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© Rosanne Knox and Mick Cooper 2015
First published 2015
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permittedunder the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiriesconcerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2014948953
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ISBN 978-1-4462-8289-2 (pbk)
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Essential Issues in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Edited by Andrew Reeves
Counsellors and psychotherapists consider a number of important factors in their work with clients. Some are defined by training and theoretical orientation, some by context, and others by the client group with whom they work. However, across all these areas there are a number of essential issues – those that sit at the very core of practice – that must be considered by all therapists.
Essential Issues in Counselling and Psychotherapy is a series that brings together a number of new, accessible and practice-informed books that carefully and thoroughly address those considerations: the essential issues of practice that can challenge and shape all aspects of counselling and psychotherapy.
For new and forthcoming books in the series please visit www.uk.sagepub.com/cp
Assessment and Case Formulation in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Biljana van Rijn
The Therapeutic Relationship in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Rosanne Knox and Mick Cooper
Working with Risk in Counselling and Psychotherapy
To my partner Howard, and my three daughters Laura, Helena and Amelia, whose love and support has been immeasurable. – RK
To Graham, for all his support, warmth, and guidance over the years. – MC[Page vi]
About the Author
In writing this book we aimed to address some of the most commonly asked questions around the therapeutic relationship. Our hope was that it might provide a guide as you navigate your way through the intriguing and sometimes complicated terrain of engaging in, understanding, and making full use of the therapeutic relationship in individual counselling and psychotherapy.
The book will take you through different aspects of the relationship, from the initial boundary setting to the deepest levels of connection, exploring the uncertainties, risks and controversies along the way. Each chapter will focus on a particular aspect of the relationship, addressing the key questions which are commonly asked. Discussions will be grounded both in our (the authors’) own experiences as therapists, and in empirical evidence on the experiences and perspectives of both therapists and clients engaged in a range of different therapies.Different perspectives on the therapeutic relationship
The relationship itself is valued in a variety of ways, depending on your therapeutic approach. For CBT therapists it is akin to a close partnership, agreeing on particular aims and tasks with the client. The classic psychoanalyst is perhaps the least personally involved, sometimes sitting out of view of the client, giving them free space to explore their past and present, and their own thoughts and feelings, with few interventions being made. The psychodynamic therapist is looking out for the transference and countertransference that arise through the relationship, relating past experiences to present responses to them in the relationship. For the person-centred and experiential therapist – existential, gestalt, or humanistic – the relationship in the present is core to the therapy. However all therapists require a depth of relating, in their own way.
[Page x]While the aims for each individual client should be those of the client and not the therapist, our own beliefs as therapists as to what constitutes a positive outcome will be coloured not only by our own personal views, both overt and hidden, but also by the therapeutic approach in which we are trained. For example, cognitive behavioural therapists are likely to see the main aim for the client as becoming a reasonably happy person who is able to problem solve. Psychodynamic therapists might see a client’s overall aim as being to move from unconscious despair to acceptance of life and loss, while humanistic/experiential therapists might see a client’s underlying aim as being authentic and moving towards actualisation in accordance with their own individual potential. Our own relating to clients cannot help but differ accordingly: cognitive behavioural therapists are likely to be exploring patterns of thinking and challenging cognitive errors, psychodynamic therapists are likely to be encouraging insights into unconscious links to significant relationships in the past, and experiential/humanistic therapists are likely to be trusting in a client’s own process and providing an authentic relationship through experiencing empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard for that client.
While we would acknowledge that the experience of both authors has been predominately gained from within the person-centred and humanistic field, our aim has been to produce a book which is relevant to therapists from all orientations. The questions addressed are those of new and trainee therapists from a range of approaches, and the issues are those which any therapist may be faced with at some point in their client work.Readership
This book is written both for newly qualified and trainee therapists as they start out on their professional journey. It may also be of interest to more experienced therapists as they progress through the world of counselling and psychotherapy, enhancing their skills, abilities and knowledge. We have covered areas that at some point are likely to face all therapists, whatever their experience or orientation.Use of evidence
In addressing various areas we have striven, as far as possible, to explore what the evidence says about the different topics, so that our [Page xi]answers are grounded in research. In this way we hope to provide you with advice, suggestions and explorations that are supported by the experiences of clients and therapists alike, across a range of approaches.
The examples given in this book are drawn from a range of sources. Many come from research undertaken into clients’ and therapists’ experiences of client–therapist relating. Some are from the authors’ own experiences. A few are hypothetical situations for discussion, although also drawn from experience. All have been anonymised.Researching key questions
To help ensure that we were discussing the questions that new and trainee therapists actually want addressed, rather than what we think they might want addressed, we conducted our own research prior to writing this book. This took the form of an online questionnaire, supported by a series of focus groups. We asked participants to let us know the questions they had, the concerns or apprehensions they felt, or any challenges they faced around the client–therapist relationship. This book addresses the main questions that arose.
We would like to extend our thanks to all the participants of this study, who so generously gave their time and shared with us the questions that most concern them about the therapeutic relationship.Writing the book
Rosanne is the principal author for this book, and Mick acted as consultant. We worked, together, on the questions that we wanted to address. Rosanne then drafted each chapter, which was commented on by Mick with suggested revisions. Rosanne then redrafted with further comments and revisions from Mick.Structure of the book
The book begins at the start of the relationship, looking at setting the therapeutic frame and the boundaries you might want to put in place. We also look at different ways of managing the ending. Chapter 2 discusses the important aspect of collaboration between you and your clients. We then move on to questions around the quality of empathic [Page xii]listening and some of the challenges for you, as the therapist, leading onto questions around the level of care and warmth you might show your client, and how that care might be perceived and interpreted. Chapter 5 looks at the notion of being ‘real’ in the relationship, and explores the balance between professional expert and a human, personal approach. Chapter 6 discusses the value and challenges of different levels of relating. Chapter 7 looks at the therapeutic relationship with children and young people, and finally we consider additional considerations needed in telephone and online counselling.
We hope you enjoy our discussions of the issues raised, and find in these pages some useful guidance that may help you as you navigate your way through the rich and varied therapeutic relationships you experience.
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