The wide-ranging contexts in which counselling and psychotherapy is now practiced means clients present with a range of risks that therapists have to respond to. Risk is an ever-present issue for counsellors and psychotherapists and, in an increasingly litigious culture, the need for trainees to develop a sound understanding of how the right tools and the right knowledge can support their practice has never been greater. In this book Andrew Reeves takes trainees, newly qualified practitioners, and more experienced practitioners step-by-step through what is meant by risk, offering practical hints and tips and links to policy and research to inform good ethical practice along the way.

This book tackles: The definition of risk and how risk is linked to social, psychological and relational factors; Working with those who are at risk of suicide, self-injury, self-harm and/or are an endangerment to others; How therapists should respond to the risk in situations involving child protection, mental health crises, and in the therapeutic process itself; The positive side of risk-taking; How counsellors and psychotherapists can work with risk proactively and positively, informed by research.

Filled with case studies, ethical dilemmas, reflective questions, discussion questions and further reading, this book offers counsellors and psychotherapists guidance on how they can work with risk proactively and positively. It is an essential resource for all services, organisations and individual practitioners.

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter Outline

This introductory chapter presents a context for the exploration of risk in counselling and psychotherapy. It presents risk as an integral part of the therapeutic process that is deserving of attention and exploration and then frames it as a relational process, as well as a factor that is worthy of a more discrete consideration. The importance of contracting is discussed in which the nature and form of risk, as well as therapist response to risk situations, can be explored. The chapter will then consider how the book is structured, offering a brief overview of each chapter and how they relate to practice.

Beginnings

When we begin training as counsellors and psychotherapists we are often focused on all the good that can come out of successful ...

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