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.

Positive Risk-Taking

Positive risk-taking

Chapter Outline

This chapter will assert that all therapists engage in a collaborative positive risk-taking with clients. The term ‘positive risk-taking’ will be explored and defined, and scenarios will be outlined to demonstrate it ‘in action’. The benefits of positive risk-taking for therapeutic change will be highlighted, with important factors for therapists to consider to ensure they and their clients remain safe, and that therapy itself remains ethical and respectful.


Let me begin this chapter by presenting you with a scenario, the nature of which will be fairly familiar to many of you. The scenario relates to Darren.


Darren is 23 years old and has come to counselling on the advice of his GP. His relationship has broken down acrimoniously and he now has little ...

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