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The Therapeutic Encounter

The Therapeutic Encounter
A Cross-modality Approach

February 2012 | 120 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
The therapeutic encounter is at the core of counselling and psychotherapy training and practice, regardless of therapeutic modality. This book introduces a cross-modality approach to the client-therapist encounter, drawing from humanistic, psychoanalytic, systemic, and integrative approaches.

Chapters introduce a range of client themes - the refusal to join in, the battle for control, the emotionally unavailable etc - and shows how these are enacted in the relationship. The authors invite you, as therapist, to interact creatively with the client, engaging directly in the drama. In this way, they provide a coherent framework within which to understand both the therapeutic relationship and the principles of their approach.

This book is highly recommended for any counselling and psychotherapy trainee, regardless of modality. It is a must-read, with each chapter directly addressing essential teaching and trainee concerns.

David Bott is the Director of Studies of Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Brighton and a UKCP registered Systemic Psychotherapist.

Pam Howard is Course Leader of the MA Psychotherapeutic Counselling at the University of Brighton and a UKCP registered Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

Theorising 'Process': Contemporary Perspectives
The Refusal to Join In
Dilemma: How Can I Take Part if I Can't Make a Mistake?

The Battle for Control
Dilemma: How Can I Find Love When I Can't Show That I'm Vulnerable?

Engaging with the Emotionally Unavailable
Dilemma: How Can I Get Close and Still be Myself?

The Need to be Loved
Dilemma: How Can I Keep Everyone Happy and Still Get My Own Needs Met?

An Inability to Relate
Dilemma: How Can I Get Love and Still Be Self-Sufficient?

Encountering Oppositionality
Dilemma: How Can I Get My Way When I Can't Say What I Want?

Conclusion: The Therapeutic Encounter: A Safe Emergency

'In 'The Therapeutic Encounter: a cross-modality approach' Bott and Howard have presented an interesting balance between theory and practice. Particularly engaging is their metaphor of the 'therapeutic dance' between therapist and client which leads to the enactment of 'the problem-saturated story' brought by the client. They devote separate chapters to six captivating examples from clinical practice, each with a particularly nuanced commentary fitting the case. An intriguing read, that will be of interest to trainees and practicing therapists alike' -
Professor Maria Gilbert, Joint Head of Integrative Department, Metanoia Institute

'Many years ago I came across the concept of 'crossing over' into other ways of seeing, not to adopt those ways of seeing, but in order to get a real perspective on one's own. Other ways of seeing inform our own, and often help us discover lost aspects or not yet discovered aspects of our own. The themes in this book clearly demonstrate how much that applies to psychotherapy and counselling models. See things from the perspective of other modalities, and you may well discover something startling about your own …' -
Michael Jacobs, Visiting professor, Bournemouth and Leeds Universities

'Some books are before their time and some are written too late, but The Therapeutic Encounter is a book 'just in time'. With a firm grasp of the unifying potential of relational process thinking, Bott and Howard deftly cut across the territories of the usual therapeutic modalities, flexibly shifting from theoretical frame to theoretical frame in order to reveal and act upon the stubborn particulars of each therapeutic scenario. The key insight - enabling the avoidance of theoretical chauvinism and easy eclecticism alike - is the organising principle of a series of dilemmas, contradictions and paradoxes which constitute ambivalent hotspots around which the narratives which pattern our lives are constructed. In prose which brings their cases to vivid emotional life, Bott and Howard show how these enduring themes of experience are both the root of recurrent problems and the source of novel solutions. This insight forms the common ground that allows psychoanalysts to communicate with systems theorists and person centred practitioners with narrative therapists. The result is not a training manual, but a timely intervention destined to calmly guide the counselling and psychotherapy community through its own current crisis of transition' -
Paul Stenner, Professor of Social Psychology, The Open University

This book was not quite what I was expecting. It's exactly the sort of debate I would generate with my students.

Mrs Izzy Poyntz
Department of Psychology, Roehampton University
December 12, 2014

Looking at the therapeutic relationship from differing perspectives is valuable.

Mr Simon O'Donohoe
Faculty of Care, Child Care, Entry Level, Counselling, and Landbased Studies, Carmarthenshire College
August 12, 2014

An interesting read which embraces the therapeutic relationship across various counselling approaches.

Mr David Wright
Health and Social Sciences, University Centre Grimsby
May 14, 2014

A very good book for integrating theory to practice , a book which students will understand as they apply a theoretical perspective to their practice. Written with compassion,warmth and humour it puts the relationship at the heart of the therapeutic encounter .

Mr Paul Cassedy
School of Nursing, Nottingham University
May 15, 2013

We will be highly recommending this book to our students to read over the summer between year one and two of the Diploma.

Mrs Susan Draper-Todkill
Counselling, South Nottingham College
March 19, 2013

Interesting, engaging and thought provoking throughout.

Mr Graham Westwell
Applied Health and Social Care, Edge Hill University
October 14, 2012

An accessible interdisciplinary approach.

Dr Stephen Brown
School of Applied Social Sciences, Brighton University
September 28, 2012

A straightforward read, with some interesting nuances and variations on the standard integrative approaches to counselling. It will be of interest to those students who are unfamiliar with pluralistic methods and want a broad base from which to start their exploration

Mrs Valerie Sanders
Counselor Education , University of Greenwich
May 15, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

For instructors

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