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on 15 November 2006
This is one of the recommended texts for the certificate in counselling skills, which I am taking. It is very easy to read, and has some great examples, as well as bringing up some challenging issues for would be counsellors to help them to determine whether counselling would be for them. Perhaps some of the examples are a little extreme, but it does provide wonderful food for thought. Structurally, it follows and describes the person-centred approach one step at a time, and is therefore a good textbook for a course. If you are thinking about person centred counselling as a training or career option, this would be a good way to introduce yourself to the topic.
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on 7 September 2002
A must for beginners in Counselling. This book held my hand whilst coming to grips with my college course in 'Person-Centred Counselling'. for a while, it was my bible it helped to make a complicated and sensitive subject clearer. I successfully completed my RSA certificate in Counselling and am about to start a more advanced course. The help from this book has encouraged me to buy another purchase from the same series, 'Psycho-dynamic Counselling in Action'.
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on 14 September 2004
As a trainee counsellor, I was glad I'd chosen this book to join my recommended reading pile. I found the case studies facinating, especially the one which follows an entire beginning, middle & ending. The counsellor allows this client to explore her suicide fantasy in a way she never could before. Fortunately, she doesn't carry this out. What is clear from this case study is the real intimacy shared between client & counsellor. The final request by the client of her counsellor may seem slightly out of turn but it seems quite fitting.
Apart from that, the author writes in such a way that you don't see these skills as something you learn to do. Rather, they become a way of being. I refer back to this book time & time again as you are able to pick out bits you need without reading it cover to cover. There are more indepth books available but this is a concise, easy to read accompaniment which also includes a review, some years later from the client featured in the main case study. This is matched up with the counsellors notes - both of which make it well worth a read.
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on 10 September 2009
This book is about person-centred counselling, specifically about ways of being and doing that novice and experienced counsellors alike can incorporate into their work. The authors wrote the book when person-centred counselling was becoming more popular in Europe, and felt it was a suitable time for two British counsellors to write a book on the fundamentals of the approach. The work is written from the authors' point of view and gives examples of their and others' experiences.
This book is primarily a source of information, however it is brought to life by many examples of good and bad practice. Towards the end of the book, there is also a case study focusing on a counselling relationship with one particular lady, Joan, which drew attention to the main topics to consider during beginnings, middles and endings. Person-Centred Counselling in Action belongs to the Psychology genre, and is what might be described as an "introductory guide to person-centred counselling". Despite the above definition of this book as an "introductory guide", I believe its intended audience is both trainees and experienced counsellors.
Mearns and Thorne write in a formal style, however there is very little jargon used when discussing the issues which come up in the counselling room. For example, p.33: "...she [the counsellor] is not interested in playing power games or scoring points". This is stated in a way that anyone could understand, making the book accessible to all. Even if jargon words are used, they are quickly defined so we can be in no doubt as to what the authors are referring to, for example see the various definitions of differing types of empathy on page 45 such as "accurate empathy" and "additive empathy". This book flows naturally and is easy to read, especially the explanations of the three core conditions, and the final three chapters where there is a sense of development through Joan's counselling sessions.
This book affected me in various ways. Firstly, I was struck by the occasions on which "boundaries" were violated during the case study and examples, mainly by the counsellor touching the client. The reason I call this a boundary violation is because I had often been told during my COSCA Certificate course that touching of any kind was never appropriate. However, I can certainly appreciate the authors' point of view and can understand why touch might be important. Secondly, I found myself a little shell-shocked on finishing the book as I realised the number of mistakes it is likely I will make in my training, though comforted to know that is a normal thing to happen. Lastly I found the discussion of "blocks" and "stuckness" extremely helpful as it is good to know the types of things which may get in the way of mutuality.
I believe this book has achieved its goal; it explains the fundamental aspects of person-centred counselling in a language that is easy to understand, and gives the trainee counsellor a glimpse of what to expect. I would recommend this book to others as an accessible introduction to the person-centred counselling approach.
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on 29 November 1999
Having read much of CArl Rogers' work, this was like someone had written about it in colour instead of black and white! An excellent book, clearly written, outlining how the person-centred approach works in practice. I can highly recommend it, especially to counselling students.
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on 13 March 2001
What a brilliant book!!!, the authors' clearly mark out the importance of the core conditions in an easy to read fashion. This book speaks plain english and is a must for all trainee counsellors. I like the way Mearns and Thorn portray their skills and experiences and I am looking forward to reading more of their work.
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on 26 January 2010
I was looking for information to help me understand, describe and then be able to share through the development of a training course, the elements and impact of any person centred service. This book is brilliant - from its definition (quote from Carl Rogers)to the easily understood elements of a person centred service, to the crucial role and attitude of the professional involved. The evidence the book provided on the benefits of this process confirmed my theories on the topic. One purchase provided everything I needed - just have to write the training course now!
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on 19 January 2010
Excellent book,a must have for people who intend to learn how to, or indeed practice ,person centred counselling.This book gives examples of counselling session scenarios and explains them,giving insight into the practical side of counselling as well as the theory.Thoroughly discusses Carl Rogers core principles of empathy congruence and acceptance.Very student friendly,giving a very clear description and insight into the person centred approach in counselling.Outstanding book,well done to both authors.
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on 6 July 2009
This book was on the recommended reading list for the certificate in counselling course. I'm really glad I bought it because it's very easy to read, and everything is explained in a straight forward way - nothing is rocket science.

I am sure I will keep referring back to this book throughout my Diploma course and beyond. Well worth the money.
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on 26 October 2010
Having just started a counselling course i realised i needed some more information. My tutor said to get this book. It is written in clear, comprehensible language. Not a lot of "jargon" which often gets in the way when you start a new subject to study. Brill!
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