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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb handbook for trainees and experienced therapists alike., 12 April 2010
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Self-help junkie (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Understanding Counselling and Psychotherapy (Published in association with The Open University) (Paperback)
Fantastic overview of the complex field of counselling and psychotherapy. The contributors are all eminent in their respective fields, but have written in a clear and accessible style while not over-simplifying the issues . One of the things I particularly like about the overview of theoretical models is the attempt to summarise their underlying philosophical basis - something often skated over on courses. By being clear about underlying philosophies, we can better understand the differences in emphases between differeing models - and even appreciate their incompatabilities. There is an excellent section looking at the role of research in counselling and psychtherapy, and even a chapter devoted to the burgeoning field of online work.
As a general introductory text, I think this cannot be faulted. But even for much more experienced practitioners there is a lot to be gained from careful study of this text. The suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter are well chosen: not great lists, but two or three key texts to turn to for further argument.
Very impressed!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for entry level counselling courses, 6 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Understanding Counselling and Psychotherapy (Published in association with The Open University) (Paperback)
I bought this for additional reading to accompany counselling course. Easy to read, well laid out and with practical examples interspersed throughout text. Only focuses on fear and sadness (which it says in introduction) but it is a good source for further reading / research. Contains more information about the theoretical side of counselling than practical, but would recommend for anyone doing Level 2, possibly Level 3 in counselling skills / listening skills etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets, 8 July 2014
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This review is from: Understanding Counselling and Psychotherapy (Published in association with The Open University) (Paperback)
As far as overview books on psychotherapy and counselling go, I am happy to say that this one is good as it gets.

It is comprehensive, up-to-date (although, by now, only just...), and not only it explains what psychoanalytical, humanistic, existential-phenomenological, cognitive-behavioural and systemic therapies are all about, but also it provides excellent recommendations for further reading. Personally I found the thorough chapter on mindfulness a complete waste of time (because I snigger at all New Age or 'Buddhist' nonsense), and the 'family sculpting' stuff made me laugh out loud, but that's another great thing about this book: it shows equal respect for all the main approaches it presents, by not taking any sides - and it shows the same respect to us, the reader, by allowing us to make up our own mind about which approach appeals the most.

The importance of research, and its many thorny issues, plus general reasons why counselling and psychotherapy are criticized overall, are also well explained. All the authors are careful not to step on any toes, and so we often have to read between the lines and go do some further research by ourselves, if we want to find out, for example, what is considered good and bad practice. The book also shows how sociocultural issues permeate every single aspect of psychotherapeutic theory and practice - and that we ignore these at our own peril.

Overall, a fantastic book for budding practitioners, as well as for clients trying to decide which kind of therapy would suit him/her best.
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