This is an excellent book that I found very encouraging. It covers both how and why the use of self can be effective, it looks at how "errors" can be utilised but also gives a wise warning that although a CR may leave behind some teaching, she needs the roots of methodology to spring from.
I found my own style reflected in much of her approach, even though I am only a budding CR, and this was very affirming, helping me to look at how I could do more to help my clients but still feeling I was doing a good enough job.
Since its publication in 1999, this book has become recommended reading for counselling trainees and professionals alike, particularly those who, like Val Wosket herself, have begun to question their place within the theoretical schools to which they were initially drawn. Immensely readable and jargon-free, she sets out to demonstrate how the unique self of the trained, self-aware therapist, one who is willing to use client-responsive, intuitive and perhaps, unorthodox practices, can greatly expand the capacity of effective therapy. She looks at little discussed subjects such as the value of making mistakes and the increased client connectedness which can come once liberated from the tyranny of being the 'perfect therapist'. She has also gathered evidence from a sizeable number of practitioners about the benefits accrued from breaking the rules of counselling and from working at the edge and beyond of commonly accepted boundaries. Wosket illustrates her ideas with a research study based on one eighteen month counselling relationship, in which both parties kept a written record of the interaction. It is a marvellously illuminating documentation of the inner worlds of the counselling process from two, sometimes convergent, sometimes divergent, points of view. Readers are enthusiastically urged to consider researching their own counselling practice in order to reap the considerable rewards of the learning which can take place from such an activity. The book contains many other examples from Val Wosket's own practice. Her compassion, intelligence and wisdom shine through but she is also careful to detail her own shadow side and doubts about her competencies. She talks courageously and sometimes, painfully, about her difficult family background, traumatic life events and how these have impacted on her work as a therapist and a trainer. She strongly argues the case that development of the self must be an integral part of any training course. Perhaps the most striking thing about this book is how much it resonates afterwards. The soul laid bare on the pages, the all-seeing eye turned inwards makes us feel that we have been priveleged to receive a wonderful gift. This experience in itself is a powerful model of how the therapeutic use of self can and should be used as an equally loving gift to all our clients.