Four Approaches to Counselling and Psychotherapy

Four Approaches to Counselling and Psychotherapy

Four Approaches to Counselling and Psychotherapy

Four Approaches to Counselling and Psychotherapy


Four Approaches to Counselling and Psychotherapy provides an essential introduction to and overview of the main therapeutic approaches used in psychotherapy and counselling today. Written clearly and concisely, it will have international appeal as an ideal introductory text for all those embarking on psychotherapy and counselling courses. The authors trace the development of counselling and psychotherapy, and examine the relationship between the two. They then consider the four main models of psychotherapy - psychodynamic, humanistic, integrative and cognitive-behavioural - before focusing on the most popular approach from each, including: person-centred, rational emotive behavioural, and multimodal. Each approach is clearly examined in terms of its historical context and development, its main theoretical concepts, and its aims. In the final chapter these approaches are compared, with the examination of a case vignette from the point of view of each approach by four well-known therapists.


'When 7 use a word, ' Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less.'

'The question is, ' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is, ' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master-that's all.'

From Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll (1871)

If we told you that exorcism, shamanism, hypnotism, even witchcraft all have something in common with counselling and psychotherapy, you would probably be very surprised. Yet they all represent humanity's response to the healing of emotional problems down through the ages. Long ago in Paleolithic times emotional distress was thought to occur when the soul left the body, either accidentally or when it was stolen by ghosts or sorcerers. The healer, or shaman, cured the individual by searching for this lost soul and restoring it to its owner. A later idea was that frustrated wishes led to disease; lovesickness and homesickness were considered prime causes. Therapy among the Iroquois Indians of North East America in the seventeenth century used dreams to access unfulfilled wishes. In a grand Festival of Dreams, the person would be given whatever it was they desired in the belief that this would effect a cure.

Like counselling and psychotherapy, all these methods involve a professional relationship between the person with a problem seeking help and a trained specialist offering to provide help. They all have theories about how emotional problems come about and these theories determine what kind of help is given. The seminal book The Discovery of the Unconscious by Ellenberger (1970) describes the wide variety of methods used in ancient times right up to the present day; today's diversity is nothing new.

The growth of counselling and psychotherapy

Counselling and psychotherapy are relatively recent phenomena and are currently enjoying enormous popularity. A glance in the national papers

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