The Therapeutic Environment: Core Conditions for Facilitating Therapy

The Therapeutic Environment: Core Conditions for Facilitating Therapy

The Therapeutic Environment: Core Conditions for Facilitating Therapy

The Therapeutic Environment: Core Conditions for Facilitating Therapy

Synopsis

Psychology bookshelves are filled with texts on different theories of how to do therapy and why one specific theory will work better than all the others. Yet the fact is research proves over and over again that all theories can work under the right conditions. This book takes a unique look at the specifics of those conditions that are facilitative to all forms of therapy, and how they are identified in different theories.

The diverse experiences and viewpoints of an American humanistic therapist and a British psychodynamic therapist are brought together to explore the essential conditions needed for therapy to succeed. Extensive use of first-hand examples and thorough academic support combine to create vivid text, a sound theoretical base and practical therapeutic applications. The opening chapters draw on substantial research evidence which suggests that all theoretical approaches are equally effective in the hands of good therapists. It proposes that an important factor contributing to this effectiveness is the environment in which therapy is practised. Three central chapters give in-depth explorations of the unique ways in which the broad theoretical orientations of Psychodynamic, Existential-Humanistic, and Cognitive-Behavioural deal with the philosophy, labelling, function, perspective and implementation of a facilitative environment. A concluding chapter synthesizes information from these diverse orientations to identify core commonalities and critical differences between how therapists from different theoretical persuasions develop common understandings, maintain working client relationships and regulate their personal involvement in therapy.

Excerpt

A major aspect of intellectual and cultural lite in the twentieth century has been the study of psychology — present of course for many centuries in practical form and expression in the wisdom and Insight to be found in spirituality, in literature and in the dramatic arts, as well as in arts of healing and guidance, both in the East and West. In parallel with the deepening interest in the inner processes of character and relationships in the novel and theatre in the nineteenth century, psychiatry reformulated its understanding of the human mind, and encouraged, in those brave enough to challenge the myths of mental illness, new methods of exploration of psychological processes.

The second half of the twentieth century in particular witnessed an explosion of interest both in theories about personality, psychological development, cognition and behaviour, as well as in the practice of therapy, or perhaps more accurately, the therapies. It also saw, as is not uncommon in any intellectual discipline, battles between theories and therapists of different persuasions, particularly between psychoanalysis and behavioural psychology, and each in turn with humanistic and transpefsonal therapies, as well as within the major schools themselves. Such arguments are not surprising, and indeed objectively can be seen as healthy — potentially promoting greater precision in research, alternative approaches to apparently intractable problems, and deeper understanding of the wellsprings of human thought, emotion and behaviour. It is nonetheless disturbing that for many decades there was such a degree of sniping and entrenchment of positions from therapists who should have been able to look mote closely at their own responses and rivalries. If is as if . . .

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