The concerns addressed in this book are: the major experiences of counselling from the perspective of the client, how a counsellor experiences the counselling role, and what can be learned for the practice of counselling from an understanding of how it feels to be a client or a counsellor. Central to the book are reflections and "stories" of a number of clients and counsellors. The authors explore their own experiences of counselling and the issues raised for them, for example about expectations, fears, trust, power, identity and relationship boundaries. They examine the intense personal meanings of "success" or "failure" in the client or counsellor role. Other studies of client and counsellor experiences are also reviewed. Dave Mearns and Windy Dryden conclude the book with an analysis of the key themes which have emerged, and the implications for the development of the client-counsellor relationship and the counselling process.
`This is one of the best books I have seen in the field of counselling, and it would be of interest to any counsellor or psychotherapist who is in training... some of the chapters are quite brilliant... I shall recommend this very strongly to the trainees and supervisees that I come across in my work, because there are very few books like this about - in fact, I can't think of one which even comes close. Not only that, it is also a book which would be equally useful to the humanistic practitioner and the more orthodox traditional one. There is a breadth of sympathy about this book which is admirable in not making heavy weather of contrasting theoretical configurations, but instead dealing with what is common to all orientations. There are many hints and tips which can be extracted from this book, and reading it is like having a conversation with a wise practitioner with a lot of experience who is really good at passing it on. What I am looking for all the time in this field is a book which does justice both to the human experiences involved in counselling and psychotherapy, and to the theory which might explain those experiences. This is one of those rare books which does both' - Self & Society
`a strikingly original book... a carefully crafted tapestry of chapters which takes the reader through much of the joy and despair of the therapeutic enterprise in a way which is always interesting and often deeply moving... the richness of... the whole book will provide much encouragement to counsellors in their darkest hours' - British Journal of Medical Psychology
`How hard it is to find a book to recommend to trainees, which will give them an insight into what counselling (and psychotherapy too, for that matter) is really like. This book does exactly that... This is a book which would be equally useful to the humanistic practitioner and the more orthodox one. The breadth of sympathy is admirable in dealing with what is common to all orientations. This is one of those rare books which does justice both to the human experiences involved in counselling and psychotherapy, and to the theory which might explain those experiences' - Changes
`The authors set out to compile a book in which experiences could be explored to "provide a stimulus to further study". In my view they certainly achieve what they set out to do... this book is a very important addition to the practitioner's bookshelf, mostly because its contents allow counsellors and trainers to reflect upon their work and their profession as a whole' - British Journal of Guidance and Counselling
`a sophisticated simplicity understandable by those experienced in the process of psychotherapy. It provides a stimulus for further study of many important and `cutting edge' ideas not readily amenable to empirical research investigation. A book most important to all counseling and psychotherapy practitioners' - Choice
`This often moving book offers important insights' - APCC Journal