Working at relational depth in counselling and psychotherapy

Mearns, Dave and Cooper, Mick (2005) Working at relational depth in counselling and psychotherapy. Sage, London, UK. ISBN 0761944583

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Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy goes to the very heart of the therapeutic meeting between therapist and client. Focusing on the concept of 'relational depth', Dave Mearns and Mick Cooper describe a form of encounter in which therapist and client experience profound feelings of contact and engagement with each other, and in which the client has an opportunity to explore whatever is experienced as most fundamental to her or his existence. Drawing from their own practice, interviews with therapists and a diverse range of theoretical and empirical sources, the authors address the key question of how therapists can meet their clients at a level of relational depth. Mearns and Cooper show how different aspects of the therapist combine to facilitate a relationally-deep encounter, highlight the various personal 'blocks' which may be encountered along the way, and introduce new therapeutic concepts - such as 'holistic listening' - which can help therapists to meet their clients at this level. Two powerful case studies - a client with a drink problem and a traumatised client - have been selected to illustrate key aspects of working at relational depth. Like many of the ideas discussed in this book, the case studies represent a challenge to conventional thinking about the therapist-client relationship and the nature of the therapeutic process. Eagerly awaited by many counsellors and psychotherapists, 'Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy' is a source of fresh thinking and stimulating ideas about the therapeutic encounter which are relevant to trainees and practitioners of all orientations.