Understanding Counselling and Psychotherapy focuses on common problems such as anxiety and depression, exploring how different therapeutic approaches understand and work with them. Counselling and psychotherapy are considered within the wider context of their history and the mental health systems in which they are often located. In addition to this, the book introduces key aspects of the theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy, and the increasing relevance of research in this area.
- Section 1 introduces counselling and psychotherapy and the history of these professions, considering how current understandings of 'mental health problems' have been influenced by psychiatric diagnosis, biomedical approaches and psychoanalysis.
- Section 2 covers four key therapeutic approaches - humanistic, existential, cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness - exploring how they work with problems relating to fear and sadness.
- Section 3 focuses on therapeutic perspectives that specifically address problems in a wider context, such as relationships, families, cultural groups and society.
- Section 4 considers practice and research issues in counselling and psychotherapy, including the different contexts and settings in which these take place, the therapeutic relationship, and outcome and process research.
This accessible and stimulating text uses innovative activities and case illustrations to demonstrate how people experience common problems, and how counsellors and psychotherapists work with these.
Meg-John Barker is a senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University and a UKCP accredited psychotherapist. Meg-John has published many academic books and papers on topics including mindfulness, relationships, sexuality and gender, as well as co-editing the journal Psychology & Sexuality. They chaired production of the main counselling course at the Open University and co-edited the accompanying textbook Understanding Counselling and Psychotherapy, as well as writing further books on Mindful Counselling and Psychotherapy, and on Sexuality and Gender for Mental Health Professionals. Their main focus is on writing for the general public, drawing on academic and psychotherapeutic theories and research. They published the mindfulness-influenced self-help relationship book Rewriting the Rules in 2013, and 2016 saw the publication of The Secrets of Enduring Love (with Jacqui Gabb), a comic introduction to queer (with Julia Scheele), and a practical guide to sex (with Justin Hancock). Meg-John also informs UK policy and practice around sexuality and gender, and they are involved in running many public events including Critical Sexology. They blog about all these topics on www.megjohnbarker.com. Twitter: @megjohnbarker. Andreas Vossler is Director of the Foundation Degree in Counselling and Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the Open University. He is also a systemic trained couple and family psychotherapist. His current research activities focus on therapeutic work with couples and families, infidelity, Internet infidelity, and counselling and psychotherapy. Andreas is co-editor of the Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Handbook (2014) and Understanding Counselling and Psychotherapy (2010; both Sage). He has authored three textbooks and published 17 book chapters and 19 articles in peer-reviewed papers on topics related to counselling and psychotherapy (family therapy, infidelity, online counselling, health psychology, psychiatry) and research methods. Andreas is on the editorial board of Counselling Psychology Quarterly and Forum Community-Psychology.