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Critical Thinking in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Critical Thinking in Counselling and Psychotherapy

  • Colin Feltham - Emeritus Professor of Counselling & Psychotherapy, Sheffield Hallam University

June 2010 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This innovative new textbook examines the critical debates around key topics in counselling and psychotherapy. In nine sections including Everyday Counselling Practice, Training and Curriculum Issues, and Counselling, Society and Culture, Colin Feltham explores 60 provocative questions central to counselling training and practice.

Ranging from more mainstream subjects like unconditional positive regard, ethics and supervision to broader social or philosophical issues such as employment concerns and the debate on assisted suicide, entries include:

- Why have we focused on core theoretical models?

- What are the pros and cons of short-term, time-limited counselling?

- What's wrong with CBT?

- Where is research taking us?

- Is statutory regulation a good and inevitable development?

- Are there limits to personal change in counselling?

Each section includes questions for reflection, case studies and student exercises. This comprehensive, student-friendly text is a useful resource for lecturers to stimulate seminar discussion, and for all trainees wishing to write essays or generally develop their critical thinking in counselling and psychotherapy.

Introduction: What Is Critical Thinking?
What Are the Pros and Cons of Unconditional Positive Regard?
How Important Are Boundaries in Counselling Practice?
What Form Should Assessment Take?
Is Eclecticism as Bad as the Bad Press It's Had?
What Are the Pros and Cons of Short-Term, Time-Limited Counselling?
What's Wrong with Counsellor Self-Disclosure?
How Crucial Are Counselling Ethics?
Can You Counsel Effectively When Affected by Illness or Personal Troubles?
Does It Matter if Empathy Is Not Matched by Personal Experience?
Is Training Necessary?
Who Is Suitable to Be a Counsellor?
Should Men Counsel?
How Important Is the Trainee's Own Personal Therapy?
Why Have We Focused on Core Theoretical Models?
How Much Is Theory Related to Practice?
Are Colleges and Universities the Best Places to Train Counsellors?
How Necessary Is Psychology to Counselling?
How Might Counselling Be Expanded as an Academic Subject?
Who Founds Schools of Counselling and Why?
Which Theories of Human Development Are Most Relevant in Counselling Training and Practice?
How Do Genes, Personality, Object Relations and Life Events Interact?
What Roles Do Chance, Destiny and Control Play in Our Lives?
What's Wrong with Psychoanalytic Therapy?
What Are the Limitations of the Person-centred Approach?
What's Wrong with CBT?
Who Owns Counselling?
Do We Need Supervision Forever?
Where Is Research Taking us?
Is Statutory Regulation a Good and Inevitable Development?
What Are the Differences between Counselling, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, Clinical and Counselling Psychology?
How Buoyant or Otherwise Is the Job Market for Counsellors?
How Should We Respond to Clients' Views and Complaints?
How Important Are 'Social Contexts of Counselling' as a Component of Training?
Can Counselling be a Countercultural Activity?
How Much Should Counsellors Charge?
Whatever happened to Self-Analysis, Co-Counselling, Group and Social Therapy?
Are We Counselling on a Dying Planet?
Does Counselling Rest on Faith and Hope?
Are Life, Training and Counselling Part of a 'Journey'?
Can Counselling Make You Enlightened?
Whatever Happened to Free Will and Willpower?
Do we Need to Have a View about the World/Reality/Existence Itself?
Is Counselling Non-directive and Value-Free?
Is It All about the Relationship?
Does the Client Know Best?
Must Counselling Embrace an Optimistic View of Human Nature and Potential?
Can Counselling or Psychotherapy Help People with Serious Mental-Health Problems?
Are We All Neurotic?
Are There Limits to Personal Change in Counselling?
Which Undiscovered Diagnostic Categories Might There Be?
Is the Human Species Anthropathological?
How Much Depends on the Client?
Is Counselling Primarily a Heartfelt Activity?
Is Counselling Scientific?
What to Think about Suicide?
What Is the Future for Couple Counselling?
Why Has Counselling Had So Many Detractors?
To What Extent Is Counselling Reliant on Illusions?
Who Is the 'Person of Tomorrow'?
What Does the Writer Really Think?

Critical thinking should be a core attribute of the thinking practitioner. Feltham raises many important issues concerning practice, research, training, professionalisation, etc. Rather than providing answers, Feltham invites the reader to reflect on the topic from many different angles. This book therefore provides an excellent resource for teachers on counselling and supervision courses.

Dr Els Van Ooijen
School of Social Sciences, University of Wales, Newport
October 5, 2011

This text provides students with a critical review regarding counselling theory and the skills required for the practice setting.

Professor Caitriona Nic Philibin
school of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dublin Trinity College
October 3, 2011

Feltham has really captured the central idea around critical thinking within this text, and the way that he poses questions for personal review rather than to offer answers and 'the truth' is an excellent teaching tool for encouraging reflective practice. In essence he poses an issue and then asks "So what do you think, given this information?" An excellent addition to our suggested reading list.

Mr Trevor Smith
Centre for Addiction Treatment Studies, Bath University
September 21, 2011

Comprehensive and up to date volume for final year counsellors in training, developing as reflective practitioners.

Mr James Pope
HE Counselling, KGV College/Edge Hill University
September 9, 2011

This book will be a fantastic asset for our course as it covers many core topics relating to counselling training. I will have no hesitation in recommending it to our students and will be ordering copies as a resource for our course.

Ms Jenny Skett
Counselor Education , Cornwall College
September 8, 2011

This is a very useful book, both for undergraduates who are exploring in a theoretical way some of the issues involved in counselling, and for postgraduates who are actually training in the profession. After the introduction, each chapter addresses a specific question: eg "who founds schools of counselling and why?" and "how important are boundaries in counselling practice?". One or more peices of further reading are suggested in each chapter, and case studies and questions for discussion included in some sections. Chapters are short and pithy enough to use for assignments or in-class discussions.

Ms Jane Keeton
Psychology , Wolverhampton University
August 19, 2011

This is a very readable series of brief provocative essays gauranteed to provoke some critical thinking. Ocassionally there is an absence of adequate referencing, but this book seems to be intended not as a academic tome, but a stimulation for thinking.

I will certainly use it in teaching and recommend to students ... The book contains a number of challenge and case study exercises that could be very helpful in small group exercises.

However, most art therapy practitioners work in some kind of 'public' or 'third' sector employment and the author's perspective is mainly concerned with that of the individual self-employed practitioner. So for example, the discussion on suicide and protection of the public seem only partial to me as an art therapist working in the NHS. These essays are nevertheless, good sustenance for thinking and I will definitely have a look at more of Feltham's writing. Dr Chris Wood: Art Therapy Northern Programme Sheffield (SHSC).

Dr Chris Wood
Art Therapy Northern Programme , Leeds Metropolitan University
August 13, 2011

An interesting and informative read. This book explores some of the key themes in counselling and offers thought provoking ways of viewing them.

Mr Richard Carroll
School of Health , Guildford College of Further and Higher Education
May 18, 2011

An essential thought provoking book for both the reflective counsellor and student counsellor assignments requiring critical thinking and analysis

Mrs Angela Fairhurst
AQA Counselling, Kidderminster and District Training Centre
April 1, 2011

An interestingly presented book that gives a critical perspective on a whole range of relevant counselling issues, as well as to present a way for counsellors to critically think

Mr Peter Cardew
Health & Post Graduate Medicine, Central Lancashire University
March 30, 2011

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Everyday Counselling Practice

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