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What Is Counselling?
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What Is Counselling?
The Promise and Problem of the Talking Therapies

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


September 1995 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
`The text... flows comfortably and confidently, leading the reader by the hand through the problems associated with defining counselling, counselling's cousins to the emergence of contemporary counselling... and what a stimulating, enjoyable and challenging text it is. Having read the book I experienced the same sense of buoyant optimism with which I leave my supervision sessions... Unlike live supervision, the book will sit on my shelf and be available when I need the nurture. To other practitioners I would say "go on, treat yourself"... every word is relevant and necessary. I have enjoyed reading it, learned much from it and found little to disagree with' - Counselling, The Journal of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

For those seeking an honest appraisal of the activity and profession of counselling, the author of this rigorous examination of the talking therapies asks such key questions as: How has counselling evolved and why is it flourishing now in Western society? What are the limits on its applications? What social functions does it serve? Who benefits from it and who does not? What is its intellectual standing?

Colin Feltham brings contemporary counselling into focus by comparisons with other modern and historical helping services, religious and philosophical analyses of the human condition, and the present socio-economic context. He also discusses the topical issue of professionalization, and examines the arguments concerning the alleged differences between counselling and psychotherapy. He demonstrates that it is extremely difficult to define counselling in a way which fairly, unambiguously and accurately places it beyond misunderstanding and which reasonably distinguishes it from other similar activities.

Alvin R Mahrer
Foreword
 
Introduction
 
Defining Counselling
 
Counselling's Cousins
 
The Emergence of Contemporary Counselling
 
Models of Counselling
 
Counselling, Religious Concepts and Critiques
 
Counselling, Philosophical Concepts and Critiques
 
Counselling, Socio-Political Concepts and Critiques
 
The Identity of Counselling
Science, Faith or Art?

 
 
The Future of Counselling
A Personal View

 

`This is one of the most challenging and thought-provoking books I have read for a long while. Colin Feltham... brings together a lively style, a depth of knowledge and a concern about the counselling scene, and the result rattles any complacent certainties we may have about our work and our profession... Vision and compassion (and humour) shine out of this book. It is worth having in any counselling library' - [ac]Eisteach, The Journal of the Irish Association for Counselling and Therapy

`The text... flows comfortably and confidently, leading the reader by the hand through the problems associated with defining counselling, counselling's cousins to the emergence of contemporary counselling... and what a stimulating, enjoyable and challenging text it is. Having read the book I experienced the same sense of buoyant optimism with which I leave my supervision sessions... Unlike live supervision, the book will sit on my shelf and be available when I need the nurture. To other practitioners I would say "go on, treat yourself"... every word is relevant and necessary. I have enjoyed reading it, learned much from it and found little to disagree with' - Counselling, The Journal of the British Association for Counselling

`I was hooked... it has been a long time since I have been unable to put a book down until it was finished... chapters are full of historical information with an unbiased range of opinions from all the therapeutic schools. Looking at counselling within a philosophical, religious and sociopolitical framework was stimulating, and Feltham has brought together a wide variety of ideas on these subjects. His writing style is accessible and he is not afraid to appeal to the reader through the use of humour... I would highly recommend this book. Colin Feltham has brought together all the elements that have or do influence counselling, including placing counselling in a social context' - British Psychological Society Counselling Psychology Review

`We welcome a book that honestly faces difficulties and leads the reader in an authoritative and lively style through what the author calls this "smorgasbord of therapies". Feltham not only describes the main (and some more peripheral) models and schools of counselling, but he also relates these to the belief systems, whether philosophical, religious or socio-political, from which they emerge... anyone working in cognate fields will surely find interest in and gain insights from this excellent account' - The Samaritan

`A rigorous assessment of the current status of counselling' - Scientific & Medical Network Newsletter

`Provides an excellent critique of the counselling profession, placing it in the context of its historical and philosophical development. A chapter on "counselling's cousins" helpfully compares and contrasts counselling with associated but different approaches' - British Medical Journal

`Colin Feltham sets out to do an impressive task in this book. In 166 pages he attempts to define counseling, trace its history, justify its existence and describe its many manifestations. These goals are... all met in this book... Feltham provides a concise integration of many themes relevant to professional counselors in a book that is both well written and interesting. Many of the chapters could stand as useful monographs on their own... His assessments of therapy and its many modes are insightful and impartial... He does not fail to mention and address some of the popular criticisms levied against psychotherapy, such as conflicting studies evaluating therapy's effectiveness. In the end, however, his presentation is a positive one that sees counseling as having continued potential for the future. What Is Counselling? will be of particular interest to all students and teachers of counseling, regardless of their field, who seek a brief but expansive consideration of the many forms of counseling' - Contemporary Psychology

`Distinctive and mature... [an] ambitious and original book' - Psychology Teaching Review

`Comprehensive yet concise... This book is provocative reading on the serious subjects of the proper roles for counselors and the appropriate interface with other disciplines' - National Association of Rehabilitation Professionals in the Private Sector (NARPPS) Journal

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