By Christine Lister-Ford

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Extra info for A Short Introduction to Psychotherapy (Short Introductions to the Therapy Professions)

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There is an emphasis on what Clarkson calls the ‘I–You relationship’ (Clarkson, 1992) – that is, what is occurring in the present between therapist and client. The practitioner does not seek to be anything more than he or she is at that time. They will not hide behind theory or methodology. The practitioner seeks to be flexible, responsive and involved with their clients. Early on in the therapy with Jason the therapist found Jason’s passivity and lack of involvement in the therapy challenging.

Jason’s depressive mood started to lift and he developed a sense of optimism. He used his growing self-awareness to further his development. Once the client had developed awareness then he might work through early experiences which are unresolved. The sense of wholeness that humanistic and integrative practitioners regard as central to their practice was experienced by the client as he relived past experiences with an intensity that he had denied himself originally. Jason allowed himself to feel the anger and sadness of deciding to ‘give up’ his childhood for his depressed mother.

Beck proposed that our cognitions affect our feelings, behaviour and physical responses. Throughout life we develop cognitive ‘schemas’ or templates, based on past experience, which in turn lead to selective perception and evaluation of stimuli that reinforce the schema. These schemas may be helpful or dysfunctional. Because cognitions are conscious we can access them and change them, thus interrupting the schema, and the thinking processes that maintain it, and this can then lead to changes in feelings and behaviours.

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