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Psychodynamic Counselling in Action

Psychodynamic Counselling in Action

Fifth Edition

October 2017 | 168 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Audio book out now.

This substantially revised fifth edition of a classic text includes an updated preface, new content on the therapeutic
relationship, substantially revised chapters on the middle phase of counselling and reflections on the influence of other modalities and shared aspects of practice across approaches. Each chapter now includes an annotated Further Reading section to help deepen knowledge and reinforce learning of key aspects of the counselling process.

Foreword by John D. Sutherland
Preface to the Fifth Edition
Introducing the Psychodynamic Approach
The First Session
After the First Session
The Importance of Time and Boundaries
The Middle Phase of Counselling: Depth and Defensiveness
The Middle Phase of Counselling: The Centrality of the Therapeutic Relationship
Breaks and Endings

Brilliant, enlightening, practical. A gem of a book.

British Journal of Guidance and Counselling


This is one of a very small number of books that manage to describe simply, but not simplistically, what analytic work involves.

British Journal of Medical Psychology


One of the most reliable (and readable) guides to what is involved in counselling… Jacobs' well-organised and comprehensive summaries of the main theories and his illustrations of psychodynamic counselling drawn from his own work will inspire students and trainees on counselling and therapy courses. They will also interest (and create envy) in more experienced readers.

Professor Andrew Samuels, Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex

Endorsements Misc


Michael Jacobs writes about counselling in such a lucid, related, succinct and fluid way! This book is a delight to read. Having endorsed the fourth edition, I can now commend the substantial new features of this revised fifth version. These include a new and up-to-the-minute take on what constitutes the therapy relationship, and a suggestive and creative understandings of the value of defences and resistances. The intersections between psychodynamic and other approaches are thoughtfully presented. The book is surely a ‘must’ for training courses but more experienced practitioners will also learn a thing or two. I did.

Andrew Samuels
Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex, Co-Editor of Relational Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Counselling

Michael Jacobs’s textbook for students and practitioners of psychodynamic therapy became a huge success upon its initial publication, and it remains the gold standard to this day.  Written with welcome clarity, deep compassion, and with both a clinical and a practical intelligence, Jacobs will be the perfect guide for trainees in this increasingly important field of endeavor.

Professor Brett Kahr
Senior Fellow, Tavistock Relationships, Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, London, and Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Psychotherapy and Mental Health, Centre for Child Mental Health, London.

Good foundation book for the year 1 course

Mr Gary Aldridge
Psychology, West Herts College
November 17, 2023

Psychodynamic Counselling in Action is a good book to introduce students to the practice of psychodynamic counselling. With vignettes extracted from his own clinical work, Michael Jacobs links theory to practice in a clear and accessible way. As well as further reading, the end of each chapter provides useful experiential exercises to promote further thinking and solidify learning.

Mrs Ana Paula Wellbrook
Counselling and Psychology, City Lit
August 8, 2019

This is a very well-presented of the foundations and some more contemporary developments in psychodynamic counselling which will be useful for counselling trainees and qualified practitioners as well.

Dr Nicholas Sarantakis
Department of Counselling Studies, York St John University
October 31, 2017