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Common Presenting Issues in Psychotherapeutic Practice

Common Presenting Issues in Psychotherapeutic Practice

December 2013 | 200 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Learning how to work effectively with a broad range of clients and their presenting issues is a vital part of a career as a therapist, but engaging with the often conflicting worlds of descriptive psychopathology and the subjective meanings of the therapist and client is a real challenge for trainees. They have to develop the skills and knowledge that allow both approaches - one medical, one humanistic - to work successfully together.  


With the support of expert contributors, Pam James and Barbara Douglas help your students to confidently do just that, proving a comprehensive introduction to the theory, research and practice behind a range of common presenting issues. Key issues covered include:


- Anxiety

- Depression

- Trauma

- Bipolar disorder

- Psychosis

- Eating disorders

- Borderline personality disorder


This book should be on the desk of every counselling, psychotherapy and counselling psychology trainee, and is recommended reading for other practitioners of health and social care working with these common presenting issues.

Professor Ray Woolfe
With a contribution from Dr Carole Lund
Introduction (with Carol Lund)
With a contribution from Dr Mary Reid
Exploring anxiety (with Mary Reid)
With a contribution from Dr Dee Danchev
Exploring depression (with Dee Danchev)
With a contribution from Anthony Parnell
Exploring trauma and post traumatic stress (with Tony Parnell)
With a contribution from Hamilton Fairfax
Exploring psychosis (with Hamilton Fairfax)
With a contribution from Dr Mabel Martinelli
Exploring bipolar (with Roly Fletcher)
With a contribution from Nicola Gale and Dr Claire John
Exploring the borderline (with Clare John and Nicola Gale)
With a contribution from Amanda Hall
Exploring eating disorders (with Amanda Hall)
With a contribution from Sheelagh Strawbridge
Conclusion (with Sheelagh Strawbridge)

For too long Counselling Psychology perspectives to understanding human distress have been drowned out by medical and clinical voices. This book challenges this, adding as it does to the emerging literature offering reflection and debate as to what a human – and humane - approach to such distress might be. By reflecting on the dilemmas embedded in this area this book offers a rare chance to think meaningfully about distress rather than simply ‘do something’ to it.

Dr Martin Milton, CPsychol, CSci, AFBPsS, UKCP Reg
Regent’s University London

I believe that this book makes a really useful and timely contribution to the literature and therefore potentially to clinical practice. It will be valuable to psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists and others engaged in therapeutic practice in a wide range of contexts. It combines elements of critical thinking with a real depth of clinical experience and a useful selection of examples. The book contains contributions from both the authors and a range of clinicians with many years of experience. Each of the authors deconstructs some of the difficulties and dilemmas associated with the use of diagnostic categories and considers the contextual factors which are at play. The structure of the book is very helpful in that each chapter gives a historical perspective on a particular diagnostic category; this is followed by a discussion of the real life dilemmas in clinical practice, followed by a section which explores research and practice with service users labelled with this diagnostic categorisation. The reflection box at the end of each chapter is particularly useful as it will enable individuals or groups to consider and reflect upon the issues raised in the preceding chapter. I believe this book will be a real asset to the work of a range of professionals and will stimulate debate and critical thinking which can only ultimately benefit the service user and the delivery of psychological and therapeutic services.

Professor Rachel Tribe
School of Psychology, University of East London

This is an excellent and timely evaluation of some of the most common presenting problems  faced by the contemporary psychological therapist. What makes this book so unique is  constant linking between theory and practice, allowing the reader true insight into the thinking behind the conceptualisation of distress as well as how to work with it effectively in the consulting room.  The book will appeal to students, practitioners and academics alike.

Professor Ewan Gillon
Programme Director D.Psych in Counselling Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University

For me, a therapist but not a psychologist, the book’s greatest strength was the insight it gave me into the breadth of counselling psychology practice and the inclusion by the authors of multiple perspectives in their interventions with clients.  It is, I would suggest, essential reading for counselling psychologists and may also be of interest to other therapists.

Louise Guy
Therapy Today

This insightful book [...] should be in the library of every counselling, psychotherapy and counselling psychology practitioner, whether experienced or in training [...] This is a thoroughly refreshing read that validates the importance of keeping the client in mind and providing a type of care that is individual, attuning and compassionate via the therapeutic relationship. 

Sandra Zecevic-Gonzalez, counselling psychologist and CBT therapist
Private Practice Journal

Good range of presenting issues covered, excellent book for completing assignments and good use of case studies throughout

Ms Deana Friel
Health and Social Care, North West Regional College
June 25, 2020

This is a great introductory text for trainees and potential trainees to give them an up close a personal sense of typically presenting cases in psychotherapy, covering a diverse range of poignant illustrative examples.

Ms Barbara Elizabeth Hannigan
School of Psychology, University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin
August 27, 2015

This book provides a useful guide to working with different presenting issues.

Mrs Julie Wyman
Book Reviews, Devon Counselling College
February 20, 2015

This is a good introductory book but it could have done with more details and seemed a bit thin on theory.

Professor Zelda Knight
Department of Psychology, University of Johannesburg
January 29, 2015

This is a very comprehensive book and clearly written for all students.

Professor Zelda Knight
Department of Psychology, University of Johannesburg
January 19, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One: Introduction

Sage College Publishing

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