The Presenting Past

Author(s) : Michael Jacobs, Author(s) : Dawn Freshwater

The Presenting Past

Book Details

  • Publisher : Open University Press
  • Published : May 2023
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 242
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
    Individual Psychotherapy
  • Catalogue No : 97706
  • ISBN 13 : 9780335251841
  • ISBN 10 : 0335251846

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A person's past is ever present, from infancy to old age, and it affects the dynamics of therapy and the therapist-patient relationship.

Written by a key founding figure of psychodynamic counselling and now with contributions from pre-eminent researcher, Dawn Freshwater, the bestselling The Presenting Past gives practicing therapists and students keen insight into the subject. The theories of Freud, Winnicott, Klein are now complimented by attachment theory and self-psychology and are organized into three main categories: trust and attachment; authority and autonomy; and concord and challenge.

In this new edition, Jacobs and Freshwater give psychodynamic counselling and therapy a truly human face. The connections between theory and practice are highlighted through the use of compelling case examples and end of chapter exercises. Combined with an approachable writing style, this edition is the go-to for busy professionals and trainees.

Fully updated to include coverage of the prevalence of social media; debates about gender identity and sexuality; the significance of attachment theory and attachment-based practice and self-psychology and its concentration upon the problems of narcissistic wound, The Presenting Past stays wonderfully readable.

The book shows Jacobs at his best and is a testimony to his lifetime of experience. Michael Jacobs and Dawn Freshwater provide a clear modernisation on this classic, best-selling text.

Reviews and Endorsements

This book is essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about one of the most influential and successful approaches to therapy.
Julia McLeod, Lecturer in Counselling, Abertay University, UK

Every edition of a long established text begs the question – what’s new? Michael and Dawn continue to honour the wisdom and relevance of prior editions with characteristic humour and humility. This touchstone text conveys with clarity the richness of Psychodynamic approaches.
Paul King, Assistant Professor, Guidance Counselling and Education, School of Human Development, Dublin City University, Ireland

A highly respected ‘classic’ text which has been thoroughly revised and extended to reflect the changed and changing landscape of therapeutic practice.
Keith E Walmsley-Smith, visiting Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, Staffordshire University, UK

Table of Contents


1. Here and Now – There and Then

Introducing Trust and Attachment Issues
2. Trust and Attachment: Foundations
3. Trust and Attachment: Relatedness and Separateness
4. Trust and Attachment: In Adulthood and In Therapy
Concluding Trust and Attachment Issues

Introducing Authority and Autonomy Issues
5. Authority and Autonomy: Internalisation
6. Authority and Autonomy: Defending The Self
7. Authority and Autonomy: The Therapeutic Relationship
Concluding Authority And Autonomy Issues

Introducing Concord and Challenge Issues
8. Concord and Challenge: Gender, Sexuality and Sexual Relations
9. Concord and Challenge: Making Relationships
10. Concord and Challenge: Complementarity and Rivalry
Concluding Concord and Challenge Issues


About the Author(s)

Michael Jacobs was born in 1941. He was educated at Dulwich College and Exeter College Oxford; and then attended Chichester Theological College before being ordained in 1965. Having served in a parish in Walthamstow, he was interdenominational chaplain at the University of Sussex from 1968–1972, during which time he started practising as a therapist with support from the Student Health Service, then headed by Anthony Ryle. In 1972 he was appointed psychotherapist and counsellor at the University of Leicester Student Health Service, and trained on the clinical psychology psychotherapy course at the Tavistock Clinic in London. After twelve years in the Student Health Service, he moved to the Department of Adult Education, where he was developing a counselling training, which went on to include a psychotherapy training. Alongside this he played a significant role in the development of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association. He is a fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, a Fellow of the National Society for Counselling and Psychotherapy and an honorary fellow of the Bath Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling. He had his first book published in 1982 and has since written or edited over sixty books for a number of publishers. Following a stroke in 1999 he retired from the University of Leicester, and moved to Swanage where for a number of years he was Visiting Professor at Bournemouth University. Apart from his writing and teaching he conducted a small practice of therapy and supervision. He continued also to lead workshops largely devoted to his interest in the development of thinking and belief, and psychoanalysis and film. Studying for another degree he was awarded first class honours by the Open University, and went on to complete a PhD comparing psychoanalytic and literary criticism of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Michael has been married three times, separating from his first wife Valerie in 1989, and marrying Moira Walker. They worked together on various series and teaching at Leicester and Bournemouth Universities. Following her early death in 2013, Michael married Pamela Howdle-Smith, with whom he now enjoys a more complete retirement, in which they appreciate music, literature, fine food, and reflecting on their earlier busy lives in teaching and therapy. He has two daughters by his first marriage, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

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Dawn Freshwater is adjunct Professor of Mental Health at the University of Leeds, UK and the University of Western Australia, Australia.

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