The Therapy Relationship: A Special Kind of Friendship

Author(s) : Richard Hallam

The Therapy Relationship: A Special Kind of Friendship

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : October 2015
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 196
  • Category :
    Individual Psychotherapy
  • Catalogue No : 36648
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782202523
  • ISBN 10 : 1782202528
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This book proposes that the age-old rules and virtues of friendship lie at the heart of all forms of psychotherapy and counselling. A therapist, however, is a special kind of friend. The unwritten moral code of friendship that governs reciprocity, trust, truth-telling, commitment, support, and advice is adopted by all forms of therapy but is modified in unique ways according to underlying theory, philosophy, values, and forms of self-presentation. Codes of conduct and ethical guidelines are viewed in this book as ways to protect the participants from unwanted and distracting obligations and temptations while still benefiting from the intimacy and commitments of friendship.

The norms of friendship are adopted as a template in order to evaluate how therapy has deviated from them in order to position itself under the influence of professionalisation, medicalisation, commercialisation, politicisation, and the need to brand itself as an applied technology. It is argued that psychotherapy and counselling will cease to exist if the underlying moral foundation of their practices is ignored and submerged under the pressures of cost-efficiency, government agendas, and the excesses of statutory regulation. In this light, the book critically examines sociological critiques and the wisdom of present ethical codes.

Reviews and Endorsements

The Therapy Relationship is a richly-detailed yet accessible exposition of the therapist-client relationship. Workers in the therapy industry will find the analysis thought-provoking and the practical information useful. This account will deepen debate leading to a more honest recognition of what therapy is, and a more nuanced approach to its regulation.’
–– Lih-Mei Liao, PhD, FBPsS, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK

‘Dr Hallam has written an excellent and highly readable book that effectively demystifies psychotherapy and clarifies contemporary issues and understandings in the field. The book is intended and appropriate both for readers who know relatively little about psychotherapy and for those already working in the field. Dr Hallam has provided material that will enable the layperson to become more aware of the approaches to therapy that are most widely practiced, and become more confident and informed about approaches and processes of psychotherapy. Practitioners will also benefit from its clear, thoughtful and up-to-date discussions of issues related to therapeutic effectiveness, therapeutic process, self-help programs, and professional ethics. I highly recommend Dr Hallam’s new book to both lay and professional audiences.’
–– Glenn D. Shean, PhD, Professor of Psychology, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia

‘We think we know what a psychotherapist is, but what is he or she really? A healer or shaman, a storyteller, or a technician impartially applying scientific knowledge? Richard Hallam delves steadily into this question and arrives at the surprising answer, “none of the above”; rather, the psychotherapist is a “special kind of friend”. This book provides a distinct perspective that will be of interest to both beginning and advanced therapists, potential and long-time users of psychotherapy, and anyone interested in the important broader issues that form the context for the stimulating and engaging exploration Hallam provides.’
–– Gary Brown, Senior Lecturer, Psychology Department, Royal Holloway University of London

About the Author(s)

Richard Hallam trained as a clinical psychologist and has combined university teaching and research with work in a variety of National Health Service settings. His main areas of interest are adult problems, hearing-related complaints, and case formulation. He has published several books, most recently Virtual Selves, Real Persons (2009) and Individual Case Formulation (2013). He now works as an independent researcher and in private practice.

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