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Therapist and Client: A Relational Approach to Psychotherapy

ISBN: 978-1-119-94223-8
224 pages
April 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
Therapist and Client: A Relational Approach to Psychotherapy (1119942233) cover image


Therapist and Client: A Relational Approach to Psychotherapy provides a guide to the fundamental interpersonal elements of the therapeutic relationship that make it the most effective factor in therapy.

  • Presents the fundamental interpersonal elements that make the therapeutic relationship the most effective factor in psychotherapy
  • Explores and integrates a range of approaches from various schools, from psychoanalysis to body-oriented psychotherapy and humanistic psychotherapies
  • Offers clear and practical explanations of the intersubjective aspects of therapy
  • Demonstrates the pivotal need to work in the present moment in order to effect change and tailor therapy to the client
  • Provides detailed case studies and numerous practical applications of infant research and the unified body-mind perspective increasingly revealed by neuroscience
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Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface xiii

Acknowledgements xv

Introduction xvii

1 Applying Findings from Infant Research 1

Introduction 1

Intersubjectivity 3

References 24

2 The Interpersonal Relationship 27

Introduction 27

The Evolution of a Relational Approach 28

The Therapist: Self with Other 30

Reflecting on Self and Other 42

Repairing the Relationship 45

References 51

3 Potential Space, Creativity and Play 54

Introduction 54

Intersubjectivity – the Realm of Potential Space 55

The Therapeutic Space 56

Creativity and Play 65

References 84

4 The Intersubjective Experience 86

Introduction 86

Defining and Exploring the Intersubjective Experience 90

References 104

5 The Relational Body–Mind 106

Introduction 106

The Nature of the Relational Body–Mind 109

A Relational Body–Mind Perspective 112

Five Modes of Experience, Function and Expression 114

Taking a Body–Mind Stance 119

Relational Body–Mind Therapy 121

Transference-Countertransference and the Body–Mind 131

‘Fragile’ Clients 132

References 134

6 Working with Trauma and Fragile Clients 137

Introduction 137

Therapy for the Traumatized Body–Mind 138

Working with Fragile Clients 149

References 157

7 Adapting Therapy to the Client: A Relational Approach 159

Introduction 159

Assessment 163

Creating the Therapeutic Frame 171

Tailoring the Therapist's Stance 174

Choosing a Level 184

Staying Adaptable and Relational 189

Arriving at an Individual Style 192

References 194

Index 197

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Author Information

Patrick Nolan is a Psychotherapist and the Director of the Irish Institute for Integrated Psychotherapy. He is co-author of Object Relations and Integrative Psychotherapy: Tradition and Innovation in Theory and Practice (2002) and has written about integrative, psychoanalytic and body psychotherapy in numerous publications.

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"While new practitioners will benefit from reading this book, therapists of all levels of experience, especially those who are focusing on the relational aspect of their work, will find this book a useful place to visit and revisit; to think, to reflect and to play with the ideas."  (The British Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 1  July 2013)

“In my opinion it deserves a large readership, and in particular I would urge that it be read by all recent graduates of integrative trainings as an inspiration and encouragement to them as they ‘head out into unchartered water,’ as Nolan might say.”  (Contemporary Psychotherapy, 1 December 2012)

"The real richness in this book is how Nolan illustrates his ideas through his own reflections on his client work and the presentation throughout the book of case vignettes that explicitly demonstrate how the concepts outlined are manifested in his work with clients. Each chapter begins with a presentation of theoretical ideas, supported by theory and research from diverse disciplines including developmental psychology and neuroscience, followed by a demonstration of how these ideas apply in the therapy setting.  We are invited to observe the work of therapy, to share in his reflections, to glance through a window into his consulting room where both client and therapist are exposed in all their vulnerability. This book has something to offer for both those in training and experienced practitioners engaged in therapeutic work. The writing style is accessible, particularly when he shares his own views and when he writes about his own practice." (Dr  Rosaleen Mc Elvaney, Inside Out)

"In my opinion it deserves a wide readership, and in particular I would urge that it be read by all recent graduates of integrative trainings as an inspiration and encouragement to them as they 'head out into unchartered water', as Nolan might say." (London Psychotherapy Network, Autumn 2012)

"Patrick Nolan sets out to share his findings and research based on over thirty years of clinical practice in this highly informative and significant book." (Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Autumn 2012)

"All in all, then, this is a good book for the psychodynamically inclined, taking them rather fully into the relational field, which is so popular these days in all modalities."  (ACPNL Magazine, 1 October 2012)

"Nolan has produced a powerful book that clearly explains often complex concepts. This book is suitable for all in the counselling world, although therapists with less experience may find some of the ideas challenging." (Therapy Today, 1 September 2012)

Nolan’s integrative approach to psychotherapy is unique. It draws together concepts and practices from many therapeutic traditions including humanistic, client-centered, gestalt, psychoanalytic, object-relations, interpersonal and body-oriented approaches. It also takes account of recent advances in developmental psychology and neuroscience. Through clinical case material this book offers a novel perspective on a range of critical issues including the centrality of the therapeutic alliance, matching the therapeutic process to clients’ needs, and addressing mind-body and self-other dualities. Nolan is widely acclaimed for his approach to psychotherapy training. This book is long awaited and should be read by both psychotherapists in training and experienced therapists.
Alan Carr, Director of Clinical Psychology, University College Dublin, Ireland

Drawing on findings from infant research, many schools of psychotherapy, and other disciplines including neuroscience, plus over thirty years of clinical experience, Patrick Nolan affirms the relational field as the locus of both suffering and healing. In doing so he challenges our ideas about the nature of individual psychopathology and re-visions the role of the therapist. Therapist as tender of the Hachoka – The Lakota word for sacred circle; the dynamic web of relationships in which we are each embedded. This is a valuable guide for psychotherapists attempting to forge a relational way of working.
Michael Kearney, Medical Director of Palliative Care, Cottage Health Systems, California; author of ‘Mortally Wounded: Stories of Soul Pain, Death, and Healing’ and ‘A Place of Healing: Working with Nature and Soul at the end of Life’

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