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Counselling and Spiritual Accompaniment: Bridging Faith and Person-Centred Therapy

ISBN: 978-1-119-95081-3
366 pages
October 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
Counselling and Spiritual Accompaniment: Bridging Faith and Person-Centred Therapy (1119950813) cover image


Counselling and Spiritual Accompaniment presents the key spiritually-focused writings of Brian Thorne, one of the most influential thinkers on the convergence of spirituality with counselling, along with new material reflecting his recent work in spiritual accompaniment.
  • Reflects the increasing focus on spiritual issues as an essential part of therapy
  • Represents the culmination of an intellectual quest, undertaken by the most senior figure in the field, to integrate spirituality with counselling and the person-centred approach
  • Features chapters that span thirty years of work, along with new writings that bring readers up to date with the author's most recent work in spiritual accompaniment
  • An invaluable guide for counsellors and therapists who acknowledge the importance of spirituality to their clients, but doubt their abilities to help in this area
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgements xii

Part I From: Person-centred Counselling: Therapeutic and Spiritual Dimensions 1

Introduction 3

Chapter 1 In Search of Value and Meaning (1979) 8

Chapter 2 Intimacy (1982) 17

Chapter 3 The Quality of Tenderness (1985) 31

Chapter 4 The Blessing and the Curse of Empathy (1989) 42

Chapter 5 Carl Rogers and the Doctrine of Original Sin (1990) 61

Chapter 6 Carl Rogers: The Legacy and the Challenge (1990) 72

Chapter 7 The God Who Comes: Good Friday 1946 (1991) 86

Part II From: Person-centred Counselling and Christian Spirituality 91

Introduction 93

Chapter 8 The Two Carls – Reflections on Jung and Rogers (1983) 98

Chapter 9 The Personality of Jesus and the Process of Therapy (1991) 110

Chapter 10 Spirituality and the Counsellor (1993) 117

Chapter 11 Julian of Norwich: Radical psychotherapist (1993) 121

Chapter 12 Jesus, the Incarnation of Holiness (Three Sermons, 1993) 134

Chapter 13 Developing a Spiritual Discipline (1994) 146

Chapter 14 The Counsellor as Prophet (1994) 150

Chapter 15 Counselling and the Spiritual Journey (1997) 165

Part III From: The Mystical Power of Person-Centred Therapy 179

Introduction 181

Chapter 16 The Human Person: Hope or Despair? 187

Chapter 17 The Person-centred Therapist as Secular Priest and Prophet 197

Chapter 18 The Spiritual Discipline of the Person-centred Therapist 209

Chapter 19 The Use of Self 220

Chapter 20 Intimacy and Sexuality 231

Chapter 21 ‘Alive Alive’ 242

Chapter 22 When the World Stopped Turning 255

Part IV Ceasing to be a Therapist 265

Prologue 267

Chapter 23 The Heart’s Surrender (2005) 270

Chapter 24 The Counsellor and the Lay Canon: Different Routes but the Same Journey (2007) 293

Chapter 25 A Collision of Worlds (2009) 306

Chapter 26 The Fully Human Jesus (2009) 312

Chapter 27 Sacred Intimacy: Spiritual Accompaniment for our Times (2010) 329

Chapter 28 In Correspondence (2010) 341

Epilogue 343

Index 345

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Author Information

Brian Thorne is Co-founder and Professional Fellow at The Norwich Centre for Personal, Professional and Spiritual Development, Emeritus Professor of Counselling at the University of East Anglia, and a Lay Canon of Norwich Cathedral. Thorne is an internationally recognised figure in the field of person-centred therapy, and was a close colleague of Carl Rogers.

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“It is well written: clearly, humorously, honestly, and empathically. We owe Thorne an enormous debt for courageously opening his heart, mind, and soul to share the truth about a loving God walking with his people. It has been a privilege to review a book that amounts to his magnum opus, and I hope I have done it justice.”  (Church Times, 18 October 2013)

“This is a ‘Brian Thorne reader’, and is to be commended to all therapists of all theoretical orientations.” (Therapy Today, September 2013)

Brian Thorne’s uniqueness has been marked by his holding together what some have seen as polar opposites. He is the doyen of person-centred therapy in Britain and was a close colleague of Carl Rogers. Alongside this Brian has lived the Christian faith which has shaped and marked his life. This twinning of what are often seen as conflicting paths has been Brian’s courageous project throughout his professional life. This book brings these two into convergence in a manner hitherto unavailable. It is a key contribution to both areas.  It will offer benefits to practitioners in both worlds and will help to bring these two worlds into a still more creative convergence.”—The Rt Revd Stephen Platten Bishop of Wakefield, UK

This book brings together the person-centred counselling and theological worlds of Brian Thorne across more than thirty years of his writing. The unifying concept that describes both his faith and his therapy is his valuing of humanity. The task, whether we see it as religious or political, is to create conditions that nurture rather than seek to control the human being. Throughout the years depicted in this book I have witnessed Brian’s struggle in relation to those forces that would dehumanize. I have seen Brian often tired, sometimes frustrated and not infrequently distressed in these encounters with the forces of dehumanization. But it is ‘tired’ that I remember most, because in those moments he knew that there would be no rest for him. From early in his life he had realized that giving up could never be an option. Whether the reader is a person of faith or an atheist like myself, I commend this book as a medium that can help us all to reflect upon our existence.—Dave Mearns, Professor Emeritus, University of Strathclyde, UK

“Brian Thorne has always stood as a beacon for both the person centred approach to counselling and life and also the mystical experience of spirituality. His new book, which includes both key writings and some striking new material, is a classic summation of his work. As ever it is written in a clear and courageous manner that challenges the reader to respond in kind. If you have an interest in the person centred approach, the challenges of living a spiritual life in the modern world or both, then this book will be of great interest and great use to you.”—Dr. William West, University of Manchester, UK

“For me Brian Thorne is the most inspiring person-centred therapist in the tradition of Carl Rogers. With his brilliant empathic capacity, full of depth and humor, he lives an outstanding model for everyone who wants to see that powerful and tender therapeutic skill in action. Brian has not only explored the limits of psychotherapy and counseling, he has enriched and transcended the body of knowledge and practice by his personal spiritual experiences. This results in a refreshing deepening of the therapeutic encounter, with unexpected turns in conversations and actions. Again and again Brian Thorne enters sacred ground in such a way that this book can be seen as a guide to divert frontiers and connect to transpersonal sources.”—Prof. Dr. Mia Leijssen, KU Leuven, Belgium

“Relevant, meaningful and as daring as ever, this collection of key writing from Brian Thorne on spirituality and counselling is a must-have for seasoned and new practitioners in helping relationships. There are classics here as well as new reflections on spiritual accompaniment for all those who are weary of skills based, tick box, reductionist approaches to human relating. Brian Thorne’s integrity, fearlessness and faith in the human spirit are a beacon of hope and encouragement for those searching and yearning to articulate the fullness of their humanity. His deep sharing of his experiences and thinking over the last 30 years will provide invaluable companionship to anyone wishing to embrace their aliveness in relationship to others and the world.”—Suzanne Keys, Counsellor and Supervisor, Private Practice, UK

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