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Dynamics of Power in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2ed

by Gillian Proctor PCCS Books
Pub Date:
Pbk 156 pages
AU$55.99 NZ$58.25
Product Status: In Stock Now
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This hard-hitting, impeccably referenced book draws on academic theories and analyses of power and the author's personal experience both as client and practitioner to critique power within the psychotherapeutic relationship and within the organisations where therapy takes place. Accessible, political and severely critical of her own profession, Proctor provides an essential reminder to student, practitioner and researcher of the imperative to remain always mindful of the values and ethics of justice and responsibility.

In this revised second edition, Gillian Proctor extends her discussion to the more recent challenges presented by the IAPT programme.


Why does power in counselling matter?

Isn't therapy always dangerous and abusive?

What is power? Structural theories

How does power work? Post-structural theories

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: the obscuring of power in the name of science

Person-Centred Therapy: equality in the therapy relationship?

The Psychodynamic Approach: isn't the power all in the transference?

Conclusions: so what can we do about power?


‘Proctor dares to take us into an honest, challenging and critically important debate around power and responsibility, helping us to think clearly about these aspects in our work, while equally pushing us to reflect on difficult areas, both as individual therapists and for the institution of therapy itself.’ Dr Andrew Reeves, University of Chester

– Reviews for the first edition of The Dynamics of Power in Counselling and Psychotherapy

This very timely book examines in a scholarly way the concept of power in therapy. The style and structure of the book do show its origins in PhD research by the author, but it is nonetheless easily accessible. It is a useful rejoinder to those who, in their naïvety claim that the therapeutic relationship is one of equality in which power does not exist, and as a useful reminder to those who acknowledge its presence yet need to be constantly ensuring that power in the therapist and in the therapeutic relationship does not become abusive. … I enjoyed reading this book and being challenged by it and I recommend it to experienced practitioners as a reminder, and to new therapists and trainees as an essential aid, to developing ethical practice. Roger Casemore, HCPJ, October 2002

When we enter into therapy we give enormous power to the therapist because we want to see that person as someone who can take our pain away. Such power can be abused. Gillian Proctor's timely, thoughtful book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what goes on in that most dangerous of arenas, therapy. Dorothy Rowe

Gillian Proctor's book makes a significant contribution in bringing to the fore issues of power that have been grossly neglected in psychotherapy up to now. David Smail

Gillian Proctor has given us a penetrating analysis of the meanings of power and its role in therapy that should become required reading for therapists and a major source book on power in relationships for social scientists. Barbara Temaner Brodley

‘Power is always present in any therapeutic relationship, but often overlooked until something goes disastrously wrong. Gillian Proctor has written an informative and thought-provoking book that will help practitioners to use power for the benefit of our clients and to be more aware of the many ways that power is present throughout our work.’  Tim Bond, Emeritus Professor, University of Bristol

‘Yet again, Gillian Proctor has provided us with a compelling and engrossing book.  Her depth of experience and knowledge is evident as she skilfully deconstructs dynamics of power within the structures and systems of therapy.  Crucially, she provides an essential challenge to the received wisdom within the counselling professions in relation to power premises, roles, contexts and dynamics. This textbook should be required reading on all training courses and is a must-have for therapy and supervision practitioners.’  Lynne Gabriel, PhD, Director of York St John University Counselling & Mental  Health Clinic

Dr. Gillian Proctor is an independent Clinical psychologist and person-centred psychotherapist, offering individual therapy and supervision. She is an assistant professor in counselling at the University of Nottingham, providing Counselling for Depression courses to NHS counsellors. She is also an associate lecturer at Huddersfield university and a research supervisor at several other institutions. She has a particular interest in ethics, politics and power and the importance for counselling of the insights from sociology and philosophy to broaden and deepen our understandings of relationships and ethics. Her latest book is 'Values and ethics in counselling and psychotherapy' (2013) published by Sage.