A Client Perspective

Whilst the literature on therapy written by therapists has grown enormous, it is much harder to find articles written by psychotherapy clients. The chapter below is a thoughtful and moving account of a twenty session course of therapy written by a former client of James’ about two months after the therapy ended:

  • Derek (with notes by James Macdonald) (2012). A service user’s view of Experiential Dynamic Therapy. In F. Osimo & M. Stein [eds.] Theory and Practice of Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy. London: Karnac. View Document*.

Recommended Self-Help Books

There are many good self-help books written by experts. Here are a few that we have recently recommended which clients have said they found useful:

On intimate relationships:

  • Sue Johnson (2011). Hold Me Tight: Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships. Piatkus. 

On mindfulness:

  • Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn (2007). The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness. Guilford Press. [This comes with a CD of the guided meditations discussed in the book]. 
  • Tim Parks (2011). Teach Us to Sit Still: A Sceptic’s Search for Health and Healing. Vintage. [Not a self-help book, but a beautifully written account of the author’s unexplained physical pain and the discoveries he eventually makes as he learns to practice mindfulness]. 

On Anxiety:

There are many good self-help books drawing on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). They are often a good place to start, especially if you suffer from anxiety. With numerous case examples of other people with the same or similar problems, they can help normalise your suffering and make you more aware that recovery is possible. They are also good for describing how some ways of coping with anxiety can have the unintended consequence of making the anxiety worse. Here is a book like this on OCD which a recent client found very helpful:

  • Fiona Challacombe, Victoria Bream Oldwood & Paul Salkovskis (2011). Break Free From OCD: Overcoming Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder with CBT. Vermillion.

On How to Change:

This book is based on research on how people successfully change (regardless of whether they use therapy to help them).

  • John Norcross (2012). Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions. New York: Simon and Schuster. 

For Professionals

  • McCullough, L., Kuhn, N., Andrews, S., Kaplan, A., Wolf, J. & Hurley, C. (2003). Treating Affect Phobia: A manual for short-term dynamic psychotherapy. New York: The Guilford Press. 
  • F. Osimo & M. Stein [eds.] (2012). A Theory and Practice of Experiential Dynamic Therapy. London: Karnac. 
  • Macdonald, J. (2013). ‘Formal’ feedback in psychotherapy as psychoanalytic technique. Psychodynamic Practice: Individuals, Groups and Organisations. View Document.
  • Safran, J. D., & Muran, J. C. (2000). Negotiating the Therapeutic Alliance: A relational treatment guide. New York: Guilford.

*This chapter was originally published in Theory and Practice of Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy, edited by Ferruccio Osimo and Mark J. Stein (published by Karnac Books in 2012), and reproduced with kind permission of Karnac Books.