The Real Relationship in Psychotherapy: The Hidden Foundation of Change

Pages: 187
Item #: 4317239
ISBN: 978-1-4338-0867-8
List Price: $39.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $29.95
Copyright: 2011
Format: Hardcover
Availability: In Stock
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For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories


The concept of the real or personal relationship between client and therapist has existed since the earliest days of psychotherapy. Yet the real relationship—with its twin components of genuineness (the intent to avoid deception, including self-deception) and realism (perceiving or experiencing the other in ways that befit the other) has often been misunderstood or ignored. Instead, psychotherapy research has focused largely on the concepts of the working alliance and of transference and counter-transference.

In this engaging book, Charles Gelso argues the case for the relevance of the real relationship to successful therapeutic outcomes. He skillfully traces the development of the concept from its roots in early psychoanalytic thought and documents its current utility in numerous modern approaches to therapy including humanistic, relational and cognitive-behavioral. The author examines the real relationship using a wide variety of examples drawn from current research as well as his own extensive clinical experiences.

Written in clear, accessible prose, this book will speak to practicing psychotherapists and therapist-trainees as well as researchers and theorists of all persuasions. Given the current interest in the role of the therapeutic relationship in successful client outcomes, this book is both thought-provoking and timely.

Table of Contents


  1. Contextualizing the Real Relationship in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis
  2. Genuineness Throughout the Decades
  3. The Reality of the Other
  4. A Theory of the Real Relationship in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis
  5. The Real Relationship Within the Psychotherapy Hour
  6. Measuring the Real Relationship
  7. Emerging Research Findings About the Real Relationship in the Process and Outcome of Psychotherapy
  8. Closing Reflections on the Real Relationship in Psychotherapy



About the Author

Author Bio

Charles J. Gelso, PhD, has been a professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park, since 1970.

He has published widely on the topic of the therapeutic relationship, including both empirical and theoretical articles and books. His work has focused on the real relationship, therapist countertransference, patient transference, the therapist–patient working alliance, and the interplay of these key concepts.

He has also been the editor of major journals, including his most recent editorship of Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Practice, & Training. He has maintained a practice in psychotherapy throughout his career.

Dr. Gelso has received many honors and awards, including the Leona Tyler Award (from the Society of Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association), which is the top award in counseling psychology given for outstanding contributions to the field; the Distinguished Psychologist Award from APA Division 29 (Psychotherapy); and a grant in his name awarded annually by APA Division 29.

Among his previous books are The Psychotherapy Relationship: Theory, Research, and Practice (1998) and Countertransference and the Therapist's Inner Experience: Perils and Possibilities (2007).