How Clients Make Therapy Work: The Process of Active Self-Healing

Pages: 347
Item #: 431725A
ISBN: 978-1-55798-571-2
List Price: $39.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $34.95
Copyright: 1999
Format: Hardcover
Availability: In Stock
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For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories


What makes therapy work? Ultimately it is the client. Most people cope, survive, and grow with challenges in their everyday lives, with or without the help of a therapist.

In this provocative book, the authors debunk the medical model of the psychotherapist as healer who merely applies the proper nostrum to make the client well. Instead, they see the therapist as a coach, collaborator, and teacher who frees up the client's innate tendency to heal.

The self-healing tendency of the client usually overrides differences in technique or theoretical approach, which is why research continually finds different approaches to therapy to be equally as effective. If the client is the driver of change, how can therapists help? Often therapists can help their clients by simply providing an empathic workspace that allows the client's capacity for generative thinking to thrive.

The authors show how different schools of therapy have unique ways of mobilizing clients and share tips for dealing with client resistance, passivity, and maladaptive behavior.

This practical and provocative book is a must-read for those who care about the nature of therapeutic change.

Table of Contents




I. The Nature of Self-Healing

  1. What Do We Mean by the Client as Active Self-Healer?
  2. Research Results that May Surprise You—How Do We Know the Client Is an Active Self-Healer?
  3. Self-Healing Without a Therapist

II. When Self-Healing Fails

  1. Self-Healing With a Therapist
  2. The "School" of Psychotherapy
  3. How the Active Client Fits in With Other Approaches

III. Therapy as a Meeting of Minds

  1. When the Active Client Is Difficult
  2. Engaging the Client's Intelligence: The Construction of Meaning
  3. Facilitating the Meeting of Minds: A "Manual" For Practice
  4. Problems and Issues of Therapeutic Practice

IV. Conclusion

  1. Implications for the Profession of Clinical Psychology


Author Index

Subject Index

About the Authors

Author Bios

Arthur C. Bohart, PhD, professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He is professionally active in both the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration and the Humanistic Psychology Division of APA. He has published articles on psychotherapy integration, experiencing in psychotherapy, empathy, constructivism, couples therapy, and the role of the client as self-healer. He is the coeditor of Empathy Reconsidered: New Directions in Psychotherapy (with Leslie S. Greenberg) and of two textbooks: Foundations of Clinical and Counseling Psychology (with Judith Todd) and Personality (with Seymour Feshbach and Bernard Weiner).

Karen Tallman has a master's degree in clinical psychology and in educational measurement and statistics and has published articles in clinical and social psychology. She is completing a PhD in educational psychology and technology at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis on motivational research. Her interests include enhancing expert performance and supporting the efforts of novices. Tallman's current research focuses on the development of a measure to predict adaptability to change and performance in business and educational settings. She also evaluates educational programs.

Reviews & Awards

This is an extraordinary book and one that demands to be read by virtually anyone connected with the mental health field. It presents a coherent and compelling argument for the primacy of the client's active self-healing capacity as the most important element in psychotherapeutic outcomes while describing an integrative view of how different theoretical schools attempt to harness the abilities that clients already have. The authors argue convincingly and comprehensively that the medical model, which is increasingly being advocated by the managed care industry and the "experimentally supported therapies" movement, simply does not describe what we know about psychotherapy and is more a product of political and economic forces than of attention to data. The book presents an excellent combination of scholarship and therapeutic wisdom, that makes it valuable to practitioners, educators, researchers, and indeed even to policy makers. In fact, I would say that this book could well become a valuable tool for those who are interested in making mental health policy more concordant with the realities of mental health treatment. I have already made use of some of the concepts presented in working with my own clients and have strongly recommended the book to my colleagues and students.
—Saul D. Raw, MSW, Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work in Psychiatry, Cornell University Medical College

In a straightforward, well-documented yet unpretentious way, Bohart and Tallman remind us of one of the most radical and important discoveries of twentieth century psychology - that all healing is self-healing. Piling up finding after research finding and illustrating them in compelling vignettes, they deconstruct contemporary fetishism of therapeutic expertise and redefine the therapist's task as one of service to the client's own capacity for change. In these days of chemical fixes and increasingly therapist-centered therapies, this rediscovery of the power of the basic relational attitudes of mutual respect, genuineness, empathy and faith in the client's ability to find their won way, is nothing short of paradigm revolution.
—Maureen O'Hara, PhD, Saybrook Graduate School, APA Fellow, Division 32