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Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Second Edition
Additional resources:

October 2017 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Audio book out now.
Eagerly awaited by many counsellors and psychotherapists, this new edition includes an updated preface, new content on recent research and new developments and debates around relational depth, and new case studies.


This groundbreaking text goes to the very heart of the therapeutic meeting between therapist and client. Focusing on the concept of 'relational depth', the authors describe a form of encounter in which therapist and client experience profound feelings of contact and engagement with each other, and in which the client has an opportunity to explore whatever is experienced as most fundamental to her or his existence. The book has helped thousands of trainees and practitioners understand how to facilitate a relationally-deep encounter, identify the personal ‘blocks’ that may be encountered along the way, and consider new therapeutic concepts – such as 'holistic listening' – that help them to meet their clients at this level.


This classic text remains a source of fresh thinking and stimulating ideas about the therapeutic encounter which is relevant to trainees and practitioners of all orientations.

Chapter 1 - Foundations for a relational therapy
Chapter 2 - Psychological distress: a relational understanding
Chapter 3 - Relational depth in therapy: what it is and why it may help
Chapter 4 - A continuing relationship at depth: 'reaching the parts...'
Chapter 5 - Working with Dominic: a 'partial' drunk
Chapter 6 - Earning the right to work with Rick: a traumatised client
Chapter 7 - Facilitating a meeting at relational depth
Chapter 8 - The therapist's developmental agenda
Chapter 9 - Towards a revolution

This is such a good book: warm, engaging, interesting, personal and professional. I will certainly be recommending to my students that they read it and wallow in its wonderful contents.

Ms Sally Riggall
School of Health & Social Care, Lincoln University
November 20, 2017

An excellent book on relational psychotherapy practice, of great value for students of all therapeutic modalities, where the therapeutic relationship is the ultimate integrative variable

Dr Aisling McMahon
School of Nursing & Human Sciences , Dublin City University (DCU)
December 14, 2017

One of the things I find appealing about this text is how the authors manage to make something that is, in practice, so complex and nuanced, so understandable and accessible, Mearns and Cooper... a winning combination.

Dr Russell Delderfield
Academic Skills Advice, Bradford University
June 27, 2018