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A Safe Place for Change, 2nd ed.


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Table of Contents

Preface for Trainers and Educators viii Chapter 1: So You Want To Help People? 1 Motives and hidden agendas 2 Official and unofficial theories of helping 5 Counselling: the instrumental view 7 Counselling: `being with', not `doing to' 8 Training: a chance to find out what counselling is actually like 9 Youth and maturity: advantages and disadvantages 11 What lies ahead for you? 13 Chapter Summary 16 Chapter 2: Being There: Developing The Capacity For Holding 17 Holding: the `default setting' 18 Why holding matters 19 The metaphor of holding 21 `Staying out of the way'-purposeful use of silence 22 Why is it important to `wait before responding'? 23 Personalities make a difference 24 The metaphor of `reflection' 25 Key points about the skill of reflecting 29 The reflecting exercise 32 Simple empathic responses 34 Empathic sentence completion 36 Summarising 36 The place of holding skills in ongoing counselling 37 Chapter Summary 38 Chapter 3: The Story Unfolds: The Skills Of Exploring 39 The metaphor of exploration 40 Therapeutic questioning and diagnostic questioning 41 Thoughtful questioning 43 Questions that follow the client's lead 43 Speaking from the self 46 Exploring `gaps' and `missing bits' 46 What's Really Happening? What, When and How Questions 49 Timing and choice points 53 What's it like ...? Questions that explore experience 54 Exploring connections between past and present 55 `What does that mean to you?' 57 Why not ask `Why?' 59 From exploration to intervention 61 Chapter Summary 63 Chapter 4: The Elephant In The Room: The First Three Sessions 64 Introduction 65 The first session: telling the story 67 What if you can't get a word in? 69 What if clients don't want to tell their story? 70 The first session: forming an attachment 70 Three ways of attaching 72 Anxiety and politeness in the first session 74 The second session 75 Attachment is a two-way thing 76 The iceberg and its tip 76 The third session: challenge and response 78 How do you learn to `do immediacy'? 82 The third session phenomenon revisited 85 Chapter Summary 87 Chapter 5: Fix The Problem, Or Re-Parent The Person? Alternative Paths In Therapy And Counselling 89 Counselling vs. Psychotheraphy 90 Where we started: psychoanalysis 91 Problem focussed models 98 Is the right model for you the right model for your client? 103 So what are the implications for you? 104 Chapter Summary 106 Chapter 6: Gentle Honesty: Skills Of `Encountering' 107 `Terrible Twos' and Rebellious Teens 108 Redefining `confrontation': gentle honesty 111 Gentle honesty in practice 112 Pointing out a `theme' 117 Connecting past and present: suggesting a meaning 119 Acknowledging contradictions and discrepancies 121 Beyond transference interpretation: offering feedback in the here and now 123 When the challenge comes from the client 126 In conclusion 128 Chapter Summary 129 Chapter 7: `Giving Wise Advice': The Skills Of Coaching 130 Meeting as equals 131 `Giving wise advice' 132 Normalising and providing information 133 Are clients ready to change? 134 Assisting the change process 136 Timing and motivation 138 Exploring past attempts to change 140 Why change is difficult 142 Taking the long way: change coaching in action 143 Bearing witness to change: increasing motivation by operant conditioning 150 Highlighting success by offering warnings 152 Chapter Summary 153 Chapter 8: `But How Do You Know When They're Finished?': Supervised Work With Clients 154 What will the next year be like? 155 There's always more to learn 157 Where do you stand? 159 Individual clients, relationship issues 160 What if my client doesn't come back? 162 Is it wrong for clients to depend on you? 163 Fees and gifts 165 What if one of my clients commits suicide? 166 What supervision can do, and what it can't 168 You can't take your client where you haven't been yourself 169 When following the client isn't enough 170 How do I know when they're finished? 171 How can I be there for clients if I'm falling apart? 173 What being a counsellor or therapist will mean 174 Chapter 9: Further Along The Road Less Travelled: What Counselling And Therapy Can Accomplish 176 Cycles, not stages 177 Trust-short term and long-term 177 Goals-in the short term and in the longer term 180 Awareness and honest expression of feelings 183 Becoming an observer of oneself 184 Pivotal moments 185 The person of the therapist 186 Endnotes 188 Must-Read Books 192 Index

About the Author

Hugh Crago holds degrees in English language and literature, social sciences, and counselling psychology from universities in Australia, England and the USA. He is the author or co-author of eight books and some 120 articles, and retired as Senior Lecturer in Counselling, Western Sydney University in 2012. He has practised as a counsellor and therapist for nearly forty years, and with his wife Maureen was co-editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy from 1997 to 2009. Hugh continues to work as an individual and couple counsellor and group therapist in Blackheath, near Sydney. Penny Gardner has lectured in Counselling and developed and taught in the Psychotherapy program at Western Sydney University since 2004. She has a wealth of clinical experience in a range of settings, using the model in this book with all age groups and client presentations.


This unique text is a welcome contrast to formulaic texts on counselling and therapy. It enables new counsellors and therapists to deepen their abilities to "be with" clients and develop a range of interventions and skills. - Professor Ione Lewis in Psychotherapy in Australia; A Safe Place for Change is not obsessed with content and instructions, it is not limited to just one approach, but instead provides a holistic and integrated foundation on which to build further knowledge of both skills and theory. Highly recommended! - Paul Bogacs, Lecturer and Counselling Strand Convenor, Avondale College of Higher Education; It is such a unique text in the way it clearly explains issues for the beginning therapist, and what this strange beast called "process" looks like. - Kim Kownacki, Morling College

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