Psychology and Therapy: General Interest

This section focuses on psychology and therapy books and articles of broad general interest.

Psychology and Therapy

General Interest

Axline, V.M. (1964/1990) Dibs: In Search of Self. London: Penguin.

This remarkable little book recounts the story of a child named Dibs, initially judged mentally defective by parents and teachers alike. In reality, he was an astoundingly intelligent and creative individual living in a world of pressures which he first found nearly overwhelming. Through psychotherapy and play therapy, however, the boy eventually came to discover himself and found that, as the author puts it in the preface, "the security of his world was not wholly outside himself, but that the stabilizing centre he searched for with such intensity was deep down inside that self". While the book is not in any way explicitly partisan, it nonetheless provides an excellent demonstration of the value of an approach which seems at heart person-centred.

Cornell, A.W. (1996) The Power of Focusing. Oakland: New Harbinger.

Written by a former student of Gendlin, Cornell's book has been a very well-received follow-on to the Gendlin (1982) classic.

de Board, R. (1998) Counselling for Toads: A Psychological Adventure. London: Routledge.

Based on characters from The Wind in the Willows, this book recounts the adventures of Toad and his counselling sessions with Heron; as Heron uses transactional analysis as his therapeutic approach, it's also a good introduction to this particular type of counselling.

Dryden, W. and C. Feltham (1995) Counselling and Psychotherapy: A Consumer's Guide. London: Sheldon Press.

In terms of print resources designed to help individual clients navigate the wide range of counselling and psychotherapy options, this book is at or near the top of the list. Short, understandable, and practical, it is probably one of the best investments a prospective client can make prior to beginning counselling.

Gendlin, E.T. (1978/1982) Focusing. New York: Bantam.

Eugene Gendlin, once a research colleague of Carl Rogers, here provides a popular account of his work with a technique called 'focusing'. The technique is based on observations of what successful psychotherapy clients seem to do anyway, of their own accord, formulated in such a way that almost anyone can learn to do it and those who do it naturally can learn to do it even better. The approach might be understood as a way of becoming more aware of the bodily 'felt sense' of problems and then using that awareness to effect change in the way personal problems manifest themselves within the body. The felt sense itself might be understood as the reaction of the entire extended nervous system to a particular problem. There are interesting echoes here with Rogers's descriptions of the fully functioning person and the individual's trust in the whole organism -- see, for instance Rogers (1961), p. 191 (using pagination from the 1967 edition). Quite apart from counselling, it seems to me this area is crying out for cross-fertilization with research exploring interactions between the central, peripheral and enteric nervous systems as well as for experiments with commisurotomy patients. Also see Cornell (1996).


This page was last reviewed by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Thursday, 3 November 2022.