Counselling psychology

Critical achievements, possibilities, and limitations

Authored by: Richard House , Colin Feltham

Handbook of Critical Psychology

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9781848722187
eBook ISBN: 9781315726526
Adobe ISBN: 9781317537182


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The term ‘counselling psychologist’ had appeared as a recognized professional title in the USA as early as 1951 (Munley et al. 2004). Ironically, the UK became home to the person-centred approach (PCA), which was initially the main driving force behind the growth of counselling, at the same time as its influence in the USA began to wane. Arguably, its original anti-authoritarian flavour was welcomed by Americans in the 1950s, but subsequently declined as psychotherapeutic practice came to be dictated by medical authorities and insurance companies. The PCA flourishes quietly amongst voluntary and educational counselling agencies and in private practice in the UK, but has now been eclipsed by the rise of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in the NHS (e.g. House and Loewenthal 2008), by the ethos of evidence-based practice (e.g. Chwalisz 2003; Corrie 2009; Levant and Hasan 2008), the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) (e.g. Mollon 2009). At the time of writing (autumn 2013), certain forms of humanistic therapy and counselling are shaping themselves up for rigorous research in order to demonstrate their comparable effectiveness. It seems doubtful whether Rogers’ legacy – sometimes hailed as a ‘quiet revolution’ – can live up to its radical promise (Grogan 2013).

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