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Human distress is sometimes thought of as ‘psychopathology’, a thing separate to the person, that affects people; a thing that can be diagnosed, treated and hopefully cured. This mindset leads psychiatrists, psychologists and other therapists to develop ‘evidence bases’ for specific ‘disorders’ and manualised forms of ‘treatment’. While there are advantages to this way of seeing distress, it is clearly only one framework and sometimes leaves the client feeling depersonalised and unheard. It is also a view that has been critiqued and criticised by service users and professionals alike.
Diagnosis and Beyond: Counselling psychology contributions to understanding human distress explores forms of distress such as depression, anxiety, phobias and personality disorder going beyond what can sometimes appear as meaningless and horribly painful experiences to describe the meanings that can be embedded within these difficulties. The book also considers ways in which therapists and clients can create meaning, hope and possibility through robust, relational therapeutic processes. By recognising the universality of human distress, the contributors also discuss the ways in which their own experiences and feelings are a legitimate, and central, part of the therapeutic process.
Foreword Professor Arlene Vetere
Preface. Diagnosis and Beyond: Counselling psychology contributions to understanding human distress Martin Milton
Ch.1. Introduction. Dealing with diagnoses Roly Fletcher
Ch. 2. Depression: Un-medicalising misery Joanna Jackson
Ch. 3. Anxiety: Reaching through fear Lucy Atcheson
Ch. 4. Phobias: Extreme fear in everyday situations Lucy Atcheson & Martin Milton
Ch. 5. Pain: Working with meanings Terry Boucher
Ch. 6. Relational Trauma:The boy who lost his shadow Louise Brorstrom
Ch. 7. Borderline Personality Disorder: Ending with diagnosis Timothy Knowlson
Ch. 8. Embodiment and somatoform disorders: From symptoms to domains Ben Rumble
Epilogue. Going beyond diagnosis Martin Milton
Working with the person beyond their diagnosis is an essential skill for all psychological therapists. This critical exploration of diagnosis and its alternatives makes a valuable and refreshing contribution to our field: helping us to deepen our capacity to relate to our clients as the diverse, meaning-orientated and intelligible human beings that they are. Professor Mick Cooper, University of Strathclyde
… thoughtful attempts by counselling psychologists in practice to go beyond diagnosis and instead to engage with clients in a manner which is respectful of the urgency and yet also of the complexity of their distress … Martin Milton and his contributors have taken a significant step forward for writing about counselling psychology. Dr Bill Farrell, Research Fellow, Auckland University of Technology