• Psychotherapy: a critical examination

Psychotherapy: a critical examination

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ISBN 978 1 906254 61 2
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In this, the latest addition to the PCCS Books Critical Examination series, internationally acknowledged academic and psychotherapist, teacher and supervisor Keith Tudor focuses his spotlight on psychotherapy.

The aim of the series is to subject the varied psy professions to rigorous critique by leading proponents in their fields. As Professor Ian Parker writes in the foreword: ‘Each theory is only as strong as its capacity to withstand sustained critical examination of the assumptions it makes about the world.’

Written in an accessible, conversational style, and drawing on a myriad of philosophies and practices, the book can be read and enjoyed by practitioners, academics and educators at every level, including students and those contemplating psychotherapy as a career progression.

It aims to represent pluralism, diversity and internationalism and to encourage continued critical reflection on psychotherapy as a practice, discipline and profession. Its content is:

  • philosophical, in that it deals with fundamental issues of being human, and the nature of things such as relationships and how people change.
  • historical with regard to some of the traditions, concepts, and discussions in psychotherapy
  • political, in that it addresses isues of power and social justice
  • reflexive, in that it encourages and critical consciousness and advocates this in terms of practice
  • practical, on the basis that, as Marx put it: ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world... the point is to change it’, and
  • developmental, in that it takes the reader on a fascinating journey through becoming, being and belonging as a psychotherapist.


1. Being critical

2. Psyche and therapy

3. Methods, practice and praxis

4. Theory

5. Personal therapy and supervison

6. Research methodology and method

7. Education, training and sustaining professional development

8. Profession, discipline and social criticism

Chapter 1 concerns the nature of being critical. Chapter 2 questions the nature of psychotherapy and its scope and purpose. Chapter 3 critiques the different elements of practice – qualities, attitudes, conditions, skills and competence. Chapter 4 examines psychotherapy theory in the context of four intellectual traditions – the Enlightenment, Romanticism, modernism and postmodernism. Chapter 5 reflects critically on two elements that support critical practice – personal therapy and supervision. Chapter 6 examines the knowledge that underpins research, both the methodology and the practice. Chapter 7 considers education and training in psychotherapy. Chapter 8 concludes with some critical reflections on psychotherapy as a discipline, as a profession, and as offering social criticism.

‘Keith Tudor’s remarkable tour de force marks a historical turning point in the evolution of the psy therapies. No therapist can afford not to read this book.’

Dr Richard House, chartered psychologist, left-green political activist and writer

‘This important book teaches clinicians to think carefully and to question everything about psychotherapy: its doctrines, its institutional training, its assumptions, its practices, its aims, its views of the human. Keith Tudor is training us to be practising philosophers, for the benefit of those whom we
serve. A valuable and challenging read.’

Donna Orange, Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) and Consultant/Supervisor for the New York University post-doctoral program in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis

Keith Tudor

Keith Tudor is Professor of Psychotherapy at Auckland University of Technology, an Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the University of Roehampton and a Fellow of The Critical Institute, with a long and varied career in the psychotherapy profession as a practitioner, teacher, supervisor and academic. He trained originally in gestalt therapy, and subsequently in transactional analysis and person-centred psychology. He is a member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, in its Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy College, and a provisional member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists. He is also a teaching and supervising transactional analyst, accredited by the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA). In 1993, with his partner, Louise Embleton, Tudor, he co-founded Temenos, an independent training organisation, which (still) runs courses in person-centred psychotherapy and counselling, and supervision. Keith is a widely published author in the field of psychotherapy and counselling, and mental health, with over 100 peer-reviewed outputs. His books include: with others, The Person-Centred Approach: A Contemporary Introduction (Palgrave, 2004); with Mike Worrall, Freedom to Practise: Person-centred approaches to supervision (PCCS Books, 2004) and Freedom to Practise II: Developing person-centred approaches to supervision (PCCS, 2007), and Person-centred Therapy: A Clinical Philosophy (Routledge, 2006); with Tony Merry, The Dictionary of Person-Centred Psychology (PCCS Books, 2006); with Graeme Summers, Co-creative Transactional Analysis: Papers, dialogues, responses, and developments (Karnac Books, 2014); Conscience and Critic: The selected works of Keith Tudor (Routledge, 2017); Pluralism in Psychotherapy: Critical reflections from a post-regulation landscape (Resource Books, 2017).

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Keith Tudor