• The Art of Bohart: Person-centred therapy and the enhancement of human possibility

The Art of Bohart: Person-centred therapy and the enhancement of human possibility

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ISBN 9781910919798
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Art Bohart is one of today’s foremost theorists and practitioners of person-centred therapy. His work has influenced generations of person-centred students and practitioners, both here in the UK and in the USA, his home country. This book brings together his personal pick from the many papers he has delivered at conferences in Europe and the USA, previously unpublished. They are, as he says in his introduction, packed with ideas that have only now found their way into print. Here, he shares his thoughts on topics including wisdom in psychotherapy, the role of empathic listening, therapy as a meeting of persons, why interventionism isn’t therapeutic, how to practise integratively from a person-centred point of view, therapist mindsets and assimilative integration, subjectivity in psychotherapy and psychology, client courage, hope, what isn’t wrong with avoidance, and the nature of the self and change. These are all issues with which person-centred therapists grapple daily, distilled by a master of his art and presented here as powerful lessons for us all.

Foreword by Pete Sanders


1.         Person-centred therapy: a radical vision

2.         Enhancing personhood: working with the one who does not get ill

3.         Further meditations on clients’ wisdom

4.         Empathy-based psychotherapy: developing a model of person-to-person psychotherapy

5.         Self-organising wisdom in psychotherapy: theoretical conception and early empirical investigations (co-authored with Makenna Berry Newton)

6.         Some neglected insights of Carl Rogers

7.         Becoming the self that one is: an implicational view of personal change

8.         Listening to subjectivity

9.         Of mindsets and meta-perspectives: person-centred therapy and assimilative integration

10.       Listening as being: an alternative to hope

11.       The pernicious idea of avoidance

12.       Working with the internal critic

Art Bohart is one of the most influential and progressive thinkers within the field of psychotherapy. This book is a reflection of his true creativeness. Each of the chapters both affirms the theory of person-centred psychotherapy and expands it. These talks, a number of which I was fortunate enough to hear first-hand, show how he sees person-centred psychotherapy as a radical, deeply empathic process, focused on the subjectivity of clients, and placing absolute trust in the organismic wisdom of the person. As is so typical of Bohart’s approach, he has developed his propositions in such a way that they are both inclusive and expansive, creative and future oriented while grounded in his firm belief in the power of personhood. This book will give any reader a real insight to Art Bohart’s person-centred approach. Simply, fantastic! David Murphy, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham, UK

This book brings together a dozen of Art Bohart’s amazing, legendary, and inspiring conference presentations from the past 30 years. Art is one of the heroes of our MSc course in counselling and psychotherapy here at the University of Strathclyde. He’s one of a small number of writers who, over the past 30 years, have made a real, generative impact on how we think about person-centred therapy and indeed psychotherapy in general.  In these essays, he spells out a range of implications that flow from his central vision of clients as actively engaging with psychotherapy in order to change themselves. Thought-provoking, playful and scholarly, Art represents contemporary person-centred therapy at its best: provocative and passionate yet also open-minded, down-to-earth and full of compassion and common sense.  I’m delighted that I will now be able to point my students in the direction of this lovely edition of his previously unpublished papers.  Read these Artful essays one at time and savour them.  An Art a day keeps the CBT away!  Robert Elliott, Professor of Counselling, University of Strathclyde, UK

Such a joy to have these unpublished papers by Art all in one place. When I've been lucky enough to go to international conferences, his presentations are top of my list to attend for intellectual stimulation, challenging insights and profound thinking about what it means to be human, the power of empathic listening and encounter and the potential and wisdom of organisms in growth promoting environments. Art’s style reflects his content – accessible, dialogic, deeply respectful of difference, humble, playful, imaginative and creative. He is ever open to new discoveries, drawing on a wide range of life experiences including a love of literature and film as well as being a client and therapist and a rigorous researcher and academic. This book will be inspirational and invaluable for those working in healing human relationships and living in the world today. Art is passionate, principled and committed to a person-centred mindset while being understanding, respectful and learned about other models and approaches to counselling and psychotherapy. Suzanne Keys, counsellor working in education, UK

An international treasure of humanistic psychology and psychotherapy integration, Art Bohart offers his poignant insight and clinical wisdom in this new volume.  He’s one of a handful of psychotherapists I always read, and I enthusiastically encourage you to do likewise. John C. Norcross, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychology, University of Scranton, USA

Arthur C Bohart

Arthur C. Bohart is professor emeritus at both California State University Dominguez Hills and Saybrook University. He is the co-author or co-editor of several books, including How Clients Make Therapy Work: the process of active self-healing, Empathy Reconsidered; Humanity’s Dark Side, and Constructive and Destructive Behavior. His work has focused on empathy, the client’s role in psychotherapy, client-centred therapy, psychotherapy integration and evidence-based practice in psychotherapy. Currently, he is semi-retired and doing part-time teaching at Santa Clara University.

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