• The Pluralistic Therapy Primer

The Pluralistic Therapy Primer

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ISBN 9781910919866
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Pluralistic therapy offers an open, inquiring, flexible framework for client-centred practice. It was introduced in response to the schoolism that emerged from the growing numbers of competing schools and models of therapy in the early years of the 21st century. Built on the principles of pluralism, it promotes partnership and equality between client and practitioner, client-defined goals, and a willingness and flexibility in the therapist to adapt their ways of working and draw on a range of models and approaches to best suit the client’s needs and preferences. It values difference and promotes inclusivity and dialogue within the field. In this long-awaited book, Kate Smith and Ani de la Prida summarise the principles, underpinning philosophy and key features of the approach. They also consider the emerging research into pluralistic therapy and what it can look like in practice.

Introduction to the series

Preface - Mick Cooper

1. What is pluralistic therapy?

2. Key principles

3. Problems in living

4. The collaborative relationship

5. The process of pluralistic therapy

6. The process of change

7. Training, professional development and supervision

8. Common questions and answers

9. Research on pluralistic therapy

10. Case study

Resources for learning



This book is a very welcome addition to PCCS’s Primer series. The authors write clearly and sensitively about pluralistic therapy, which is growing in popularity among counsellors and therapists who are not wedded to a particular way of working with clients. Of particular value is the chapter where the authors answer commonly asked questions concerning pluralistic therapy and another that provides a composite case study. It is my hope that this book will bring pluralistic therapy to the attention of practitioners who seek a broad, inclusive framework to guide their therapeutic work and to trainers who are looking to train flexible and open-minded therapists. I highly recommend it .Windy Dryden, Emeritus Professor of Psychotherapeutic Studies, Goldsmiths University of London 

Kate Smith and Ani de la Prida have provided us with an essential tool for those interested in learning about how to apply a pluralistic perspective to their counselling and helping practice. They provide a rich narrative and a range of accessible chapters, offering ways of weaving pluralistic thinking and practice skills into day-to-day counselling work. Their concept of a task taxonomy is a great way to convey central elements of working pluralistically, providing a novel tool for reviewing practice in training, supervision, and research. In a nutshell, their primer prepares practitioners for pluralistic practice.  It will be essential reading for the rapidly growing international group of practitioners interested in developing a pluralistic perspective on practice. Lynne Gabriel, Professor of Counselling and Mental Health, York St John University

The growing interesting in pluralistic practice has, perhaps, spoken to the understanding that people often need different things at different times in therapy.  How we meet the diverse needs of people from diverse communities in a truly inclusive and collaborative way can be more of a challenge.  Kate Smith and Ani de la Prida have, in this book, provided an erudite and engaging narrative about pluralism and pluralistic practice.  This is, frankly, a superbly written text that provides the interested, the inquisitive and the experienced with a wonderful gateway into the world of pluralism.   Dr Andrew Reeves, Associate Professor in the Counselling Professions and Mental Health

This primer offers an accessible and informative introduction to an approach to counselling and psychotherapy practice that emphasises the capacity of the client and therapist to work collaboratively together and share decisions about the direction and focus of therapy. It is essential reading for anyone interested in developing an understanding not only of pluralistic practice itself but also the broader tradition of psychotherapy integration that it represents.  Julia McLeod, Lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Abertay University

This book will likely be a core text in the counselling and psychotherapy literature. Trainee therapists will find here an overview of the approach to help them make sense of a range of inter-connected concepts and practices. Experienced practitioners who are curious about the pluralistic framework will find here a foundational text to help them explore the pluralistic territory and their place within it. Using case examples, rich detail and clear language, this primer prepares counsellors and psychotherapists for this abundantly varied and collaborative way of being with clients. Nicola Blunden, Director of Studies, Metanoia Institute, London

This book celebrates the creativity and resourcefulness of clients and therapists and explains how they can draw on their combined knowledge and life experience to address problems in living. The authors combine and philosophical and research-based sources, along with practical guidelines and a wealth of case examples, in a consistently readable and engaging manner. It is a book that is clear, profound and highly recommended.  John McLeod, Emeritus Professor of Counselling, Abertay University, and Visiting Professor, Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling, Dublin 

Kate Smith

Kate Smith qualified as a pluralistic therapist in 2009 and currently heads the Division of Health Sciences at Abertay University, the original home of pluralistic therapy training. Kate obtained her first and master’s degrees at Cambridge University and went on to complete her doctoral research at the University of St Andrews on the links between autobiographical memory, life stories and mental health.  She is the author of numerous academic and practitioner publications on pluralism and mental health. She is a chartered psychologist, a founder member and chair of the Pluralistic Practitioner Network and co-chair of the International Conference on Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy. She maintains a small practice and supervises pluralistic practitioners and is on the board of governors of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Kate is the mother of two sons and lives in Scotland.

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Kate Smith

Ani de la Prida

Ani de la Prida is a psychotherapist, creative arts counsellor and supervisor. She has 20 years’ experience working with groups, adults, children and young people in a range of settings. She currently has a small private practice and is on the Executive Committee of the Private Practice division of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Ani is a lecturer and teaches on the pluralistic counselling programme at the University of East London, where she did her master’s degree research on the use of digital media in therapy. Ani is also the founder and course director of the Association for Person Centred Creative Arts. She is author of What Works in Counselling and Psychotherapy Relationships (BACP, 2020).

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Ani de la Prida