Philosophical Issues in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Encounters with Four Questions about Knowing, Effectiveness, and Truth

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To become a counselor or psychotherapist, one must learn a confusing and conceptually disconnected array of theories, techniques, and ideologies. For instance, CBT, humanistic, and psychodynamic interventions have virtually opposite conceptual foundations, but they are all used to help clients. What principles, however, connect the various movements, trends, and methods of helping? In Philosophical Issues in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Encounters with Four Questions about Knowing, Effectiveness, and Truth, James T. Hansen asks and proposes beginning resolutions to four fundamental philosophical questions about knowing, effectiveness, and truth that are designed to unite and give meaning to diverse and seemingly contradictory models of helping: What does it mean to know a client? What makes counseling effective? Are truths discovered or created in the counseling relationship? Should counselors abandon the idea of truth? Although these questions are complex, Hansen provides plain language answers that make the material accessible to readers who have no formal education in philosophy. Furthermore, he addresses these questions in the context of his personal struggles to find meaning—making the book an engaging and highly enjoyable reading experience.

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Editorial Reviews

Colette Dollarhide
In these pages, an extraordinary conversation has been initiated. Dr. Hansen invites the reader to walk with him through the labyrinth of philosophy to reflect on four critical questions of the counseling profession that lie at the heart of the work he loves. Through exploring the intersection of history, culture, power, language, and theory, Dr. Hansen is able to weave a synthesis of logic that provides counselors, counselor educators, and counselors-in-training with a unified view of helping that transcends conventional epistemology. Rather than avoid these challenging issues, the reader is invited into Dr. Hansen's personal and professional journey that reveals the meaning-oriented soul of the quintessential humanist. This book is an intellectual and professional delight and will be on the required reading list for all my theories classes in the future.
Matthew E. Lemberger-Truelove
Dr. Hansen has written a rare book that will inspire novice helping professionals while also challenging and invigorating more seasoned practitioners. His wit and insight make for an engaging and edifying read—I strongly recommend this book as essential reading for all counselors, psychologists, and social workers!
Richard House
Jim Hansen’s self-styled ‘unusual book’ brings philosophical questioning to life in a delightful read that is clear, erudite, and personally engaging with its delicately effective balance between the academic and the deeply personal. In making a compelling case for an ‘affirmative postmodern’ approach to therapy that eschews modernist notions of ‘truth’ and which offers an effective antidote to the increasing mechanization of therapy work, Hansen refreshingly questions the politics of professionalization—raising deep philosophical questions about the therapeutic process itself and arguing for a humanities-centred approach in the Nussbaum tradition. The book also makes a resounding case, if inadvertently, for the intellectual freedom of the Academy. Aspiring and thoughtful students of the human condition will benefit greatly from reading this fine book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442228771
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/2013
  • Pages: 166
  • Sales rank: 810,814
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

James T. Hansen is a professor at Oakland University in the Department of Counseling. His primary scholarly interests are philosophical and theoretical issues in counseling and critical examination of contemporary mental health culture. Dr. Hansen has published about fifty refereed articles in leading counseling journals. He is also the co-editor of an award winning book on humanism. Dr. Hansen has over twenty-five years of experience as a practitioner, supervisor, and consultant.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Mental Health Culture
Chapter 2: Introduction to Philosophical Questions
Chapter 3: What Does it Mean to Know a Client?
Chapter 4: What Makes Counseling Effective?
Chapter 5: Are Truths Discovered or Created in the Counseling Relationship?
Chapter 6: Should Counselors Abandon the Idea of Truth?
Chapter 7: The Journey Continues
About the Author

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