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Psychotherapy and counselling are now widely available to help people overcome emotional and psychological difficulties in their lives. They involve spending time with a professional in an emotionally safe and structured relationship to explore and express the issues that cause distress and difficulty, such as long term self-doubts, relationship problems, or the impact of a trauma or crisis. As a society, we now take this focus on talking through and understanding our identity and relationships for granted, but it is hardly more than a century old.
In this Very Short Introduction, Tom Burns and Eva Burns-Lundgren trace the development of psychotherapy from its origins in Freud's psychoanalysis to the range of different approaches - counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy, and other time-limited therapies, mindfulness, group and family therapies, and many more. Describing the processes central to them all and highlighting their differences, they demonstrate what problems each therapy are best suited for. They explain the principles behind the most commonly available types of psychotherapies and provide examples of what patients can expect when they seek such help. They conclude by examining the practice of psychotherapy - the types of training psychotherapists have, the safeguards that exist to keep practice reliable, and how one goes about choosing a psychotherapist.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Tom Burns trained in medicine in Cambridge and London and in psychiatry in Scotland and London, including a training as a Group Analyst. After three years in Sweden he worked for ten years as an NHS consultant psychiatrist in St. George's Hospital, south London. He took up the Chair of Social Psychiatry at Oxford University in 2003. His main research interests are in the optimal care of psychosis patients in the community and more recently on coercion (both formal and informal) and its impact on the therapeutic relationship. He was awarded a CBE for his services to mental health in 2006.
Eva Burns-Lundgren trained as a social worker in Sweden in the 1970s, and went on to practice as a generic and mental health social worker in the UK, before retraining as a psychotherapist in the 1990s. She is accredited as a psychotherapist in the UK with the UKCP and ACAT, and also with the European Association for Psychotherapy. She has practiced within university and national health service settings and for 10 years ran the university accredited Cognitive Analytic Therapy course in Oxford. She is now retired from the NHS but continues to practice privately and in a trainer and examiner capacity.