Mick Cooper, Maureen O'Hara, Peter F. Schmid, Gill Wyatt


Houndsmill, Basingstoke, U.K. (Palgrave Macmillan) 2007
440 pages, 15,6 x 23,4cm,
Paperback, ISBN 1403945128, 24,99 £ / 35,99 EUR
Hardcover, ISBN 0230535267, 75 £ / 117 EUR

Cover   Description   Reviews & Endorsements   Authors   Contents and Keywords   Editors


Featuring contributions from leading international figures in the person-centred world, this landmark volume provides a comprehensive, in-depth and cutting-edge overview of the field. The Handbook describes the underlying principles, theory and concepts of the approach in a coherent and clearly structured way, and closely relates these ideas to therapeutic practice and research.

With sections on theoretical background, practice, contexts and professional issues, it is an invaluable resource for students on advanced person-centred training programs and practitioners. With its numerous case vignettes and extensive references, it is set to become the final authority on person-centred therapy for students and practitioners the world over.

Read the Preface here.

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A goldmine of information on the theoretical as well as the practical aspects of the person-centred approach. I highly recommend this excellent handbook to trainers and students within and outside our orientation.
Germain Lietaer, Emeritus Professor,Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

The contributors represent a Who's Who of contemporary person-centered thinkers and practitioners. They consolidate the conceptual and clinical advances of the current resurgence of interest in person-centered counselling and psychotherapy, actualizing the intellectual potential of this human, humane way of being with others. This Handbook will be the standard reference work in the area for some time. 
William B. Stiles, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, USA

This scholarly book will prove to be an indispensable resource for many years to come. It brings together a distinguished group of contributors from many countries who provide a comprehensive exploration of the person-centred field at the present time. It demonstrates the depth and versatility of an approach which can claim both a rich history and a powerful capacity to respond to the challenges of the contemporary world. A spirit of hopeful excitement permeates its pages.
Brian Thorne, Emeritus Professor of Counselling, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

The Handbook captures the person-centered spirit in its openness to the varieties and differences in the off-shoots from Carl Rogers’ basic client-centered therapy. Like Rogers, the writers are genuinely respectful towards the contemporary developments among practitioners in the person-centered approach. The Handbook is an advanced course, of value to all counselors and therapists. This Handbook is a necessary read for counselors and therapists, whatever their present orientation. It is amazing in the range and depth of scholarship it presents, on history, philosophy, therapy practice and contextual concerns. It is rich with research support and clinical examples.
Barbara Brodley, Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University, Chicago

This is a truly exhilarating, inspiring and provocative volume. ... The Handbook is a collection that impresses by its scope and depth. ... Part One is the foundation of the book and goes to great depth ... a veritable goldmine. It contains the most in-depth explorations of the roots of the approach and the foundational principles of PCPC. ... The handbook is a welcome addition to the PCPC canon. It is a highly accessible, clear and penetrating book. In contains great scope and provides a major amount of information to the reader. It is a book that can be read through or dipped into for relevant work. This book has to be on the bookshelf. of anyone who is seriously interested in the theory and practice of PCPC. ... This is a 'state of the art' volume. Students will find it an invaluable help academically and practically; educators have at their fingertips a portable goldmine of the most up-to-date writings within the approach. related professionals can acquire appropriate and most importantly, accurate knowledge of PCPC. Importantly, the Handbook paves the way for a 'major new way of conceptualising and practising' PCPC.
Seamus Nash,  Person-Centred Quarterly, November 2007

... the authoritative Handbook of Person-Centered Psychotherapy and Counselling
John McLeod, Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies 7,1, February 2008

So comprehensive is this handbook, that if students of the person-centred approach could only afford to buy themselves one book, then they would do well to make it this one. Bang up to date, the book features contributions from pretty much everyone who is anyone in the person-centred world. It opens, appropriately, with a condensed version of a talk given in Vienna by Carl Rogers in 1981, in which he outlines the basic conditions of the Facilitative Therapeutic Relationship. This sets the scene for an amazingly wide-ranging reference book, which is logically structured for ease of navigation. The 28 contributors hail from all corners of the globe bringing a colourful variety of perspectives and expertise. For me, as a trainer, this is a dip-in, one-bite-at-a-time book. If I want to pick almost any aspect of this huge topic, it seems I will
find it here. For example, in the Therapeutic Practice section, each of Carl Rogers’ conditions is covered in great depth, exploring the core concepts and relating theory to practice, so useful for students working on case studies and theory assignments, not to mention qualified counsellors working towards accreditation. In my experience, people learning about counselling enjoy real-life examples of the
process in action, and here this handbook scores again. There are vignettes of client-counsellor dialogue dotted throughout the book, which help to bring the text to life. The joy of the book is that whilst it covers all the topics you need, such as ethics, diversity, supervision, training, research etc, it also expands its remit into other areas. In a fascinating chapter entitled ‘Applications beyond the Therapeutic Context’, the book explores the person-centred approach at work, in politics, in expressive arts and in work with life-threatened people. Would I recommend it? Most definitely!
Sue Rowe, Counselling tutor and BACP accredited counsellor, Therapy Today, February 2008

I approached this compendium of current thought on person-centred therapy with a mixture of interest and apprehension. Interest because I know many of the people who have contributed to it and some I count amongst my friends - what they have to say is always worth listening to. Apprehension also because of my familiarity with the writers and their thinking - what if the content was so familiar to me I found it difficult to say anything new and encouraging? However, the more I read, the more excited I became. In every way, the book echoes and confirms the opening statement of the preface ‘these are exciting times for the field of person-centred psychotherapy and counselling’. There is a liveliness and freshness about the book, a vibrancy which brings the cutting edge of person-centred therapy to life. It is comprehensive in coverage, well written and well edited. Moreover, even though there has been a recent blossoming in the publishing of books concerned with person-centred therapy, this
one adds something. It is not only that the editors and authors bring their up-to-date thinking about, reflections on and experience of person-centred therapy to it but that they do this in a refreshing and accessible way. Each chapter is individual in its approach and style and yet the editors have managed to ensure that while giving their contributors licence they still manage to bring the collection together as a cohesive
whole. The book includes contributions from the position of classic client-centred therapists (for example, Jerold Bozarth and Elizabeth Freire), the emerging ‘dialogical’ orientation (for example, Peter Schmid and Mick Cooper), those who are advancing ways of working in a person-centred way in clinical settings (for example, Margaret Warner) and proponents of pre-therapy (for example, Gary Prouty and Dion van Werde). There are also chapters addressing the interface with the medical model. What is specifically excluded from the book is coverage of the related field of experiential therapy. This is because the editors rightly consider this worthy of deeper and more systematic coverage than the space available to them
allowed. The book is divided into four sections each addressing an aspect of contemporary
person-centred theory and/or practice. These sections are:
• Theoretical, historical and philosophical foundations including anthropological, ethical, experiential and phenomenological aspects. One of the unusual features of this section is the inclusion of a chapter on group therapy and encounter groups, an often overlooked but essential element of person-centred therapy.
• Therapeutic practice with chapters on each of the six necessary and sufficient conditions at its core, each innovative and up-to-date in its consideration.
• Settings and client groups which embrace pre-therapy, difference and diversity, work with couples and families, person-centred practice within a medical framework, and in crisis intervention and applications of the person-centred approach ‘beyond the therapeutic context’. The latter includes short sections on person-centred approaches at work, peace work and expressive arts therapy.
• Professional issues including approaches to research, ethics in practice, supervision and training. There is also a chapter on ‘resources’ incorporating information on, for example, international organisations, journals, empirical research and useful web addresses.
It is a major attraction of this book that the content goes beyond the core ‘one-to-one’ counselling and psychotherapy which is so often the sole focus of books on therapy (although this is given due weight and consideration).
The contributors include many of the leading exponents of the approach from across the world including not only scholars from English speaking nations (Australia, Canada, UK and the USA) but also Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands. As the back cover of the book has it, this is indeed a Who’s Who of contemporary person-centred thinkers and practitioners. Certainly each contributor brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, whether of theory, philosophy, research, ethics, practice or some combination of these. Given the pedigree of the contributors and the ambition of the book to reflect ‘important international perspectives to the field’, it is as may be expected a ‘high-end’ and scholarly tome and will have a long-standing place as a resource book and a work of reference. It will be of great use to scholars and advanced students of the approach and those of other stripes. However, for all its erudition, because of its accessibility and the focus on important contemporary issues it is not to scholars alone that this book will be useful. There is something in it for everyone whatsoever their interest in the approach and the level of their experience and knowledge. This book is a valuable addition to the growing and impressive library of person-centred theory and practice; it accurately reflects ‘the state of the art’ and deserves to find a place on the bookshelf of every scholar and student of the approach. I recommend it highly.
Paul Wilkins, British Journal of Guidance & Counselling 36,2 (April 2008)

The editors emphasize the relational approach, which they see as “a major new way of conceptualizing and practising person-centered therapy” that corrects “the early one-sided emphasis on independence and autonomy” (p. xxii) in Rogers’ work. The Handbook’s great strength is that it forces readers to examine their own positions, construct their own views of the field, and, ideally, as the editors say, “take the field forward in ever more innovative and exciting ways” (p. xxiv). For students defining a position and professionals susceptible to new ideas, the book has much to offer. For the rest of us, it's an extremely useful snapshot of the amazing variety of ideas and approaches that have sprung from the fecund work of Carl Rogers.
Barry Grant, Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies
, Summer 2008

We all have some handbooks on our shelves. These give us a possibility to quickly inform or reassure ourselves about certain details in the topics covered by the Handbook. Some of them address a very broad area; some other are more specialized. The Handbook of Person-Centred Psychotherapy and Counselling belongs to the group of specialized ones. Some of these handbooks read like any other edited book, and others are excellent as a quick but extensive source of information. The Handbook falls between these two ends of the scale. The 28 chapters in four parts are fairly brief and, although they read like papers on the topic they cover, particularly in the Parts 1 and 3, they actually provide concise information based on the books the authors published about the described issue. The eight chapters of Part 2 are written in a very concise and comparable manner and thus represent the handbook format at its best. The five chapters of Part 4 cover well circumscribed topics such as ethics in practice in person-centered therapy and a person-centered perspective on supervision or training in the person centered-approach, and thus correspond to an expectation of a handbook.
PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA

5.0 out of 5 starsbest counselling book ever!!!
this is the best book I've bought on person centred counselling - it is now my bible!
amazon.co.uk - gertrude plankton "gertie" - Dec 2009

'Reading this volume is much like hearing a piece performed by a concert master (with Rogers leading out from the first chapter), then having a wealth of premier musicians comment on, explicate, and revel in the master's work, each bringing his or her own unique perspectives, histories, understandings, contributions and talents to bear. The structure of the book is both wide-ranging and complete...Within each major section, Rogers scholars present explication of the core concepts of PCA in a cogent, thoughtful manner.'
Joseph Hulgus, Ph.D., Missouri State University, USA, The Person-Centered Journal

So comprehensive is this handbook, that if students of the person-centred approach could only afford to buy themselves one book, then they would do well to make it this one.
Bang up to date, the book features contributions from pretty much everyone who is anyone in the person-centred world. People learning about counselling enjoy real life examples of the process in action, and here this handbook scores again.
Therapy Today - February 2008

This is a truly exhilarating, inspiring and provocative volume.
Person-Centred Quarterly

Nothing less than sublime pleasure.
The Person-Centered Journal

The person-centered approach, which traces its heritage to the classic works of Carl R. Rogers, has now expanded to become a lively global community of scholars and practitioners who, while responsive to the move towards evidence based approaches, have nonetheless maintained their commitment to the epistemological and methodological advances that Rogers’ introduced into thinking about psychotherapy and counseling.
The publication of this new volume provides a wonderful illustration of the currency and theoretical vibrancy of the approach within Europe. This major new work, mostly by leading international figures in the person-centered world, and provides a cutting-edge, in-depth, and comprehensive overview of the underlying principles, theory, and concepts of the approach. The strong editorial hand has resulted in a collection of chapters that provide a coherent and logically structured way, closely relating practice and research.
With sections on theoretical background, practice, contexts, and professional issues, it is an invaluable resource for students on advance person-centered training programs and practitioners.
... Peter F. Schmid follows with a discussion of anthropological and ethical foundations of person–centered therapy. Schmid’s chapter is one of the most thorough, yet uninteresting, chapters in The Handbook, bullet-pointing influences from Christian theology to Lao-tse, phenomenology to Behaviorism. The chapter concludes, however, with an interesting discussion of otherness, and introduces the importance of phenomenology. ...  Peter F. Schmid and Maureen O’Hara present the value of seeing relationships outside the one-to-one notion carried by many theorists, noting Rogers’ own influence by the Hawthorne studies and the work of Kurt Lewin. The value of encountering a plurality of experiences and world-views to facilitate individual change highlights the chapter.
The book is wellstructured, containing multiple chapters that could serve as the cornerstone of any training program in counseling clients from any theoretical orientation. The authors and editors do a thorough job of responding to the critics of the person-centered approach, acknowledging both the strengths and weaknesses of the perspective and its practice over the past 50 years.
Charles Powell, The Humanistic Psychologist, 2010

This book encapsulates the 'state of the art' of person-centred theory and practice. It is a key resource to which over thirty eminent theorists and practitioners from across the world have contributed.
Paul Wilkins and Janet Tolan in 'Client issues in counseling and psychotherapy', p. 11 (2012)

Out of the Closet but Still Fighting

Person- or client-centered psychotherapy or counseling is an approach that is closely identified with Carl Rogers and stands for a particular school of encounter with human beings seeking support and help in various settings. Person-centered psychotherapy must be credited for putting the relationship of the therapist and the client in focus and as a point of departure for any psychotherapy encounter. It has been shown in numerous studies that these issues matter (Diener, Hilsenroth, & Weinberger, 2007; Shirk, & Karver, 2003).
For a psychotherapist like myself, who does not belong to the circle of the client-centered psychotherapists, it is actually surprising to be reminded how much these propositions that are closely connected to the work of Carl Rogers are generally accepted and adhered to. This is the best indication of the success of the psychotherapy system promoted by Rogers and his followers.

The first part of the handbook covers the theoretical, historical, and philosophical foundations of client-centered therapy. It contains such diverging contributions as the chapters on the philosophical roots of person-centered psychotherapy, on the one hand, and on the professional development of Carl Rogers on the other. The six conditions for therapeutic change that Rogers (1957, 1959) formulated are taken one by one as the topic of each chapter in the second part of the Handbook, psychological contact, client's incongruence, therapist's congruence, unconditional positive regard for the client, empathy, and the client's perception. This part is a real gem and speaks for the handbook format of this book. The eight chapters of the second part are all organized in the same way, giving the reader a quick reference on the conditions formulated by Rogers, the additional concepts on which the conditions are based, and further development in regard to these topics. The authors, like all of the authors of the Handbook, are known experts on the issue, each having written a detailed book on the topic to their credit.
The third part addresses some settings and client groups, such as using a person-centered approach within a medical framework, crisis intervention or counseling across difference and diversity, and person-centered couple and family psychotherapy. The excellent fourth part deals with professional issues.

The 28 chapters in four parts are fairly brief and, although they read like papers on the topic they cover, particularly in the Parts 1 and 3, they actually provide concise information based on the books the authors published about the described issue. The eight chapters of Part 2 are written in a very concise and comparable manner and thus represent the handbook format at its best. The five chapters of Part 4 cover well circumscribed topics such as ethics in practice in person-centered therapy and a person-centered perspective on supervision or training in the person centered-approach, and thus correspond to an expectation of a handbook.

This is a publication worth purchasing and reading for anyone engaged in a profession dealing with human beings. It unites the best writers and researchers in the field.

Ladislav Valach, in: PsycCRITIQUES [APA]. Vol 53 (28), 2008


Barfield, Gay L. Barrett-Lennard, Godfrey T. (2) Bohart, Arthur C. Bozarth, Jerold Carrick, Lorna Cooper, Mick (3) Cornelius-White, Jeffrey Elliott, RobertFinke, Jobst Freire, Elizabeth S. Hakim, Lila Z. Johns, Martha B. Keys, SuzanneLago, Colin Lambers, ElkeLand Henderson, Valerie O'Hara, Maureen (3) O'Leary, Charles J. Proctor, GillianProuty, Garry Rogers, Carl R. Rogers, Natalie Sanders, Pete (2) Schmid, Peter F. (3) Takens, Roelf J.Teusch, Ludwig Toukmanian, Shaké G. Tudor, Keithvan Kalmthout, Martin Van Werde, Dion Warner, Margaret S. Wyatt, Gill (3) Worsley, Richard







MICK COOPER, Ph.D., is a Professor of Counselling at the University of Strathclyde, UK and a UKCP-registered Existential Psychotherapist. He is co-author, with Dave Mearns, of Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2005) and author of Existential Therapies (2003).

MAUREEN O'HARA Ph.D. is Chair of the Department of Psychology at National University in La Jolla, California, USA. She has trained therapists and counsellors world wide and worked for many years with Carl Rogers. Maureen is a Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

PETER F. SCHMID Univ.Doz. HSProf. Mag. Dr., works at the University of Graz, the Sigmund Freud University and the Institute for Person-Centered Studies in Vienna, Austria. Peter works as a psychotherapist and is co-editor of the international journals Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies and PERSON.

GILL WYATT works as a psychotherapist, supervisor, facilitator and consultant. She is the series editor of Rogers' Therapeutic Conditions: Evolution, Theory and Practice (PCCS Books)