by Brigid Proctor
Founding Member and Fellow of BACP  (The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy)

I am sure that anyone reading this book will find it a good read and I hope it will reach a wide range of readers.

It was originally written for those who may be interested in going for help and counselling for their partner relationship. However, it will also, I am sure, be of interest to counsellors, therapists and psychologists who work mainly one-to-one; giving them a chance to experience a couple’s therapist at work.   Other relationship counsellors, too, would be interested in experiencing the author’s ‘model’ of working; it offers them a rare chance to compare their own ways of working.  Finally, it is a fascinating read for anyone who is, has been, or hopes to be, in a satisfying core relationship.

The complexity of ‘what happens in counselling and therapy’ is hard to convey.  Here the method the author uses is to offer an acute description of interactions between herself and both of the partners as they engage in couples counselling/therapy. This includes her own unspoken inner dialogue. She then ‘steps back’ from her description, and shares, with the reader, her understanding, thinking and intention in the session. The effect is almost as if she runs a video and then comments on it. The result is a wholistic impression of how a therapist feels, experiences, thinks and decides what to do and say.

The book reminds us of the complexity, skilfulness and development that is present, to a greater or lesser extent, in all core relationships that are satisfying and fulfilling to both partners. It also gives careful and generous tips and advice for how to develop relationship skills. It offers reminders of the ages and stages of individual and  ‘twosome’  systems and the challenge of  achieving balance at different stages.

Many of the clients who feature in  the sessions have never been enabled to develop those skills adequately. The complete absence of any judgmental attitude towards them by the therapist is, in itself, healing and enabling.

The book is a tribute to the skill and wisdom that the author has developed through working (and training others to work) with couples. Her subsequent work with abused and abusive partners could not be more needed.

Brigid Proctor, Founding Member and Fellow of BACP