Bearing those two arguments in mind, it is pertinent to ask: What goes on in counselling and psychotherapy between the therapist and their client? Do they speak the same language? Do they hear the same story? Can either of them make an original move, which is not a pure habit from the past, dominated by their innate and socially shaped emotions?
Clearly, it is very important for every counsellor and psychotherapist to know what is happening in their communication with their clients. But this is not covered as a standard part of most counselling and therapy training courses. This book is intended to fill that training gap.
It begins, in Chapter 1, by exploring, in a thought experiment, how counsellors perceive their clients; and then moves on to look at stories and scripts. We then consider that the client is not just a story-teller, but also a body, which needs to be properly fed and watered in order for the emotional/behavioural component to function properly.
We then look at whether it would work to think of the client's story - and the therapist’s story about the client - as 'useful fictions', rather than facts.
We then explore the role of interpretation in creating memories of human experiences.
Chapter 2 reviews some of my own learning about the limits of human capacity to produce objective stories.
In Chapter 3, I delve more deeply into the status of autobiographical narratives as stories of felt recollections.
Then, in Chapter 4, I present my own Story of Origins, as a case study of the ability of an individual to reconstruct their own childhood story. And this ends with some conclusions about the value of the story I constructed.
Chapter 5 is my definitive attempt to show how autobiographical stories can be analyzed, and the pitfalls that arise in constructing them. And a list of guidelines for analysing client stories is constructed and presented.