Browse our latest collection of new and bestselling titles in counselling and psychotherapy

Here are our new and bestselling titles in counselling and psychotherapy. For more information on any of the books inside, simply click the title or cover image to view the full book page.

Incorporating creativity in supervision

Chesner-Zografo_Creative-Superv_978-1-84905-316-7_colourjpg-print Anna Chesner, co-author of Creative Supervision Across Modalities, explains why using creativity in supervision sessions can benefit both the supervisor and supervisee, and gives her top tips for any therapist or helping professional new to using this approach.

Why is the use of creativity so effective in supervision sessions?
Creativity helps to link right brain and left brain understanding of practice. Often as practitioners we may have a feeling of stuckness, or going round in circles. Using creative methods helps us to facilitate new perspectives and fresh energy.

How can creative supervision ensure that a fresh perspective is maintained in supervision sessions, and how does this benefit the supervisor and supervisee?
Creative supervision can bring a new perspective and fresh energy to reflecting on our clinical or other professional practice. This in term can bring fresh energy and clarity to our sessions with clients. If supervision itself lacks vitality it may become part of the problem, rather than facilitating possible solutions.

In chapters 2 and 3 of your new book you write about the importance of roles in creative supervision – why is this? Which of the roles you mention do you think it is most difficult for a new supervisor to take on? Is there one that they tend to slip into more easily?
Not so much roles as an understanding of role (singular). The concept of role helps us to think about our “way of being” and our clients’ way of being. It is a practical tool for looking at patterns of behaviour and relating. Supervisor’s need an awareness of the multiple roles they may inhabit as a supervisor, and in the best case some role flexibility. Similarly, practitioners from all fields can benefit from thinking about their own roles in their practice, and indeed the roles of their clients within their various systems.

What is the most challenging thing you have to cover with trainee supervisors? What is it that they usually struggle most with in terms of incorporating creativity into sessions?
Supervision trainees have firstly to meet the challenge of getting to grips with the role of supervisor, which is distinct from their more familiar roles as clinician. There is an added challenge in learning how to use creative techniques in a way that is a spontaneous response to the supervisory question or focus and remains firmly within the frame of supervision.

Why is it that ‘irrational’ thinking can be such a crucial part of the creative process?
Not so much irrational as out of awareness, or known only implicitly. Face to face clinical work involves the practitioner in complex, multi-layered interactions, where physical or felt sense, and imagination are as important as the actual words spoken. Our right brain awareness can be brought to light particularly well through creative approaches to supervision.

You mention several times the importance of establishing a clear focus in the supervisory session – why is this?
A clear focus or supervisory question is helpful for a number of reasons. It ensures transparency about what kind of help or reflection opportunity is being sought. It supports a collaborative approach between supervisor and supervisee. It reveals the level at which a supervisee is able to reflect on and articulate their process.

What are the top tips you would give to a supervisor who is new to using creativity in their sessions?
– Reflect on your own interventions in the light of supervision theory
– Bring your creative supervision practice to your own supervision space
– Remain open to new learning
– Undertake training in the use of creative supervision methods


Podcast: Dramatic Problem Solving with Steven T. Hawkins

Steven Hawkins, author of new book Dramatic Problem Solving: Drama-Based Group Exercises for Conflict Transformation, speaks to This is Wisdom – Radio about his background in theatre and how he came to develop his creative approaches to problem solving within education. He talks about how the Dramatic Problem Solving approach has brought personal and community change to some of the poorest people in Costa Rica as well as corporate board rooms.

You can listen to the podcast here, or go to This is Wisdom – Radio for more details. You can also find out more about Steven’s work on his blog:


Bereavement support groups and creative writing – a conversation between Dodie Graves and Jane Moss

In this conversation, bereavement service co-ordinator Dodie Graves and creative writing tutor/bereavement group leader Jane Moss talk about their experiences of facilitating bereavement groups and some of the creative techniques that can help people express themselves.

Dodie Graves (left) and Jane Moss (right)

Dodie: My experience of groups goes way back to being a participant during my seminary days, when we had to work collaboratively to get projects completed. It always seemed to me to be a most unhelpful and unfair way of doing things, as there were a few of us that would do the work and a few who would be “carried”. I suppose after that I wanted to make sure that groups I was in were more structured and constructive and I guess I took that into my counselling training when it came to doing a module on groups. In my own “group work” I was looking for clear and safe leadership and a place to be myself in secure hands. This, I think, is what I have wanted to create for bereaved people in groups, where they already feel vulnerable and want to find a safe place to share some deep things.

Jane: This rings lots of bells with me. As a writer working in bereavement support (through Cruse Bereavement Care and in partnership with hospice counselling teams), I find that the people who come to my writing groups are looking for something more structured than a talking group. They want to try writing as a means of self-expression, but attending a group also seems to offer them a safe place in which to compare their experiences and stories with others. They often take their writing into one to one sessions too, which can be helpful.

Dodie: It’s so good for them if they can get a benefit in that way. Being in a group can be quite scary for the participants as they will have to contend with others’ opinions of them and others’ needs. There are some real advantages to attending a group though, once the initial apprehension has passed and the group starts to feel cohesive. Bereaved people who join a group are coming into a “community” of suffering and they can start to be there for each other, they can share together, cry together and encourage one another. They can also get advice from each other that they wouldn’t get from being in a one-to-one counselling session.

Jane: That’s so true. People are always nervous at the first meeting. I hear worries such as ‘I can’t spell’, or ‘I was rubbish at writing essays at school’! It’s part of my role to reassure people that spelling and grammar don’t matter; you can always go and tidy it up later. It’s much more about finding the confidence to express yourself in your own voice and share with others who empathise with you. I believe the arts are a great way for people to open up about things they might find hard to talk about or even give a name to. The great thing about writing is that it is so accessible. All you need is a pen and paper, and the page is available any time of day or night.

Dodie: As a facilitator, I think you also have to have an added dimension – a real appreciation for the power of the written word. I have found getting people to write and also to work creatively with their emotions and their thoughts can be powerful. Having tried some group work with creative exercises, I would love to try the approach that you, Jane, have taken with bereaved people coming together to write creatively about their grief.

Jane: When I first started thinking about ways to bring writing and bereavement support together, you, Dodie were one of the people who inspired me. I think we’re both quite practical people, and writing is such a practical activity. I have found that some people want to write directly about their grief, whereas others prefer not to. At first this worried me because I thought some people might feel forced into writing about sad experiences; but in practice I find that people write about whatever they need to. I use themes and structured exercises a lot – for example, journeys, family stories, anniversaries – and I often offer a published poem or extract from a story to provide people with a starting point, so they can respond in any way they want to. People often express pleasant surprise at the results, saying that they hadn’t expected to write about a happy memory or a positive emotion such as hope.

But going back to your first point, Dodie, about the value of providing structure, I often find that some people in a group will participate fully while others stay quiet. These are the ones I work hard to engage with. Offering short writing forms like lists, acrostics or haikus (short poems of three lines of five, seven and five syllables) can work well. If someone is feeling shy or tongue-tied in the face of big difficult emotions, a word limit or a specific focus seems to help them contain what they want to express.

Dodie: I guess in a “talking” support group, we might feel more at ease with people who are quieter, as long as they are engaged in the process. It’s the dominating ones that can cause us concern. These people need to be encouraged to find their place but not take over. Facilitating groups with a number of unknown people is a real adventure!

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

The Therapeutic Milieu Under Fire

By John Adlam, Anne Aiyegbusi, Pam Kleinot, Anna Motz and Christopher Scanlon, editors of the new volume, The Therapeutic Milieu Under Fire.

What therapy can be offered to people with forensic histories and how might it work? What can we learn about the minds of offenders from observing our own reactions to working with them? How do teams working with dangerous and disturbed people survive? How can organisations themselves become perverse and abusive, and how is it possible to prevent this through reflective practice and team development?

In The Therapeutic Milieu Under Fire, we explore these and other essential questions in forensic work in organisations and institutions. We work with highly complex, disturbed, dangerous and endangered people; trying to keep their thinking alive despite conscious and unconscious assaults on the therapeutic relationships and on the milieu itself.

This book is based on a series of seminars organised by practitioners that promoted psycho-social enquiry into the nature of forensic systems of care and the qualities of their relationship to the excluded outsider.

This book also reflects on this particular historical moment and it movingly describes the impact of the lethal attacks that have been carried out against organisations and institutions that were dedicated to providing care for some of our most vulnerable fellow citizens. It argues powerfully that it can be a false economy to ignore the wealth of accumulated practice-based evidence and to offer, by contrast, so-called evidence-based, technical-rational packages of treatment under the guise of improving access to psychological therapies.

This volume is in the form of a series of psycho-social and ‘groupish’ associations to the theme of the therapeutic milieu under fire. The approach is trans-disciplinary and it offers spaces for conversations between service-users, nurses, social therapists, project workers, housing support workers, probation officers, psychiatrists, social workers, group analysts, psychologists, psychotherapists, managers, civil servants, educators, researchers and the general public (among others) about the changing and complex relationship between troubled individuals and their troubling social, organisational and institutional context.

The contributors all work on the ‘frontline’ in one way or another, many working with marginalised and excluded outsiders at the edges of our exclusive society. This book explores the ways in which these outsiders are offended against and how, in turn, they offend against others, within systems designed both to care for and to contain them. What is the task of the professional caring for a mentally disordered offender? How can they offer security without custody, or care without collusion or detachment? When does ‘care’ become a perversion of ‘control’? Why is thought replaced with action and why might it be so hard for the milieu to replace action with thought? These are some of the central questions that were debated in our one-day seminars, and whose dynamics are explored in this text.

In presenting this range of papers, and the multiple complexities that these authors explore, we hope to enable the reader to come to a better understanding of the ways in which the therapeutic milieu comes under fire from without and within, so that we can think together about how to remain thoughtful and committed to the task while anticipating and responding to these inevitable attacks.

Thinking under fire is essential in this work, and so too is reconstructing our internal and external milieu. The systems-psychodynamic thinking of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy and the therapeutic community model combine in contemporary practice to give us a model of the conscious and unconscious processes that inform criminal acting out or the expression of personality disorder: a model that helps us to make sense both of the violence in the patients and the violence in the societal response.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

Psychodrama and constellation work remind us of the value of groups

By Karen Carnabucci, licensed clinical social worker, practitioner of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy, and author of Integrating Psychodrama and Systemic Constellation Work.

Both psychodrama and systemic constellation work happen in groups – which brings new emphasis to the function and value of groups.

So much of today’s psychotherapy happens in individual sessions that we can easily forget about the magnificence of groups and their enormous possibilities of healing. We like that the new constellation work reminds us of the value of groups, along with psychodrama, which has championed groups for decades.

Let’s look at the status of groups today and how psychodrama and constellation work look at groups:

Most recently today’s groups are often volunteer support vehicles for people fighting addiction, like 12-step programs, or supports for the more chronically mentally ill and their families. There are an endless amount of voluntary groups for a host of people facing particular mental or physical problems and illnesses – people who need others they can identify with and exchange with, and get support from.

There are still professional talk group therapies, but they are difficult to find and often viewed as socialization or re-socialization mechanisms to supplement individual psychotherapy. They are generally designed for people needing help with social skills, to get feedback from others on how they come across, as well as training in effective reciprocal exchanges. These groups also are seen as adjuncts to individual psychotherapy. Talk group work is certainly not considered the meat and potatoes of professional therapy help. The decisive move toward making an internal change and achieve self-betterment is still seen as primarily to be accomplished in individual psychotherapy

In contrast with talk therapy groups, experiential group psychotherapy is seen as the gold standard of experiential work, with individual therapy the supplement. Here is the most potential for therapeutic change, and where the difference can be experienced first hand, in contrast with individual therapy.

It is always the “experience” that makes the difference for a experiential therapist, and that experience comes best in the context of group, the cradle of a client’s history, the place where his or her socialization began.

J.L. Moreno, the originator of psychodrama, and Bert Hellinger, the originator of systemic constellation work, extol that the possibilities for therapeutic change are their greatest in experiential group psychotherapy. Although both methods have now been adapted to individuals, couples and families, it is still best to understand the exploration of clients’ issues and process in terms of the original group work before adaptations to other settings.

Whatever the applications, they are still seen as most potent in the group context with great effectiveness for their members However, there is one the major difference between group experiences. Historically, psychodrama has been seen as a group therapy and as a living laboratory for human relationships. Its group process springs out of dynamics among participants and the common relationship connections that we call sociometry. Each session’s focus usually explores one person’s situation, as one after another emerges from the group as the “protagonist,” the one who best reflects the central concern for the group at any given time. The protagonist, then, does his or her work not on their own behalf but as a result of the dynamics of the group.

Constellation work is not based on what is happening with the group’s members. Rather, the group is the arena for participants to present individual issues, with bonding among participants as secondary. Connection is not based on identification with others’ experiences or reciprocal sharing but rather on, assisting others and being assisted by others in the search for answers. We might even say that systemic constellation work is not really a group therapy but rather a therapeutic group experience.

Participants in a systemic constellation group often feel a warm bond with each other, but the bond is based on collaboration with the mutual task at hand. The goal is not really improved relationships with significant others in one’s life or even others within the group. The goal is to help each other figure out what lies beneath the dynamics of each one’s family system, in each person’s intergenerational history, exploring what may have gone wrong, when, and then in learning how to go about healing it.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

My Journal Journey – An Article by Kate Thompson, author of Therapeutic Journal Writing

Kate Thompson is a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor and Supervisor in private practice, and a professional member of Lapidus UK. In 2010, she wrote Therapeutic Journal Writing as part of the JKP Writing for Personal Development Series.

In this short article, Kate shares her thoughts on process writing and includes some handy notes on writing for yourself and with a group.

My own journey from childhood diary writing in the 1960s to journal therapist in the 21st century has indeed been an almost lifelong process. This journey continues today, propelling me into the modern world of blogs and internet therapy which in some ways is a very natural development from journal writing.

I start from the premise that writing is always both a creative and a therapeutic act. I know that many people, including some of our greatest writers past and present, would agree with me, but others would not. I need to emphasise that therapeutic journal writing (almost a tautology, certainly the opposite of an oxymoron) is about process writing rather than product writing.

I have since childhood been one of those who felt ‘compelled’ to write. But I also want to stress that I am an intermittent journaller. I am full of admiration for those who do write every day but I do not – some of my clients write far more than I do.

[NOTE: Journal writing is sometimes referred to as a discipline or practice. One of the Myths of journal writing is:

“you have to do it every day”

You don’t. Often as possible is good, even five minutes counts, but there is no point in setting up unachievable goals – that way ‘failure’ lies and neither our clients nor ourselves need encourage that.]

So I have journalled on and off through childhood, adolescence and adulthood. It is the way I process experience; it is the way I make sense of the world.

Writing the book was a personal and a professional journey. It is the culmination of more than15 years of professional practice. It brings together my twin passions for therapy and literature (I was a reader before I was a writer; I was a student and teacher of literature before I was a therapist). I wrote this book because this was a book I would have liked when I was training as a counsellor. At that time I had no idea that you could (‘were allowed to’) use journal writing as a therapeutic medium with clients. But I did know that it worked for me so it seemed natural to want to try. This book would have legitimized my instincts and given me the confidence to do it openly. Finding Kathleen Adams and The Center for journal Therapy in Colorado told me I was right.

In fact I’ve had three mentors who have encouraged me and supported me in this work:

Kathleen Adams, Gillie Bolton and Emmy van Deurzen.

I thank you all.

The journal container is big. People who come to my workshops or groups often show surprise about how broad the idea of journal writing is – the range of techniques at our disposal goes far beyond the descriptions of ‘what I did yesterday’. Journals can also include art, quotation and project plans as well as personal written stories or reflection leading to healing and growth.

Feedback forms often contain comments such as:

“I had a very narrow definition of journal writing – I know better now.”

I think my favourite comment on a feedback form is:

“I came with very low expectations – they were exceeded.”

I’m sure he meant it kindly.

There is one therapeutic journal technique which completes the reflective loop and does much to promote the integration of experience. It is a way of giving yourself a little written feedback after any journal entry:

The Feedback Loop

Read through your journal entry and then write a couple of sentences:

E.g. When I read this I notice…

When I read this I feel…

This to me is the key to therapeutic journal writing – I encourage anyone who keeps a journal to employ this technique which really completes the loop and can consolidate the insights and learning – you can try this at home immediately.

I always love to hear how people use journaling for themselves and with others, for personal and professional reasons – please tell me your experiences:

Read Kate Thompson’s Therapeutic Journal Writing Blog »

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2012.

VIDEO: Writing for Therapy or Personal Development – A Conversation with Dr Gillie Bolton

Dr Gillie Bolton is a renowned therapeutic writing practitioner and author of many JKP books, including Write Yourself: Creative Writing and Personal Development.

In this video, Dr Bolton discusses the new book – the latest in the Writing for Therapy or Personal Development series, of which she is also the series Editor – and shares some of the experiences that brought her to the growing field of therapeutic writing. She also shares some of the types of writing exercises that she returns to again and again for her own personal development, and talks about the importance of hearing your own internal mentor.


Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

Integrating Psychodrama and Systemic Constellation Work – An Interview with Karen Carnabucci

Karen Carnabucci, MSS, LCSW, LISW-S, TEP, is a licensed clinical social worker and board-certified trainer, educator and practitioner of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy. She has trained with Zerka T. Moreno, J.L. Moreno’s widow and collaborator in psychodrama, and Heinz Stark, a leading trainer in systemic constellation work. Her private practice in psychotherapy and teaching is based in Racine, Wisconsin, USA.

Karen and her colleague, the late Ronald Anderson, MDiv, LPC, TEP, are the authors of the new book, Integrating Psychodrama and Systemic Constellation Work: New Directions for Action Methods, Mind-Body Therapies and Energy Healing.

Here, Karen discusses the profound impact that using psychodrama and systemic constellation work together can have for clients struggling with emotional pain.

Why do psychodrama and systemic constellation work complement each other so well?

Psychodrama and systemic constellation work – sometimes called family constellation work – look very similar yet have some specific differences. Psychodrama explores the conscious story that we tell ourselves about what has happened in our lives or what we wish would have happened. Constellation work goes deeper, delving into the distorted unconscious energies in the family system and allows love to flow more fully through the system.

Because we may have various levels of consciousness about various parts of our lives and the lives of our family members, it’s helpful to be able to choose different methods for different situations.

Can you describe a particular case in which this integrative approach was especially effective and led to outcomes that would not have been possible using either approach alone?

We have so many examples in the book of how the meshing of these methods can offer so much to clients.

We briefly share the vignette of Louise in chapter 4: “Assessment: An Adventure into the Being of the Person”. Louise initially clung to her identification as a victim and had a very hard time admitting that her alcoholic mother’s family background may have been difficult. What we do not say in the book is that Louise slowly grew to have a more complex understanding of her mother’s emotional pain with the use of role reversal, which is a psychodramatic technique. As she was able to shift from her role of victim, she was able to become more compassionate about her mother’s troubles. She became more curious about her mother’s life and began to wonder what had happened in the larger family system. The new roles of “compassionate one” and “curious one” finally led her to participate in a constellation session where it was revealed that her mother suffered some kind of severe childhood trauma. She watched her mother’s representative tremble and weep and found respect for her mother’s suffering within her. As she acknowledged the mother’s suffering, she felt a genuine love for her mother and now thanks her for the gift of life.

How did you and Ron come to write this book?

Our decision to write a book was very spontaneous. Ron had just received the Innovator’s Award from the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama at its 2010 conference due to his pioneering work in integrating the two methods. As we passed Ron’s plaque around our table to admire, he and I realized that although a number of psychodramatists were beginning to combine the two methods, we were the only psychodramatists we knew who had actually written about the integration of these two methods in our training group handouts, articles and blogs. I suggested that we write a book that would introduce psychodrama to constellation facilitators and constellation work to psychodramatists. Ron agreed, and we began writing the book.

Experiential psychotherapy is truly the psychotherapy of the 21st century. Cutting-edge research tells us that our brain is constantly changing as we have new experiences. Certain experiences have changed the brain in ways that involve distress and pain. However, the experiential therapist can facilitate new experiences for the person that continue to change the brain – this time not for distress but for healing.

Experiential therapy recognizes our wholeness as human beings. This wholeness is not just a concept or a theory; it means actually working with – and working through – our experiences, which encompasses our thoughts, feelings, sensations, energies, and conscious and unconscious knowings. So, with experiential therapy we are working with the whole person, not just a part of the person.

This is the first book to discuss and compare these two experiential methods that are growing around the world.

How does the book reflect your general philosophy?

I believe that the experiential psychotherapy is a psychotherapy that is more complete, more holistic, than traditional talk therapy. It is the experience that makes the shift within the person – the knowledge and insight can be important but it is often not enough to instill permanent changes within the person.

What are some common obstacles that practitioners in this field have when trying to apply this particular intervention or approach?

Many constellation facilitators are misinformed about psychodrama, if they even know of it. They often think of psychodrama as simple role playing, although role playing is just one part of the method, which involves a complex theory of human development as well as the practice of sociometry, which observes how people connect with each other in groups. Psychodramatists may have difficulty in understanding that we can discover wisdom within ourselves simply by listening to the nuances of our moment-to-moment body experience – without the drama and the theater-type activities – that helps others.

As more practitioners in one field learn more about the theory, practice and applications of the other field, all of us will have more tools to work with people who are struggling with painful situations. And, of course, I endorse and encourage training in both modalities so that people are using these powerful methods in ethical ways.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.

VIDEO: The healing power of Poetry and Story Therapy – An Interview with author Geri Chavis

Geri Chavis is a professor of English at St. Catherine University, Minnesota, USA, a Licensed Psycholgist in private practice, and a Certified Poetry Therapist and poetry therapy mentor/supervisor. She is a former Vice President of the National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT) and is an Editorial Board member of the Journal for Poetry Therapy. A few years ago, she was named honorary President of the newly-formed Irish Poetry Therapy Network.

In this video, Geri talks about her new book, Poetry and Story Therapy: The Healing Power of Creative Expression, and explains how poetry and stories can act as powerful catalysts for personal growth and greater self-esteem and self-awareness. She also provides examples of poems she has used in her own therapeutic work, and discusses how they helped her clients to find the meaning in past traumas and begin to heal.


Poetry and Story Therapy is part of the Writing for Therapy or Personal Development series, edited by Gillie Bolton.

Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.