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The course of therapy

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The therapy process

Whatever the aims of therapy, the process can be conceived of in broad terms as consisting of these segments. These may be carried out in sequential order or worked on concurrently.

Firstly the person seeking help is encouraged to tell their side of their story. This may be in the form of:

  • Biography.
  • Creative narrative.
  • Symptom description
  • Non verbal display

Second the therapist processes the account and in the light of their knowledge, theory and practice offers an explanatory account of their client’s difficulties. This may be in terms of  :

  • Commonsense cultural knowledge
  • Theoretical knowledge developed through experience
  • Religious knowledge
  • Scientific knowledge


There is then a process of social negotiation between the two parties to flesh out a joint account. This may involve:

  • Reframing of the clients difficulties in the light of the therapists account.
  • Confirmation by the therapist of the clients understanding.


On the basis of this exchange the two parties engage in various behaviours aimed at changing the thoughts, feelings or behaviour of the client to improve their troubles. The therapist may engage in:

  • Objective physical activity
  • Symbolic physical activity
  • Didactic verbal behaviour
  • Non didactic verbal behaviour

The client may engage in:

  • Objective physical activity
  • Symbolic physical activity
  • Internal verbal activity
  • External verbal activity

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