1st Edition

Cognitive Behavioural Chairwork Distinctive Features

By Matthew Pugh Copyright 2020
    226 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Cognitive Behavioural Chairwork: Distinctive Features provides a practical, accessible, and concise introduction to both the theory and practice of chairwork, one of the most powerful and exciting methods of intervention in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and is the first book to synthesise its many applications in CBT and allied therapies.

    Part of the popular 'CBT Distinctive Features' series, this book contains a wealth of effective experiential procedures for working with automatic thoughts, emotions, behaviours, core beliefs, ambivalence, strengths, well-being, and cognitive processes such as worry and self-criticism. Readers will also learn how chairwork is applied in other areas, such as clinical supervision and associated psychotherapeutic approaches including compassion focused therapy, schema therapy, positive psychotherapy, and motivational interviewing. Techniques are presented in an easy-to-understand format and illustrated using clinical examples and therapy transcripts. The result is a comprehensive guide which demystifies chairwork and places it at the heart of CBT’s continued evolution.

    Created for practising clinicians, researchers, and training therapists, Cognitive Behavioural Chairwork: Distinctive Features will appeal to both individuals who are new to chairwork and those who are familiar with its techniques.


    1 A brief history of chairwork

    2 Chairwork in cognitive and behavioural therapy

    3 Forms of chairwork

    4 Forms of facilitation

    5 Forms of perspective-taking

    6 Lights! Self-multiplicity (principle I)

    7 Camera! Embodiment and personification (principle II)

    8 Action! Dialogue (principle III)

    9 Process skills

    10 Mechanisms I – information processing

    11 Mechanisms II – emotion

    12 Mechanisms III – imagery

    13 Mechanisms IV – retrieval competition

    14 Mechanisms V – other processes

    15 Evidence base


    16 Applying chairwork in CBT

    17 Using chairwork to socialise clients to the cognitive-behavioural model and allied approaches

    18 Using chairwork to address negative automatic thoughts

    19 Using chairwork to address problematic emotions

    20 Using chairwork to assess and modify behaviours

    21 Using chairwork to address dysfunctional cognitive processes

    22 Using chairwork to modify negative core beliefs

    23 Using chairwork to develop and consolidate positive core beliefs

    24 Using chairwork to resolve ambivalence and enhance motivation

    25 Using chairwork to develop compassion for the self and others

    26 Using chairwork to modify schema modes

    27 Using chairwork in positive CBT

    28 Using emotion-focused chairwork to augment CBT

    29 Using chairwork in CBT supervision

    30 Addressing common obstacles when using chairwork


    Matthew Pugh is a Clinical Psychologist, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, and Advanced Schema Therapist. He works with the Vincent Square Eating Disorders Service (Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust) and is an Honorary Clinical Lecturer with University College London.

    "Occasionally a book is written that fills such a big hole that you wonder how it hasn’t been written before. When it is also so practical and written with such clarity, you know it is something special. Cognitive Behavioural Chairwork is such a book. Of all experiential processes in CBT, chairwork is amongst the most powerful, yet least well articulated. Dr. Pugh has produced an elegant, beautifully constructed book that traverses the history, theory and practice of chairwork in an extraordinarily accessible way."  - Professor James Bennett-Levy, PhD, University of Sydney, author of Experiencing CBT from the Inside Out: A Self-Practice / Self-Reflection Workbook for Therapists.

    "Part of the role of psychotherapy is to help clients differentiate, tolerate and integrate different processes within themselves. Inviting them to adopt, become, and enact different parts –  be they emotions, motives, or even memories – is increasingly recognised as a core therapeutic process. In this exceptionally insightful, clear, and useful book, Dr. Pugh skilfully guides the therapist through the history of chairwork and its different forms and functions. Full of fascinating clinical insights and wisdoms, along with step-by-step guidance in this way of working, this text is a must-read. I will return to the book many times."  - Professor Paul Gilbert, OBE, Founder and President, Compassionate Mind Foundation, author of The Compassionate Mind.

    "Cognitive Behavioural Chairwork is an invaluable resource, especially in enhancing your ability to help clients change their cognitions, at both the intellectual and emotional level, in order to bring about enduring change in their mood and functioning. Excellent case examples illustrate the rationale for chairwork and teach you how to use your conceptualization to integrate specific evocative techniques. I highly recommend this book!" - Professor Judith S. Beck, PhD, President, Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Clinical Professor, University of Pennsylvania, author of Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond

    "In this important volume, Dr. Matthew Pugh has integrated his vast knowledge of the cognitive behavioural therapies with what he has learned from his chairwork practice. Filled with succinct and compelling vignettes, this book will empower therapists to help patients heal their internal conflicts, reduce their self-hatred, work through traumatic and disturbing memories, confront difficult interpersonal challenges, and overcome their fears of self-expression. For those interested in chairwork and/or CBT, this book is a gift." - Scott Kellogg, PhD, Transformational Chairwork, New York City

    "This state-of-the-art book gives the most comprehensive overview of different forms of chairwork that can be used in CBT, covering working mechanisms as well as practical applications. A must-read for therapists who want to extend their repertoire with this powerful experiential method, that reaches the emotional core directly."  - Professor Arnoud Arntz, PhD, University of Amsterdam, author of Schema Therapy in Practice: An Introductory Guide to the Schema Mode Approach