Principles and Practices of Relational Psychotherapy  book cover
1st Edition

Principles and Practices of Relational Psychotherapy

ISBN 9780367461027
Published December 29, 2021 by Routledge
264 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides an overview of the basic principles in relational therapy, which, in combination with the latest research about the significance of the therapeutic relationship, makes it possible to present practical therapeutic tools and techniques to help the therapist make optimal use of the interaction between patient and therapist.

It presents models and concepts in relational psychotherapy that may contribute to the patient’s development of relational and emotional competence, and to more authentic and meaningful ways of living with oneself and others. The book specially emphasizes the significance of the mutually constructed emotional interplay as the material for key experiences in the development of the patient – and therapist.

The focus is on the usefulness of relational principles and research findings in psychotherapies of shorter duration, in primary care, psychiatric clinics, and private practice.

Rich in clinical examples, Principles and Practices of Relational Psychotherapy is an extremely useful resource for psychotherapists and clinical psychologists in training and practice.

Table of Contents

Foreword; PART I Principles; 1. Invitation; 2. Empirical studies; 3. The road to the relational perspective; 4. Problems in relating; 5. Theoretical principles; 6. Problems, goals, procedures, and processes; 7. Affects, attachment, and mentalizing in the therapeutic relationship; 8. Support and challenge; 9. Recipes and tools; PART II Practices; 10. David; 11. Try to understand who the patient is; 12. Listen for your own thoughts, fantasies, and feelings; 13. Stay in the present, be concrete and specific; 14. Be spontaneous, be genuine, and talk about your reactions; 15. Be mindful of the affective interplay; 16. Attend to the common potential space; 17. Listen for conflicts, stay in conflicts; 18. Meta-communication; 19. Model mentalizing; 20. See the patient from the outside; 21. See yourself from within; 22. How to develop as a relational psychotherapist; References; Index

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Rolf Holmqvist is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Linköping University, Sweden, where he researches and teaches in psychotherapy. He has worked as a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor for 50 years.


Holmqvist achieves the dual feat of capturing the complexity of an influential tradition in contemporary psychotherapy and opening new pathways to expand and improve its clinical impact. As an integration of rich theoretical constructs, illustrative cases, practical guidelines, and up-to-date empirical findings, this is a fascinating book!

Louis G. Castonguay, Ph.D.

Liberal Arts Professor of Psychology, Penn State University

Holmqvist takes us on a comprehensive journey that thoughtfully considers critical questions and concerns of relational psychotherapies. He captures the complex and integrative spirit of the relational revolution –in addressing such subjects as affectivity, attachment, mentalization, metacommunication, and intersubjectivity (plus the various paradoxes and pressures posed). His presentation is rich with insights and illustrations that reflect years of experience in the realms of theory, research, and practice. Professionals at all levels of training will appreciate his exceptional ability to turn the conceptual into the practical.

J. Christopher Muran, PhD, Full Professor, Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology, Adelphi University; Principal Investigator, Psychotherapy Research Program, Mount Sinai Beth Israel