The Reality Game

(3rd edition, Routledge 2016)
By John Rowan

Humanistic | Existential | Authentic | Relational | Transpersonal

This is the third edition of a professional handbook for psychotherapists, counsellors, therapeutic counsellors, counselling psychologists and coaches.  As before, it will be particularly useful for those involved in training courses in these areas, both lecturers and students.  It tries to do justice to five complementary streams in the field: the Humanistic, the Existential, the Authentic, the Relational and the Transpersonal.  So some people have called it a HEART approach.  Thus it complements the more common psychoanalytic and cognitive-behavioural texts.  It shows that this combined approach is both deeper and broader than most others.  It has been completely updated, doing justice to the recent research on the dialogical self, which takes the place of the old idea of subpersonalities, and a new chapter on the transpersonal has been added, since this is an area of greater concern today.

Many students have said how much they appreciated the original edition of this work, and this new edition will perhaps also be welcomed for what has been described as its deep and humane approach.  This field has recently seemed in danger of succumbing to pressures from funding bodies for cheaper and quicker forms of therapy.  This book shows how this pressure can be resisted in the interests of a therapy which aims at liberation rather than adjustment.

Some people have expressed an interest in the title of this book – where does it come from?  The explanation is to be found in the original introduction to the first edition, where I said: “One other thing: the word ‘humanistic’ is often misunderstood. Some people misunderstand it by thinking it means that we are humanists, in the sense of members of the British Humanist Association; this is far from the truth, because we value spirituality and feeling and intuition in a way which would offend the average humanist very much. Others misunderstand it by thinking it means that we are soft and mushy and want to spread peace and love all the time; but we are not in the peace and love business, we are in the reality business. Or better still, since there is always some element of play in good therapy, the reality game.”

1 Psychotherapy, counselling, coaching and personal growth
2 Assessment or not
3 The initial interview
4 The opening sessions
5 Aims
6 Ways and means
7 The dialogical self and transference
8 Resistance
9 The process of development
10 Listening with the fourth ear
11 Research
12 Supervision
13 Ethics
14 The transpersonal
Appendix 1 A comparison of four positions in personal development
Appendix 2 Ground rules for groups
Appendix 3 Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and some collateral research
Appendix 4 Should I take on this client?
Appendix 5 Doing good therapy
Appendix 6 Dangers and traps
Author index
Subject index

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