Petruska Clarkson’s ‘Five Modalities of the Therapeutic Relationship’ (1995)

Petruska Clarkson’s ‘Five Modalities of the Therapeutic Relationship’ (1995)2017-04-07T02:58:12+00:00

Project Description

This handout is a simple summary in table form of the modalities of the therapeutic relationship, as initially formulated by Petruska Clarkson in her seminal 1991 paper: ""Clarkson, P (1991) A Multiplicity of Psychotherapeutic Relationships, in British Journal of Psychotherapy, 7: 2"". This was later elaborated in her 1994 book ""The Therapeutic Relationship"". Since then, other people have suggested additional modalities, not all of which make sense (some of these suggestions constitute errors of logical order). The revolutionary idea in this formulation is to distinguish and contrast the various therapeutic approaches not according to their theory and technique (as was traditionally the case), but in terms of the kinship metaphors they involve. In the US a similar idea was put forward by Martha Stark, who wrote about different kinds of therapeutic relatedness (as conceived as different ""Modes of Therapeutic Action"" - see table below). Clarkson's formulation was seminal as it shifted the focus from the therapist's theory and technique (i.e. the two aspects which were assumed - in quasi-scientific terms - to be the twin pillars of a therapist's approach) towards a variety of relational spaces between client and therapist.


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