Unlike many presentations of clinical material, Inside the Session does not offer carefully selected examples of therapeutic dialogue that are conveniently chosen to conform to the therapist's views. Rather, it presents full transcripts of three entire sessions, enabling readers to see not just what went right but also where the therapist may have missed a crucial detail or may have intervened at the wrong moment. This volume provides a rare opportunity to look over the shoulder — and into the mind — of a renowned psychotherapist at work.
The therapist in this candid and revealing work is prolific author Paul L. Wachtel, who intersperses the sessions' transcripts with insightful at-the-moment commentary on how to explore the client's thoughts and experiences in ways that encourage insight and promote new interpersonal patterns and on the fine points of language choice by the therapist.
A further illuminating feature of the book is an integrative framework that links the clinical work and the theoretical discussion. Wachtel's well-known integrative theory draws on psychodynamic, cognitive–behavioral, systemic, and experiential perspectives, highlighting convergences that are obscured by different terminologies and clarifying where the differences are real and important.