Villatte Mastering

Mastering the Clinical Conversation: Language as Intervention

M. Villatte, J.L. Villatte, & S.C. Hayes

As empirically minded practitioners struggle to keep pace with the proliferation of evidence-based interventions, interest in common psychological treatment mechanisms is at an all-time high. Yet the element shared by virtually all psychotherapies–language–has largely been ignored. This is the first book to present an evidence-based approach to using language intentionally to produce therapeutic effects, independent of specific treatment packages or modalities. Grounded in relational frame theory (RFT), the volume provides a conceptual toolkit and practical strategies for harnessing the power of language to free clients from life-constricting patterns and promote psychological flourishing.

Exploring the role of language processes in the development and maintenance of psychological problems, the book addresses a core question: How can psychotherapists alleviate the suffering caused by language and cognition through the use of language and cognition? The authors share innovative ways to enhance assessment and intervention using specific kinds of clinical conversations. Techniques are demonstrated for identifying language traps that keep clients stuck, activating and shaping behavior change, building a flexible sense of self, fostering meaning and motivation, creating powerful experiential metaphors and exercises, and strengthening the therapeutic relationship. More than 80 clinical vignettes with commentary by the authors show what the methods look like in real-world clinical practice. User-friendly features include chapter summaries that highlight key points to remember, plus a “Quick Guide to Using RFT in Psychotherapy” filled with sample phrases and questions to ask.

Translating cutting-edge theory and research into concrete techniques that any psychotherapist can begin implementing immediately, this book will be read with interest by clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, mental health and pastoral counselors, and psychiatric nurses, as well as graduate students.