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The Essential Companion to Talking Therapy by Karin Blak

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This ground-breaking book is a definitive companion to the entire therapeutic process, unveiling the answers to questions you were too afraid to ask, clarifying misunderstandings and providing you with the tools you’ll need to enter and maintain the right type of talking therapy for you.   

Award-winning psychosexual and relationship therapist Karin Blak takes you on a therapeutic journey involving: the different types of talking therapy on offer and types of professionals, ethical and unethical practice, finding the right therapist, preparing for the first session, surviving common challenges, knowing when to end therapy and when to return. The book also provides a dedicated chapter for friends and family showing how best to support their loved one through the therapeutic process. 

The author also debunks the myths and stigmas attached to talking therapy; that there must be something wrong with you to seek help; instead, demonstrating that therapy should be accessible for everyone; it can identify and support you to stop repeating patterns, help with relationship issues, process past traumas and deal with everyday anxiety. In talking therapy you’ll learn the skills to recognise what is true to you and what belongs in the past. 

The Essential Companion outlines that the success of therapy depends predominantly on the relationship with your therapist, so it’s imperative to choose the right person. Karin Blak points out the qualities you should be looking for: someone who holds strong boundaries, makes you feel safe, takes a real interest in your life but is not afraid to challenge you when needed. Each section provides honest commentary about the process of therapy with real-life case studies and practical suggestions to apply if necessary. The author also reveals the rarely considered facts of how therapists work and how they themselves are supervised.

When a 15-year-old Karin Blak was sent to therapy by an alcoholic mother with severe mental health problems, it left her doubting herself and destroyed her self-esteem. She later experienced an overfamiliar therapist who breached therapeutic boundaries and with whom she felt unsafe. These experiences led her to undertake 12 years of therapeutic training so she could heal herself and provide clients with ethical and compassionate therapy. Her journey provides the impetus for this book. 

Up until now, there has been a lack of public information available about the therapeutic process. With referrals to therapy on the increase each year, The Essential Companion meets a growing need to educate you about what to expect behind the closed door of talking therapy. 

Karin Blak is a qualified couples counsellor, family therapist, and psychosexual and relationship therapist. In 2019 she received the East Midlands SME Most Dedicated Relationship Therapist award. 

Karin has worked at GP surgeries, inpatient units, Sure Start Centres, Relate, Connexions, and in private practice, and sat on the ethics board at the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapy (COSRT). She has spoken on BBC Radio and blogs on Medium about relationships and self-development topics.

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