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Psychotherapist writing notes, assessing patient's health and giving diagnosis to man sitt

The Pluralistic Counselling Approach and The Tough Inner Critic

Pluralistic Counsellors know the importance of collaborating with clients to discover what may work for them.  This empowers the client and addresses some of the power imbalance at play in the room.  We know clients are the experts in their own lives and that different things work for different people at different times.  Cooper (2019) describes the pluralistic approach as "wanting to work closely with clients to find out which methods and theories are best for them, and tailoring the therapy as much as possible to each individual client" (  With this in mind, this web resource for working with the tough inner critic contains a three-step format, which is flexible and adaptable,  containing multiple ideas and suggestions to support the Pluralistic Counsellor and Client to comprehend which methods and tasks may bring them towards their individual goals.  These methods and tasks are suggestions only, can be adapted to suit the Client, and the individual Counsellor and Client can bring their individual styles and ideas to the counselling space by both Client and Counsellor.  Additionally, there is a strong ethical component to pluralistic counselling and we must never attempt to work beyond our competencies.  The Pluralistic Counsellor will work alongside the client to identify their goals.  However, as the programme progresses, the reader will see that recent research suggests that the Tough Inner Critic cannot be eradicated or completely silenced, and a more realistic goal might be to soften the tough inner critic and work on an individual level to negotiate control away from it (Busczynski et al, 2021; NICABM; How to Work With a Client's Tough Inner Critic).  Pluralistic Counsellors know the importance of mobilising the client’s strengths and cultural resources (McLeod, 2018: p.88) and bringing these into the counselling space to work to soften a tough inner critic will be important.  Gaining feedback from the client and using metacommunication will aid the Client and pluralistic Counsellor in their individual journey to understand, work with and hopefully soften the inner critic and empower clients.

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