Dialogues for Discovery
Improving Psychotherapy's Effectiveness

cover of dialogues for discovery book

Psychotherapists of all modalities can learn how to help their clients make more frequent and higher quality discoveries in every therapy session.


See a complete listing of the Table of Contents.
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Dialogue for Discovery provides guidance for navigating or avoiding 50 common therapy traps.
CLICK HERE to view a list of the 50 COMMON TRAPS


“Although the use of Socratic dialogue and guided discovery have long been encouraged in psychotherapy, it is only in the last decade or so that enough data has gathered to give clear clinical guidance about their use. Dialogues for Discovery is an exceptional resource for therapists seeking to guide their clients towards discovery and hope. This book provides practical guidance and strategies for managing common therapy impasses and dilemmas, such as low client motivation, inflexible beliefs, and alliance ruptures. It is a clinically sophisticated guide that is grounded in empirical evidence and theoretical knowledge. The therapist-client dialogues and diverse case examples serve as powerful illustrations of common therapy traps, and clinically sound strategies offer a path forward. With its transdiagnostic approach and focus on guiding discovery, it is a valuable tool for any therapist seeking to enhance their practice and contribute to their clients’ recovery and well-being.”

  • Steven C. Hayes, PhD
  • Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno USA
  • Originator of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

“Rarely are psychotherapists given a gift consisting of a combination of scholarship, clinical acumen and practical user-friendly teaching clinical case vignettes. KUDOS to Christine Padesky and Helen Kennerley and their clinically astute colleagues for demonstrating how to use Socratic Dialogue and guided discovery procedures in psychotherapy. This book should be read, studied and implemented by all health care providers.”

  • Donald Meichenbaum, PhD
  • Research Director of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention, Miami, Florida USA

“Dialogues for Discovery is revolutionary. It presents a model that will resonate with therapists from all schools of therapy who want to ask more effective questions and listen/respond to client answers in ways that will help clients make active discoveries in therapy. Amply illustrated with case examples and pragmatic guidance, Padesky and Kennerly show us how placing curiosity and collaboration at the forefront of the therapeutic encounter leads to whole shifts in perspective rather than merely changing someone’s mind.”

  • Zindel Segal, PhD
  • Distinguished Professor of Psychology in Mood Disorders, University of Toronto CANADA
  • Co-Founder, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

“A terrific book – the fruit of both editors’ years of deepening understanding, innovative
clinical practice, self-reflection and growing expertise. Similar expertise illuminates chapters
by CBT specialists addressing specific client groups and problems. Lively and engaging, the
text skillfully embodies the curiosity, empathy, respect and collaboration at the heart of this
approach. And readers can join this journey, using chapter-by-chapter learning activities and
reflection sheets. A truly significant addition to the literature on the process of effective
learning in psychotherapy.”

  • Melanie Fennelll, PhD
  • Former Director of the Oxford Diploma and MSc in CBT
  • Co-Director of the Oxford MSt in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

“Helping people gain insights into the nature of their minds and its different brain states is common to psychotherapies, but it is no easy task. In their exciting new book international world leading cognitive therapists bring their extensive experience together to guide the reader through the use of Socratic forms of dialogue to support those therapeutic aims. The book is full of signposts of opportunities as well as roadblocks and potential traps and how to deal with them. In addition to revelation, the approach illustrated helps clients discover inner strengths and meanings. Accessible, clearly written and full of fascinating clinical insights, tips and guides, this will become a much valued book for experienced and new therapists alike regardless of their school of therapy.”

  • Professor Paul Gilbert OBE
  • Founder of Compassion Focused Therapy

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Dialogues for Discovery offers a vision of how Socratic Dialogue can infuse all types of psychotherapy and lead to discoveries that transform client lives for the better. 


  • Detailed therapist-client dialogues illustrate Padesky’s client-centered and collaborative 4-Stage Model of Socratic Dialogue, behavioral experiments, imagery exercises, and role plays.
  • Guidelines for expert use of Socratic dialogue are highlighted to help therapists avoid and navigate common therapy traps that frequently derail therapy progress.
  • Traps include: clients who say, “yes, but…”, expressions of pessimism and hopelessness, avoidance, intolerance of uncertainty, challenges working with mental imagery, repetitive discussions related to inflexible beliefs, alliance ruptures, risks exacerbated by impulsive and compulsive behaviors. 
  • Chapters, written by international experts on each topic, include guiding principles in “Keep in Mind” boxes. 
  • Also included: Reader Learning Activities and Reflective Practice Worksheets to personalize and help consolidate therapist application and development of Dialogues for Discovery skills. 
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