Welcome to my blog! I love to read. This blog contains reviews of books and research papers I have enjoyed. Some of the books for counseling professionals and some of them are books anyone can use. I have also included reviews on fiction that I felt had themes that could apply to the counseling process. Feel free to submit a review and tell me about a book that helped you. Also, if you are a counseling professional and would like to submit something with a link to your website, feel free to send me an email. I hope you like the blog.
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How To Fail As A Therapist: 50 Ways to Lose or Damage Your Patients by Bernard Schwartz PH.D and John V. Flowers, PH.D

John V. Flowers PH.D is a professor of psychology at Chapman University as well as being in private practice. Bernard Schwartz PH.D supervises doctoral students. It mentioned in their author blurbs that Schwartz saw the need for a brief, but comprehensive guide to clinical errors that result in poor therapy outcomes.

The introduction discusses the need for a book like this. It talks about how many clients come once or twice and then never return and their therapists have no idea why. Basically the start of the book is to convince us that we do indeed make mistakes and could use a book for avoiding them. It goes on to say that the 50 strategies addressed were taken from clinical research about helping clients.

I love the way the book is organized. Each chapter starts with a general category of mistakes. Then they have specific numbered errors. After each specific error there is always a section called “Avoiding the Error.” Then they have numbered points for avoiding the error.

After the 50 errors and help avoiding the errors, the back had even more helpful things. Appendix A contains a Therapist Self-Assessment Questionnaire. Appendix B contains assessment instruments for clients. These assessments relate to the working relationship between a client and counselor. Appendix C gives a list of Assessment Instruments for Clinical Issues and where to find them. Finally, it has a suggested reading section for each issue in the book and the bibliography.

Besides all the helpful information, the thing I like best about this book is that it normalizes therapist mistakes. In my opinion, many clients have already had their realities challenged by their family or origin and it is unhelpful for us to further challenge that by dismissing their observations or complaints.

I have had this book for awhile, and I go back and re-read sections periodically. It is organized in such a way that it is easy to go back and read one section. Even if I am not committing any errors listed at the moment, I feel that it is good to be open to the fact that I might be.


The Emotionally Absent Mother by Jasmin Lee Cori, MS, LPC (Self-Help)

I think this book has a lot of interesting ideas. The foundation of the book seems to be Donald Winnicott’s idea of the good enough mother. Donald Winnicott was a peadatrician and psychoanalyst. According to this theory when the mother is not able to meet the babies needs the baby adapts in order to get it’s needs met. This sets up a false self.

The author then describes 10 good mother messages in detail. She mentions that most of these are her creation in her footnote. I thought the 10 good mother messages she laid out were very thought provoking. She also talked about what it might feel like if some of these were missing. I liked the way that she captured experiences that may not be easy for someone to explain.

This book is technically a self-help book, and as such she gives some exercises for readers to try. Whether a counselor finds these exercises helpful may depend on their theoretical orientation. For example: I don’t know much about inner child work. I thought the book was worth it for the succinct way it lays out Winnicott’s theory and for the way she was able to describe intangible aspects of a happy childhood.