A must read for all psychotherapists. Gives great suggestions on how to connect/get on the same page with even the most challenging/difficult clients....moreA must read for all psychotherapists. Gives great suggestions on how to connect/get on the same page with even the most challenging/difficult clients. (less)
During a Skype conversation between my best friend and I (he was in India and I was in the US) in September 2012, my best friend of 6 years told me "K...moreDuring a Skype conversation between my best friend and I (he was in India and I was in the US) in September 2012, my best friend of 6 years told me "Katie, no matter what happens, I will love you forever." The second most heartbreaking phone call I've received in my adult life came just two months later when my other best friend called me on a Monday morning in mid November. "Katie, he's gone."
I've experienced deaths of loved ones in my life (one of the most painful of my childhood occurred when I was just 11 years old)....but none of them have been quite as emotionally painful as the sudden, unexpected loss of my young, kind, and loving best friend. One day while talking about the difficulties of managing my grief/loss while still going to work and trying to be a good therapist to my clients, an intern whom has been doing clinical assessment training with me told me about this book.
"Healing Through the Dark Emotions" salved the emotional pain in my psyche like nothing or no one else could during these last 6 months, for which I'm incredibly grateful. Miriam Greenspan is not only a therapist whom offers professional insights, she has been through her own personal battles with grief and loss as well. Instead of perceiving it as a hopeless negative, however, Greenspan seizes the pain as an opportunity for potential growth. She encourages readers to look deeply within themselves with compassion and curiosity, urging them to surrender to the pain instead of resist it....because as painful as it feels to do so, it is more fruitful to embrace it than let it fester into destructive pain that leads to addiction and overall health dis-ease.
If you're looking for a meaningful (possibly life changing)grief and loss book that strays off the beaten path (ie, one that is not pop psychology-ish), this is the one for you. (less)
A very disturbing book in its taboo subject matter (father/daughter incest), "The Kiss" is an incredibly honest and well-written memoir. As a therapis...moreA very disturbing book in its taboo subject matter (father/daughter incest), "The Kiss" is an incredibly honest and well-written memoir. As a therapist reading such a sad, dysfunctional narrative, I couldn't help but feel a sense of deju vu....the narrative of "The Kiss" paralleling those of similar stories I've heard within the office walls of client sessions over the years. Tragic that this (incest) happens more than society is aware. Power, control, and shame are a potent formula for instilling secrecy in the trauma survivor. Finding the words to express the unspeakable to anyone is daunting enough, whether telling a trusted family member, friend, or even a therapist. Kathryn Harrison goes above and beyond, blowing the reader out of the water with her courage to make a traumatic experience public knowledge....and in the process conveying both a sense of hope and resiliency for incest survivors everywhere. (less)
As a mental health therapist working in the community mental health system, I'm constantly challenged by a myriad of presenting problems clients would...moreAs a mental health therapist working in the community mental health system, I'm constantly challenged by a myriad of presenting problems clients would like to work on in therapy. While I've been working in the field of co-occurring disorders (ie, addiction and mental health)since 2005, there are certain disorders I'm very skilled in and others I have very little knowledge or experience to draw from.
I'd venture to guess that an individual presenting to therapy is confident that their therapist can help them tackle any and all presenting clinical problems. Unfortunately, this is not always realistically possible. Sometimes the problem is totally out of the scope of a clinician's educational or professional competence. In these instances, referral to a more appropriate professional specialist is warranted. In a majority of cases, however, it is important for clinicians to take the initiative to seek either (or both) supervision, case consultation with trusted colleagues, and self-motivated professional development via continuing education classes/workshops or reading professional literature on the particular subject.
With that said, I was recently presented with a case involving compulsive masturbation and addictive online sexual behavior. I found myself (internally) floundering within this extremely sexually revelatory session with my client....not out of discomfort of the subject matter being discussed, but out of not knowing how to specifically help someone with this particular issue. Especially given how vulnerable my client felt telling me and wanting the client to continue feeling confident or courageous enough to proceed with treatment.
I found myself both intimidated and intrigued by this newfound clinical challenge, that of sex/cybersex addiction. Immediately and somewhat ironically, I searched various sites online for well-written and highly rated professional books on the topic. Much to my surprise, it was a disappointing and difficult search. While there are a plethora of books promoting "healthy" sexuality and how to explore one's sexuality in healthy/safe ways, books on sexual addiction are few and far between. The book I ended up getting wasn't even one I thought would be very helpful, but it ended up being decent.
"In the Shadows of the Net" explores and analyzes the dangerous allure of the Internet on one's sexual proclivities, especially given the technologically dependent society we live in. Although certainly not to be used by any means as an excuse to act out compulsive sexual behaviors, the availability of sexual content and ease of anonymity online makes it that much easier for an individual to get sucked into a downward spiral of unhealthy and unmanageable sexual behavior. Chapters in this book include identifying problematic behavior ("Do I Have a Problem with Cybersex? and "Understanding Problematic Sexual Behavior on the Internet"), analyzing sexual arousal and intimacy ("What Turns You On? The Arousal Template" and "Courtship Gone Awry"), and how to change/recover from sexually addictive behaviors ("Boundaries," "Taking That First Step," "Changing the Way You Live," "Preventing Relapse: Maintaining the Changes You've Made," and "Family Dynamics and Cybersex"). I found "Understanding Problematic Sexual Behaviors on the Internet," "What Turns You On?," "Courtship Gone Awry," and "Boundaries" to be most helpful.
Upon reading the second half of the book, I realized recovery for sex addiction is very similar to alcohol and drug addiction. The author posits that there is a stronger propensity for relapse with sexual addiction than other addictions. Not sure I agree with that, though the relapse prevention model is very much akin to those used in alcohol/drug recovery programs and seeing that made me feel more confident in my professional capabilities to help a client seeking recovery for sexual addiction. I might even take it one step further and pursue a training to become a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist.
Who can say their work is never boring or that they're always learning more about the human condition?
At first glance, this book looked interesting...but I had no idea it would enthrall my intellect as much as it did, particularly in the second and thi...moreAt first glance, this book looked interesting...but I had no idea it would enthrall my intellect as much as it did, particularly in the second and third parts of the book. Ever wonder where our perceptions of "right" and "wrong" come from...really come from? Ever wonder why individuals lean a particular way in regards to politics and religion, specifically the qualities an individual values depending on whether Liberal or Conservative, religious vs. atheist?
This book succinctly explains the foundations of what is known as moral psychology. As an avid reader and someone whom reads a wide range of books on the psychology genre, I was excited to read something original and thought provoking.
What I appreciate most about the book is that it is written from a place of scientific inquiry and curiosity. With an open-minded attitude, Jonathan Haidt takes readers of all walks of life (Liberal, Conservative, religious, and non-religious alike) on a journey to challenge notions of both their own and others' beliefs. Kudos, Haidt. I didn't think that was possible. Haha! In a society inundated with negativity and judgment, "The Righteous Mind" is a breath of fresh air. It pushes aside the emotions and lures in the reader to utilize critical thinking....interestingly, the opposite of what Haidt suggests we humans normally do (ie, "Intuitions Come First, Strategic Reasoning Second").
When asked why something is wrong, people typically respond from their emotional reactions ("I don't know why it's wrong...it just is") and struggle to give logical arguments. Something may be repulsive or disgust you, but is it necessarily wrong? What makes it so? Haidt explains in detail how our minds are comprised of 'riders' and 'elephants' that dictate the intricate complexities of moral psychology. Fascinating!
The chapter on "The Moral Foundations of Politics" gave me many "aha!" moments, things I have wondered about for years and made absolute sense after reading the psychological reasoning/analysis behind liberal vs. conservative mindsets. Haidt discusses the foundations of Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and Sanctity/Degradation. Similarly, "The Hive Switch," "Religion is a Team Sport," and "Can't We All Disagree More Constructively?" provided much food for thought.
Every American could benefit from reading this book, especially politicians themselves. Just thinking about the paradigm shift that could happen if the majority of this country read this book is blowing my mind. In short, if this book doesn't blow your mind I might think there is something wrong with you. Just kidding. (less)
I could really relate to this, though as the daughter of a narcissistic father. I tried to find a book on daughters of NF, but this is all I could fin...moreI could really relate to this, though as the daughter of a narcissistic father. I tried to find a book on daughters of NF, but this is all I could find (except "The Narcissistic Family," which I plan on reading next!). Still, it applies just as strongly/powerfully as if written for daughters of mothers with it (in my opinion anyway). I felt guilty and embarrassed when I bought this book, yet so RELIEVED after reading it...validated feelings and the "not good enough" issue I've struggled with for most of my life. It gave me comfort and confidence too to know that while I'm still on a road to 'recovery' with internal validation (vs. looking for the approval or external validation from my father), I've come a long way since my adolescence and 20's. I am continuing to blossom into my own strong sense of self going into my mid 30's and it feels amazing. If you would like a referral for qualified therapists in your area that are familiar with helping individuals that struggle with this, go to Karyl McBride's website willieverbegoodenough.com. (less)
I wish this book existed during my graduate school years, as it brings up very relevant topics that are rarely discussed (if at all) during one's clin...moreI wish this book existed during my graduate school years, as it brings up very relevant topics that are rarely discussed (if at all) during one's clinical training. Most of the issues covered (particularly that of clinician self-care) I had to learn on my own with the help of my own self-awareness, reflection, motivation/desire to be healthy,and trial and error. I highly recommend this book for those new to the field as well as seasoned clinicians. The author incorporates an overall reflective approach, asking the clinician relevant questions to ponder and journal about at the end of each topic discussed. As a seasoned therapist, this book helped put things in perspective for me....validating what I'm doing well, being reminded of the 'normal' range of thoughts and emotions that come along with this line of work, and becoming aware of my potential blind spots. (less)
Whether you're a survivor (or as author Stephen Joseph would say,"thriver") of trauma or a psychotherapist working with people who have experienced tr...moreWhether you're a survivor (or as author Stephen Joseph would say,"thriver") of trauma or a psychotherapist working with people who have experienced trauma, this is an essential read.
While "Trauma and Recovery" by Judith Hermann (excellent book!) explains the ins and outs of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, "What Doesn't Kill Us" has more of a 'positive psychology' approach. If you are drawn to the works of Viktor Frankl ("Man's Search For Meaning") and Abraham Maslow (ie, self-actualization) as I am, you will love this book.
Trauma isn't so much about horrific things that happened to a person, but more so what one does with it in regard to creating a meaningful life in the present and future...an opportunity for growth and a new/deeper way of living.(less)
This book really helped me face some of my inner demons. Although hard to read because it makes you take a deep, intimate look inside yourself, I highly...moreThis book really helped me face some of my inner demons. Although hard to read because it makes you take a deep, intimate look inside yourself, I highly recommend this a therapeutic self-improvement tool!(less)
As a therapist working with heroin addicts, this book helped educate me on the drug and even the politics behind the drug trade, treatment/recovery,et...moreAs a therapist working with heroin addicts, this book helped educate me on the drug and even the politics behind the drug trade, treatment/recovery,etc.(less)