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by Jeffrey Kottler and Jon Carlson
Review by Patricia Ferguson, Psy.D. on Feb 1st 2005
As indicated in the title, this
book is the presentation of clinical examples 32 therapists found illustrative
and interesting to the point of uniqueness. Although many of the examples are
unique, I think in some cases the titles are more unique than the examples. But
the book is still worth reading, very much so, since it includes therapists who
are all renowned for their theories. As a writer and editor myself, I think
this book does a fine job of following the adage given to writers: "Show,
don't tell." The book is written following interviews by Kottler and
Carlson with the therapists.
Another basis clinicians could
use for choosing a case was choosing one they felt unprepared to treat. One of
the ways I've conceptualized my decision to work as a psychologist is that I
love to figure out the puzzle in the presented case, and solve it. To my
amazement, Kottler has similar motivations as stated in his case chapter,
"I had chosen my profession because I enjoyed playing detective and
getting at the root of matters."
The other aspect of these stories
is that the chosen examples are "as transformative for the therapists as
they were for their clients." This is true for me too. I think I've
learned something about myself from just about all of my clients.
Some of the therapists in this book
include Frank Pittman, Arnold Lazarus, William Glasser, Albert Ellis and Jay
Haley. Jeffrey Kottler and Jon Carlson are the two who put this book together.
Carlson has already produced numerous videotapes of professionals "showing
their theories in action." These are the kinds of things I would have
liked to have seen when I was in graduate school--my own professors practicing
therapy. In all my years in school, that never happened.
But I have seen some of the
therapists from this book in trainings and conferences I've attended, and they
are all interesting individuals. This is to be expected since they are creative
enough to have come up with unique approaches to treatments. I and others have
wondered if it is their particular personality that makes their approach work
for them, more than it may work for the majority of clinicians. However, many
of them have done significant research on their methods, in order to reveal the
A brief biography, focusing on
clinical work such as therapy and publications, is given at the beginning of
each chapter. This is the only time the reader learns what the unique approach
the therapist is using. Also, this book is about psychologists, social
workers, psychiatrists, and therapists from every persuasion. This book is one
of the best views of therapy from the inside mind of the therapist that I have
read in a long time.
© 2004 Patricia Ferguson
Patricia Ferguson, PsyD, is a
clinical psychologist, author, and editor-in-chief of an award-winning ezine, www.apolloslyre.com. She has numerous
publications in the area of psychology, nuclear medicine, aggression between
teenage girls, and rape. She writes book reviews for several online ezines and
is currently working on a book about writing with several writing colleagues
due in 2005. She is also working on another book of her own. She and her
husband and son reside in northern California.