Most helpful positive review
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Recommended to All Therapist who want to get better Results! By (Brian DeSantis, Psy.D)
on March 30, 2010
On Becoming a Better Therapist
( Barry Duncan, Psy.D. )
If you are interested in becoming a more effective therapist, this splendid book is a must read. It is written for therapists by a therapist - but not just any clinician or researcher touting another model or technique, or discussing how to sharpen your diagnostic skills. Dr. Duncan is a psychotherapist with thirty years and 17,000 hours of direct experience with clients, as well as a researcher, international trainer and consultant, and author of over one hundred professional articles and books on what works in therapy. Written for therapists of all disciplines, theoretical persuasions, and career levels, this book is Duncan's latest gem. Based extensively on 50 years of increasingly sophisticated psychotherapy outcome research, Duncan takes his message to another level by confronting the silent problems that have chronically plagued therapists - clients who do not progress, significant drop-out rates, a wide range of therapist variability, and therapist's inability to predict client deterioration. In this book, he offers an immediate clinical solution to these challenges by focusing on the two most important people to therapy outcome, the client and the therapist, while also proposing the systematic use of outcome measures to provide therapeutic direction toward improved results.
This book has six clinically useful chapters and each concludes with powerful client stories that were transformations in the author's development as a therapist. In chapter one, Duncan highlights key empirically supported guidelines which therapists can utilize to achieve better outcomes. Of note, is his proposal of a new common factor - client-directed feedback on the fit and benefit of services. He cites new research documenting feedback's significant impact on outcome and argues feedback can be a therapist's compass to successfully navigate a client's unique path to change - something he calls "practice-based evidence". Chapter two is a straightforward discussion on using feedback from clients to help therapists do better work. Duncan introduces his own compatible alliance and outcome measures that are reliable, valid, and feasible for use in real world settings. Chapter three tackles the reality that not all clients benefit from therapy. Duncan masterfully informs the reader how therapists can recapture clients who are not responding, or deteriorating, and move them towards progress. His perspective that therapy should not be used for the purpose of just sustaining or maintaining clients, as well as his view on "failing successfully", is especially enlightening. Chapter four explores the implications of a massive 15 year research study on psychotherapists from all over the world. Duncan integrates its findings with practice-based evidence and details concrete actions that will put therapists in the zone of doing their best work and enhance their development along multiple dimensions. In chapter five, the author offers the classic tale of The Wizard of Oz to stimulate the reader's own self reflection on one's identity as a therapist. He also reflects on his own identity and purports that therapy can be a discovery-oriented journey, anchored by feedback, to manage the uncertainty along the way. The chapter ending client story is a stunning tribute to such a process. Chapter six discusses a final step in taking one's development seriously, in which Duncan urges that therapists collect client feedback (e.g. notes, letters of appreciation) about their work together, as well as transformative cases that mark significant lessons in one's developmental growth. The author concludes the book with his own perspective on some major controversial issues facing our field and challenging our identity. His stimulating thoughts on managed care, evidence-based practice, psychotropic medicine, and the medical model encourage the reader to question the status quo.
On Becoming a Better Therapist is what we have come to expect from Dr. Duncan - a compelling and insightful book that displays his command of the psychotherapy outcome literature, while providing clinically useful ideas on how therapists can become even better. This engaging and perceptive book offers a simple message for therapists - form partnerships with clients, systematically monitor the fit and benefit of that collaboration, and invest in one's own growth and development. A therapist's unquestionable faith in client's own resources for healing, coupled with one's genuine desire to improve as a helper, is all that's needed to begin getting started down the path towards becoming a better therapist. This book eloquently outlines that path.
Brian DeSantis, Psy.D., ABPP
Director, Behavioral Health
Peak Vista Community Health Centers
Colorado Springs, Colorado