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Letters to a Young Therapist (Art of Mentoring) Paperback – April 13, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0465057672 ISBN-10: 0465057675

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Letters to a Young Therapist (Art of Mentoring) + The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients + On Being a Therapist, 4th Edition
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Product Details

  • Series: Art of Mentoring
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (April 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465057675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465057672
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Most people find talking to God more satisfying than talking to Freud," says Pipher, whether they believe in God or not. For fans of the bestselling Reviving Ophelia, such perfectly pitched, patient-centered observations will seem familiar and most welcome; for first-timers, Pipher invites readers: "Make some peach tea and find a cat for your lap. Let's visit." Even the most cynical psych snob will find that visit-a series of seasonally themed letters to a fictional graduate student describing psychotherapy from the inside out-refreshing, informative and insightful. In the brief time it takes to read this slim volume, the rhythms of blather and breakthrough, resistance and revelation come through clearly. Pipher also talks readers into becoming their own therapists, and good ones at that; her epistolary persona is one of a sympathetic woman but not a fuzzy emotional thinker. She admits "All families are a little crazy, but that's because all humans are a little crazy" and "Some therapy is just plain plodding," but she also includes many anecdotes that illuminate how a well-crafted metaphor, moment of quiet or carefully timed suggestion can change a life forever. Her view of therapists as storytellers is borne out in direct, engaging prose and succinct observation. To take just one example, Pipher notes that women see apologizing as saying, "I am sorry I hurt your feelings or caused you pain." Men see it as "I am eating shit." That's Mars and Venus in two sentences, and there's plenty more. The well-known perils of the profession emerge freshly, but also its profound rewards.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A wise and compassionate book." -- Washington Post Book World

More About the Author

Mary Pipher, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and author of The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding our Families and Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of our Elders. Awarded the American Psychological Association's Presidential Citation, Pipher speaks across the country to families, mental health professionals, and educators, and has appeared on Today, 20/20, The Charlie Rose Show, PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and National Public Radio's Fresh Air.

Customer Reviews

Mary Pipher is truly a master at her craft.
Keern
The author shows examples of how a healthy person can grow and learn from an experience.
Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
This book is easy to read and the messages are wonderful.
CaroleeN

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Like JB Pontalis's WINDOWS (with which this book makes an interesting comparison in cultural styles), LETTERS TO A YOUNG THERAPIST is an engaging and lucid look at one clinical psychologist's beliefs, both idiosyncratic and professional. More mature than self-help, less obscure than psychological theory, this one-day-read is ennobling and charming. Pipher writes with dignity about her profession's limitations and how an awareness of those limitations opens up vital possibilities. The format -- brief letters to a therapst-in-training, focused on a specific theme -- is lovely, and the insights, while not revelatory, are deftly articulated. In fact, that the book's insights are not revelatory is in a way its overall theme, and its pleasure. This is a humble, humane, and helpful book.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In her magical new book, "Letters to a Young Therapist," Mary Pipher uses enchanting and lyrical prose to express her feelings not only about therapy, but also about such topics as nature, marriage, ethics, and happiness. This book is a compilation of letters that Pipher wrote to a graduate student in psychology. Pipher's letters are filled with gentle humor and a profound understanding of human nature.
Since Pipher began her career as a therapist in 1972, she has learned a great deal about her clients and herself, and this book is the fruit of all that she has learned. She emphasizes that therapy is more of an art than a science, and that therapists bear an enormous responsibility to treat their clients with great care.
Pipher's ideas are a breath of fresh air in a society that is quick to bash easy targets. For instance, it is fashionable for people to blame their parents and other family members for their problems, but Pipher believes that individuals must ultimately take responsibility for their own choices in life. She also believes that the family unit is so important that we should do everything in our power to support and strengthen it rather than undermine it.
Pipher waxes poetic when she speaks of the power of metaphor and storytelling to enhance people's lives and imbue their experiences with greater meaning. Pipher is not only a gifted therapist. She is also a talented writer who understands the power of language to change lives. I recommend this book highly for its warmth, wisdom, compassion, and insight into what makes life worth living.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Talk2 on September 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a grad student in a counseling program, I picked up this book after hearing a portion of Ms. Pipher's interview with Diane Reams on NPR. I read this book in two evenings. It has a lot of good advice, not just for therapists, but also for clients. She has a very soft, nurturing way of writing which I found delightful. I would highly recommend this book.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Terry Matlen, Acsw on July 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This little treasure is loaded with wisdom and insights one might expect to find in a much larger tome. Dr. Pipher shares her personal and clinical stories in a gentle friendly way that makes you nod your head, and say "aha".
What makes this book so remarkable is that, whether one is a therapist or not, the words spill over and warm you like a down comforter.
Pour yourself some hot cocoa, take a deep breath, and read this one slowly. You'll be glad you did.
-Terry Matlen, ACSW
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "jormson2" on December 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a Social Worker in private psychotherapy practice, I find that sometimes the work can be isolating and at times I question whether I should make more of an effort to consider the latest trends in psychotherapy. Mary Pipher affirms that the classic skills that make a good therapist such as compassion, empathy, listening skills, reframing and the ability to induce a sense of calm are timeless. Furthermore, even if I wasn't a therapist I think I would still devour this book because her writing is a pleasure to read. I highly recommend it for anyone just starting their career in therapy or those who have been in the field for decades. This book is bound to become a classic!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eric Pircher on July 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
This was a breathtakingly trite book, passed off as a series of saccharine letters to a supervisory grad student called Laura. After the fact, it comes as both a disappointment and a relief to learn that Laura is fictitious. As another reviewer aptly said, Pipher's relationship with Laura borders on inappropriate and the notion of declaring a favourite so emphatically also feels icky.

The title is a tilt towards Rilke, but expect none of Rilke's magic in these pages. The quotable passages that I did glean all ended up being other people's words (e.g. the therapist who said he could probably only productively help clients most like himself). Pipher herself seems to have little depth as a therapist, preferring twee conclusions and homespun advice rather than exploring the gritty boundaries and limits of therapy in the field. And for all her talk of non-judgment, her judgmental tone seeps through jarringly in several places e.g. when she proffers to an imaginary client who has just mentioned his "dysfunctional family", "Let's not worry about what to call it." I would not be happy as a client if my therapist said that to me. There are precious few moments in the book she digs deeper, such as the mother and son whose infighting was the only real connection they shared.

This book was assigned reading in the Orientation class of my Counselling Psych grad course. It is not fun to contemplate an upcoming class discussion by starry-eyed Pipherphiles who gush about how they sipped peach tea with a cat on their lap, just like Mary told them to. It will be up to me to reveal that the emperor has no clothes, to recuse myself from the rest of the discussion and take an honourable zero.
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