- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 5 edition (March 1, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0190641541
- ISBN-13: 978-0190641542
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 129 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
On Being a Therapist 5th Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
About the Author
Jeffrey A. Kottler, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Counseling at California State University - Fullerton, and President of Empower Nepali Girls, an organization that provides educational scholarships for at-risk children in Nepal. He has served as a Fulbright Scholar and Senior Lecturer in Peru (1980) and Iceland (2000), and worked as a Visiting Professor in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Nepal.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Perhaps worse, in addition to all the negativity on the profession, he continually points out all the ways that therapists need to wear a mask (my words, not his). He continually points out that we are looked upon by others as "Gods" and thus always have to act as though we have our act together even when we don't, act like we can solve a problem even when we have no idea where to start and put on a front to all who know us personally that we are wise, grounded therapists who essentially have no problems and have all the answers. Personally, I am way too old to keep pretending I am something I'm not, and refuse to go into a profession where I'll be expected to be anything other than myself, exactly as I am. If a clients says, "Here's my problem, can you help?" I will tell them the truth ... yes or no, or "I'm not sure yet but I would love to try with you." I will not say or imply, as the author suggests, that of course I can help, this is my specialty (when it's not) or anything else to give a false impression of what's going through my head. I believe that if you are not wise and grounded *enough* to counsel others and need to put on an act that you are a therapy God who can take on anything, you are creating a larger separation between you and the client (you as "God" and he or she as minion) and not modeling for them authenticity and honesty.
I hate to give this book a one-star rating, as it seems very harsh, but it's just my opinion. I did appreciate the suggestions to keep variety in your career to tackle burnout and boredom (in addition to therapy work, the author writes books, takes students on international mission trips, etc). If you think it could be useful to hear the opinion of someone who seems jaded about therapy work, rather than just hearing how lovely it is to help others change their lives, then this is your book. But beware ... it's SO jaded that he might talk you out of your new chosen profession.
A few weeks ago I was reading an issue of Psychotherapy Networker. An article written by Kottler caught my attention and reminded me of the book gathering dust on the shelf. I decided I would make the time to give the book a proper read. And I'm glad I did.
This is the fourth edition of the book with the original being released over twenty-five years ago. Kottler writes from the experience of a master therapist, prolific author, professor in the Department of Counseling at California State University, Fullerton, and also as the head of the Madhav Ghimire Foundation, which provides scholarships to girls in Nepal. The latter - his work with at-risk girls in Nepal - was the focus of the article I was reading which drew me back to his book.
The most important take-away I gleaned from this book was that counselors are human. Complete with human goals, triumphs, tests, and even fallacies.
Kottler begins by addressing the many reasons why therapists enter the field of counseling. What draws a person into this type of profession? He dissects the vulnerabilities, experiences, and struggles therapists face. This is by far, not a book that glamorizes the field of counseling. Kottler brings up cold, hard truths about therapists not practicing what they preach, struggling to maintain a professional identity, and the pressures of being a mentor.
How do therapists separate their personal and professional lives? A poignant point in this section was the fact that many therapists spend countless hours in intimate conversations with clients, discussing issues of the most personal nature. Yet when the therapist leaves work and heads home, he or she may not give this same kind of attention to their own loved ones.
Kottler also addresses self-healing and being able to take one's own advice, how to say "no" to a client or a caseload too intensive to effectively be handled. At this point the reader may wonder if this book is more of a doom-and-gloom wordy whine-fest on being a counselor. I suppose some could see it that way but I choose to view it as a realistic look at the profession and the effects of the profession on the therapist.
Kottler moves on to noting how clients change the therapists. How powerful are the stories shared of the experiences our fellow humans endure. He also touches on how difficult failure can be in a session. Not only for the client but for the therapist. He runs through the excuses therapists use to console themselves such as:
The client wasn't motivated.
Sometimes you have to get worse to get better.
This is all part of resistance.
As long as they keep coming back, they must be getting something out of therapy.
He's really improving, he just won't admit it.
While in some cases these may be true, Kottler admits that sometimes, therapists just do lousy work.
One of the most interesting chapters spoke to boredom, the lack of stimulation, and burnout, too much stimulation. Kottler offers several methods on how to combat both and when to realize either is present.
In the end, Kottler stresses the importance of personal growth and creativity in therapists. He provides helpful tips such as admitting when you're lost, question cherished assumptions and conventional wisdom, embrace mystery and confusion, and think outside the box.
I found this to be a moving book, exceptionally written. This book gave me a realistic glimpse at what it means to be a therapist. In Kottler's words:
"Every day, every hour, people disclose to us the most disturbing and dysfunctional behaviors imaginable. After a while we lose the ability to be shocked by the weird, creepy, sick, hurtful things that people do to themselves and to others. People tell us secrets that have never been shared before - of abuse, trauma, suffering, addiction, compulsion, perversity, anger - and we are expected to hold all that and tell no one. People confide their worst instincts, fantasies, hallucinations, delusions, and obsessions, and we are required to listen and take it all in. Nothing we see on television or the media can touch the realities that we encounter in our offices. We see people at their absolute worst, when they are on the verge of cracking. We are subjected to onslaughts of rage, shame, indignation, seduction, and manipulation during times when people are most powerless and out of control. We talk to people about the forbidden, about that which is not said."
Forget about peering inside someone's mind or heart: we see inside their souls.