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.
Therapy Breakthrough: Why Some Psychotherapies Work Better Than Others Paperback – August 27, 2013
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"Prepare to embark on a rollicking yet highly informative journey through the intense world of psychotherapy! In engaging style the authors, who respectfully dedicate their book to the memory of my beloved husband, present much substantial information, as well as making some assertions which may spark healthy controversy."
-DEBBIE JOFFE ELLIS, PH.D., co-author (with Albert Ellis) of All Out! (2010) and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (2011)
If you have a rational mind - or would like to have one - Therapy Breakthrough will be indispensable in helping you see how Cognitive-Behavioral therapy can be used to make your life happier and healthier."
-WARREN FARRELL, PH.D., bestselling author of Why Men Are the Way They Are
Therapy Breakthrough is a bold and instantly readable primer on the seismic shift in psychotherapy as seen from within the profession - and a helpful reminder of what is at the care of modern therapeutic techniques. It's also a fun read!"
-NANDO PELUSHI, PH.D., New York clinical psychologist and contributing editor for Psychology Today
About the Author
Michael R. Edelstein: Michael R. Edelstein is a psychotherapist in San Francisco. He co-authored Rational Drinking: How to Live Happily With or Without Alcohol (2013), Stage Fright: 40 Stars Tell You How They Beat America's #1 Fear (2009), and Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life (1997).
Richard Kujoth: Richard Kujoth is a psychotherapist in Urbana, Illinois.
David Ramsay Steele: David Ramsay Steele is author of Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy (2008) and co-author of Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life (1997).
Top customer reviews
A few artists, such as writer Vladimir Nabokov, were not so easily taken in. VN, incidentally, sneered at the Freudian interpretations of his controversial Lolita. Years before, Joyce had eschewed the alleged unconscious, for what he termed "the mystery of consciousness"--and we have Ulysses, as a result. ( Finnegans Wake was a dream novel, where the "unconscious" was chiefly a literary device--what happens when we sleep?) The indefatigable D.H.Lawrence had come up with his own idiosyncratic "theory" of the unconscious, though at least it never spawned a school of therapy, nor did Lawrence think much of Freud upon meeting him. The naysayers, however, were few. And fewer still asked the inconvenient question: Is it true?
Enter Austrian born philosopher Karl Popper, who knew most of the members of the Vienna Circle, and was enamored of both Freud and Marx (his scathing repudiation of Marx can be found in Open Society and Its Enemies) and even worked with Adler (an early apostate from Freud's high church). Popper would later comment upon the remarkable ability of Freud's doctrine to explain EVERYTHING about an individual's problems and behaviors without--even once--asking what would have to happen for one to reject it as false. As long as it would not admit any critical, empirical tests, he warned, it could not be considered as having the status of a scientific theory. Indeed, the philosopher believed that while the theory was interesting, and perhaps would someday be found to be true, it was "no more scientific than the myths of Homer".
Even so, according to the authors of Therapy Breakthrough, Popper gave the deadbeat father of psychoanalysis too much respect.
Freud's "case studies" reveal the fertile creativity of the novelist. So creative, in fact, that many were partial or complete fabrications. Patients were typically told very quickly exactly what their dreams really meant, that they were repressing sexual impulses of one kind or another ( and in many cases, Freud would have us believe that the female clients were in love with him). A client's impudent disagreement with the good Doctor's interpretation was always adduced as evidence that his interpretation was, in fact, correct. Normally, Freud insisted, coaxed and even bullied the patient into accepting his interpretation as fact. Then he would record the case and how well it fit his theory. Where he failed to get agreement Freud's imagination went to town.
While many associates of Freud were excommunicated sooner or later, few if any were willing to challenge the fundamental dogma of the unconscious mind, or that this is the source of all emotional and mental problems and neuroses. Authors Edelstein, Kujoth, and Steele have categorized those therapists who more or less embrace those assumptions as practitioners of a "Psychodynamic" form of therapy, and those who dispute the relevance or even the existence of an unconscious mind as Cognitive Behavioral therapists. The latter believe the here and now is most important, not the past, and that the client's (conscious)thinking is where the problems lies, generating perhaps less that appropriate or optimum behavior strategies.
A particular variant, openly preferred by the authors--and this reviewer-- is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy(REBT), a set of practical techniques developed by Albert Ellis(1913-2007), a former psychoanalyst and controversial iconoclast. The method rests on the assumption that at the root of every strong negative emotion: fear, anger, anxiety, depression, etc., is a "should" or "must" or "can't"--i.e. an absolutistic demand on reality that it should conform to one's wishes. The authors summarize Ellis' approach and provide references in the bibliography for anyone who wants to pursue REBT further on their own.
The Postscript deftly defends CBT against a number of criticism leveled by defenders of psychoanalysis and others. But the coup de grace is in the appendix--"Is Psychoanalysis Falsifiable?", wherein the authors severely criticize and refute the whole notion of psychoanalysis, as Popper might have done, had he been somewhat less deferential.
The unnoticed revolution is the growth of CBT, due to its brevity, effectiveness and low cost, compared with psychoanalysis, which can cost a fortune and take, literally, years. Psychoanalysis survives today largely because of its surreptitious smuggling of techniques originated by cognitive therapists, due to the fact that these techniques produce positive outcomes for the client.
Drs. Edelstein, Kujoth and Steele have written an outstanding volume that shows the very large differences between theories, and critical examines the cult of psychoanalysis. It is clear, well-reasoned, well-researched and compellingly readable. Highly recommended.
The title of this book intrigued me: Therapy Breakthrough: Why Some Therapies Work Better Than Others. As a consumer, student, practitioner of psychology and a student of philosophy and history of science I had long ago been interested in the various psychotherapies, their historical development, if any of them could be called to be scientific and how effective they were when applied to resolving certain problems. For example I read Robert Harper's 1959 book Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy 36 Systems as soon as it came out. Likewise, I also eagerly perused all 10 editions of Current Psychotherapies starting with Corsini's first edition in 1973 and the tenth edition by Wedding and Corsini just published in 2013. Furthermore I have studied treatises on the subject of establishing what psychotherapies are scientific and which ones are not. Thus I was quite familiar with Karl Popper's falsifiability principle which is used in this book to establish whether psychoanalysis is a scientific theory.
The Therapy Breakthrough is by far the best book available summarizing the knowledge--in an accessible and engaging manner--required to be a discriminating consumer, student, practitioner, and historian and theoretician of science as applied to psychology. The authors expertly examine the subject fo provide all the relevant information in this single volume. It can be easily digested and does not need referring to other sources for a thorough understanding of the subject matter. The book strips away irrelevant minutiae. It provides a clear distinction between what the authors call the Old (Psychodynamic) and New (Cognitive Behavioral) therapies.
Moreover, if a person is interested to pursue any item further he or she can find the original sources in the selected biography. Another strength of the Therapy Breakthrough is its writing style. This style provides a lot of historical events and presents many illustrative examples. The book culminates by providing logical reasoning that leads to convincing conclusion that the client is best served by Cognitive Behavioral therapist. The style in the book assures that the client has been an active participant in choosing his or her therapy and therapist.
If you are a student, the book will help you choose the orientation in psychology for you to follow; if you are a practitioner reading this book you will have the information necessary to adapt how you do your therapy to provide the best service to your clients. The historian and theoretician will find in this book how psychology developed and evidence, if any, as which psychological arguments may be used to buttress the claim that certain psychotherapies are scientific or lead to scientific approaches.
There is an added benefit of the book. It is a fascinating read, both with respect to style in which the book is written and the topics included. Unless you have been involved in psychotherapy for decades and have been an avid reader you will come across many facts and discussions which are refreshingly new and, thus, help you savor the book as much as any contemporary adventure story. As an added enticement let me name the chapters:
* What Happened to Psychotherapy?
* Therapy Isn't Therapy!
* The Old and New Therapies in Action
* Where the Old Therapy Came From
* Psychoanalysis...Testing, Tesing
* Therapy Before Ellis
* The Conquistador with His Pants Down
* The Recovered Memory Craze
* Your Unconscious Has No Mind of Its Own
* Heroes of the Revolution
Appendix: Is Psychoanalysis Falsifiable? [gkn comment: In this appendix Karl Popper's proves that psychoanalysis is not a scientific discipline.]
There is a case to be made for integrating some childhood-rooted exploration with some clients and the book doesn't give sufficient acknowledgment of that. But with that minor caveat, I believe that people contemplating entering psychotherapy or even professionals looking to gain clarity on what approach might be the most effective foundation for their work might well want to read this book.
I might mention that I was pleasantly surprised to see how well-written and pleasant to read it is.