Practicing Therapy

A collection of exercises for developing therapists. The insights to be derived from this book should improve the practice of any therapist.

Somewhere there’s a book that all the experienced therapists know about and it’s not about how to do therapy, it’s about how to do therapy better. It’s got all the secret little extra tricks they know about that aren’t in any of the models and that they forget to tell you about in class. And they won’t ever tell you where that book is – you just have to figure it out.

As Margaret Rambo admits in the introduction, Practicing Therapy doesn’t contain many secret tricks, but it is a book about how to do any therapy better.

The book has three sections:

  • Hearing Stories by Margaret Rambo
  • Reading Signs by Tony Heath
  • Making Maps by Ron Chenail

Of these, the last is the least accessible: a detailed dissection of a single family therapy session that, for me, falls into the “can’t see the wood for the trees” trap.

Rambo’s Hearing Stories and Heath’s Reading Signs share an informal, chatty style and a format of example, discussion and exercises to be performed in either individual reflection, supervision or group training sessions. Both offer inspiring examples (of the “I could do that…if I’d only thought about it” kind) and cover a range of topics as relevant to the experienced therapist as to the trainee.

All three authors are family therapists working in the USA, but the issues they raise would be relevant to any cultural background. Rambo in particular raises awareness of one’s own culture as essential to understanding one’s own prejudices and biases.

One test of a book is how likely it is to be returned if loaned out. I’m on my third copy of Practicing Therapy and I’m sure I’ll be buying another some time soon.

Reference

Rambo AH, Heath A & Chenail RJ (1993) Practicing Therapy: Exercises for Growing Therapists. WW Norton & Co: New York

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