Letters to a young therapist.
Mary Pipher Mary Elizabeth Pipher, also known as Mary Bray Pipher (born 21 October 1947), Ph.D., is an American clinical psychologist and author. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1969 and a Ph.D. (2003).
Letters to a young therapist, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Basic Books. 181 pp. $12.96. ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m 0465057675.
Mary Pipher is the author of six books, including Reviving Ophelia, Another Century, The Shelter of Each Other, and her most recent book, The Middle of Everywhere: The World's Refugees Come to Our Town. She is a psychotherapist psy·cho·ther·a·pist
An individual, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, or psychiatric social worker, who practices psychotherapy. in Lincoln, Nebraska The City of Lincoln is the capital and the second most populous city of the U.S. state of Nebraska. Lincoln is also the county seat of Lancaster County and the home of the University of Nebraska. .
In Letters to a Young Therapist, Mary Pipher candidly reveals the triumphs and tribulations of her nearly thirty years of experiences as a clinical psychologist. The author artfully shares her wisdom by writing a series of letters to Laura, a young therapist whom she mentored. This style of writing makes the book engaging throughout as the reader is guided in dealing with the challenges of psychotherapy psychotherapy, treatment of mental and emotional disorders using psychological methods. Psychotherapy, thus, does not include physiological interventions, such as drug therapy or electroconvulsive therapy, although it may be used in combination with such methods. and living life as a therapist. A unique perspective into what a therapist really does Warren Trotter, better known as Really Doe, is an American rapper from Chicago, Illinois. He is affiliated with Kanye West and his G.O.O.D. Music family and label. Discography
There is substantial benefit to being exposed to a seasoned clinician's thoughts about life, the human condition, clinical practice and our profession as a whole. As someone who teaches graduate level psychology students, I have some sense of how difficult it can be to process the amount of information in our field. My clinical practicum practicum (prak´tikm),
n See internship. students often wonder how to choose an approach to working with clients; this book is one I will definitely recommend to aid them in this process. It is helpful that the author shares not only what she does in clinical work, yet has even more impact because the reader is informed of the author's thinking and reasoning process.
Pipher describes her goals for her clients as follows: "I want people to leave feeling calmer, kinder and more optimistic op·ti·mist
1. One who usually expects a favorable outcome.
2. A believer in philosophical optimism.
op . I want them to be more intentional in their choices and, in many cases, less impulsive im·pul·sive
1. Inclined or tending to act on impulse rather than thought.
2. Motivated by or resulting from impulse.
im·pul in their appetites" (p. xiii). Her expressed desire for people is to embrace their humanity, admitting their flaws and feelings of vulnerability. A practical, common sense approach to therapy is used along with a focus on trusting in the process of therapy. The therapist provides the client with "another point of view on their own particular mixed-up universe," (p. xv) as they are allowed to explore their inner world within a safe relationship.
It is clear Pipher that has been able to benefit from mainstream psychological training and yet has resisted becoming caught up in dogma or the latest fad. She thinks independently about the human condition and considers the broad context of human behavior. For example, she believes many mental health problems are created by our "deeply dysfunctional culture" (p. xvii). Pipher rightfully challenges our culture of ignoring the problems of children, refugees, the aged and the poor. The media, which do not encourage people to think about world peace or spiritual needs, is also implicated im·pli·cate
tr.v. im·pli·cat·ed, im·pli·cat·ing, im·pli·cates
1. To involve or connect intimately or incriminatingly: evidence that implicates others in the plot.
The letters in this book are divided into four seasons, and were the result of a yearlong writing project, which began on December 2, 2001. The first part of the book contains her letters from Winter. Pipher begins by sharing her life story, constructing a breadcrumb See breadcrumbs. trail and highlighting many defining moments. Pipher was an avid reader as a child and shares how reading expanded her mind at an early age. Moving on, she discusses her choice of psychology as a career and the virtues needed to be a good therapist. The author believes therapists need to be reasonably well adjusted and encourages therapists to understand the value of the natural world and the potential benefit of animals for clients.
Included among the Winter letters is an excellent discussion of the family bashing that often occurs in therapy. Our goal should be to strengthen families and articulate what families do for people, rather than just how dysfunctional they may be. With clients from very abusive families, she says, "Find someone to love that is family. Even if it is your second cousin second cousin
1. A child of a first cousin of one's parent.
2. A child of one's first cousin; a first cousin once removed. twice removed, seek out that person and build a family relationship. Everyone needs kin" (p. 29). In a winter letter about deepening therapy, Pipher discusses the importance of connecting surface complaints to deeper issues. Clients are helped to consider the effects of their behavior on others, not just how they feel about how they have been treated. An emphasis is placed on balance and on helping rigid clients see alternate solutions. The secret of our work is helping clients make connections. Affect, behavior and thinking need to be connected as well as past, present and future.
Spring, the second season of letters, includes selections on pain, happiness, using metaphors, endurance, self-care, medication and dating. In the introduction to Letters to a Young Therapist, Pipher states she has a PhD in human suffering. Indeed, in the selection of letters on pain, it is clear the author has a healthy perspective on pain. Clients are encouraged to face their pain as the author believes most of the craziness of the world is caused by running from pain. Part of being emotionally healthy is being able to learn and grow from life's experiences. Happiness is not about doing your own thing, but about contentment Contentment
poor peasant said by the Delphic oracle to be happier than the king because he was contented. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 15] , relationships, productive work and meaning. She also comments on the research that suggests religious people are happier than non-religious people.
Pipher presents a balanced approach to the issue of recommending medication in her letter to Laura on this issue. Recognizing, for example, that theories about the cause of depression range from biochemical, genetic, and environmental to spiritual and existential ex·is·ten·tial
1. Of, relating to, or dealing with existence.
2. Based on experience; empirical.
3. Of or as conceived by existentialism or existentialists: , she proposes that an important task for the therapist is to help clients distinguish between depression and sorrow. Another Spring letter provides some useful thoughts about dating. Clients are encouraged to carefully evaluate their prospective partners and to go slowly as it takes time to see people in many settings. Dating is compared to an emotional minefield and a rigged game, but must be played for people to have families of their own.
The third part of the book contains the Summer letters to Laura and includes reflections on marriage, family, intentionality intentionality
Property of being directed toward an object. Intentionality is exhibited in various mental phenomena. Thus, if a person experiences an emotion toward an object, he has an intentional attitude toward it. , emotional weather, swimming, danger, and therapy and writing. Based on thirty years of working with couples, Pipher conveys a clear understanding of marital dynamics and the challenges of working with couples in therapy. Reinforcing positive statements made by a spouse while challenging negative ones is one approach utilized. The author's reflections about family therapy are also insightful. She eloquently states the following: "We must dance between the raindrops to do family work. Our job is to validate every point of view and, at the same time, stay out of trouble with other family members" (pp. 104-105). Rules within families, family alliances and family secrets are also discussed. The letter on families is one of her longer letters and is a "must read" for anyone working with families.
Pipher's letter on intentionality is filled with wisdom on sorting through the vast array of one's choices in life. For example, she advocates the importance of being thoughtful about our use of time. The harmful messages from our culture are also identified along with the need for parents to help children sort out these messages. An excellent thought from Plato about education involving teaching our children to find pleasure in the right things concludes this letter. In another Summer letter, an issue is addressed that is frequently not emphasized in training programs, that being, the possibility of physical harm inflicted by clients. In this sobering letter, therapists are encouraged to protect themselves and have a plan for potential danger.
The Fall letters include reflections on ethics, story doctors, resistance, failures, healing solutions from all over the world, and yearning. In an important letter on ethics, Pipher addresses issues regarding labeling and the potential harmful implication of giving a client a diagnosis. Also included in this letter is a very interesting discussion on the difference between understanding and approval of clients. In a creative letter called Story Doctors, the author states that therapists are primarily storytellers as they help clients to view the world more optimistically op·ti·mist
1. One who usually expects a favorable outcome.
2. A believer in philosophical optimism.
op . One technique to help her clients become more hopeful is to ask what he/she gained from sad experiences.
The difficulty of change is a topic addressed in the letter on resistance. Recognizing people do exactly what they want to do, the author advises the therapist to deflect de·flect
intr. & tr.v. de·flect·ed, de·flect·ing, de·flects
To turn aside or cause to turn aside; bend or deviate.
[Latin d resistance rather than meet it head on. She suggests statements like, "I agree with part of what you are saying, but there is a small part I wonder about" or "I wonder if you have even the slightest doubts about your current position" (p. 155). In addition, the importance of the client feeling heard and accepted is emphasized. Failures are an inevitable part of doing therapy. Revealing some of her mistakes over the years, Pipher discusses what she has learned from them and shares her process of dealing with her own imperfections.
In one of the final letters in the book, Pipher turns to alternative forms of healing in assisting clients. Practices in other cultures are considered and valued. In her final words of wisdom, a frank letter to Laura is written about the painful reality of just how hard life can be and is for many people. Life is filled with sorrow, but also great joy. Our role as therapists is to provide our clients assistance in coping and developing resources to deal with facing the struggles in their lives.
While reading Letters to a Young Therapist, I was reminded of an assignment required of my Theories of Personality classes. At the end of the course students write a paper outlining their own theory of personality. It is a way of integrating concepts from foundational personality theorists and making these concepts their own. These papers, although of course a source of anxiety, are often quite creative. In a similar way, Pipher has taken all that she has learned from her training and clinical practice and shared this knowledge with all of us in the easy to digest form of these letters to Laura.
It would be exciting if this work encourages other seasoned clinicians to do the same and candidly share their clinical wisdom. A recent book from Cozolino (2004) also offers clinical insights and wisdom from his years of clinical experience, especially emphasizing the need for the therapist's personal growth. Both books reflect a sense of humility from the authors. In fact, Pipher states we have an ethical responsibility to realize we don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. everything. She encourages Laura to "respect the complexity of the universe with all its uproar and glory" (p. 180). Personally, I find such statements to be very encouraging and consistent with a Christian worldview Christian worldview refers to a collection of distinctively Christian philosophical and religious beliefs. The term is typically used in one of three ways:
1. Expressed or performed with emphasis: responded with an emphatic "no."
2. Forceful and definite in expression or action.
3. that our responsibility is to be honest with our clients about our values.
In conclusion, I would recommend this book to mental health professionals and pastoral counselors. There is much clinical insight and knowledge to be gained. The material is presented in such an enjoyable manner the reader will hardly realize how much he/she is learning.
REVIEWERS FOR THIS ISSUE
BECK, JAMES R., Ph.D., is a Professor of Counseling at Denver Seminary Denver Seminary is an evangelical post-graduate institution that offers a wide range of degrees not typically associated with seminaries. The school prides itself in its rigorous academics that are combined with a steady dose of spiritual formation.
Founded in 1950, Dr. and the author of The Psychology of Paul (2002).
O'DONNELL, KELLY, PsyD, is a psychologist based in Europe. His emphases are in the member care/human resource field, and include crisis management, expatriate Expatriate
An employee who is a U.S. citizen living and working in a foreign country. adjustment, and developing member care affiliations. He has edited three volumes: Doing Member Care Well (2002), Missionary Care (1992), and Helping Missionaries Grow (1988).
HEDGESPETH, JOANNE, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, serves as a commissioner for the Board of Psychology in California, and is a faculty member at Pepperdine University Pepperdine University is a private institution of higher learning affiliated with the Church of Christ in unincorporated Los Angeles County, California, United States. The university's location overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is adjacent to the city limits of Malibu. . Prior to teaching at Pepperdine, she served as a psychologist in the United States Air Force United States Air Force (USAF)
Major component of the U.S. military organization, with primary responsibility for air warfare, air defense, and military space research. It also provides air services in coordination with the other military branches. U.S. . Dr. Hedgespeth has completed a postdoctoral post·doc·tor·al also post·doc·tor·ate
Of, relating to, or engaged in academic study beyond the level of a doctoral degree.
Noun 1. fellowship in child clinical psychology at the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center. She recently completed psychoanalytic psy·cho·a·nal·y·sis
n. pl. psy·cho·a·nal·y·ses
a. The method of psychological therapy originated by Sigmund Freud in which free association, dream interpretation, and analysis of resistance and transference are training at the Psychoanalytic Center of California and obtained a certificate in psychoanalysis psychoanalysis, name given by Sigmund Freud to a system of interpretation and therapeutic treatment of psychological disorders. Psychoanalysis began after Freud studied (1885–86) with the French neurologist J. M. .
Reviewed by JOANNE HEDGESPETH, PhD