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Becoming a Therapist
What Do I Say, and Why?

Suzanne Bender and Edward Messner

332 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
November 2003
ISBN 978-1-57230-943-2
Cat. #0943
Price: $38.00 $32.30
November 2002
ISBN 978-1-57230-804-6
Cat. #0804
Price: $83.00 $70.55
March 2011
ISBN 978-1-60623-754-0
EPUB format
Price: $38.00 $32.30

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“....this book is a must-read for every novice psychotherapist, as well as for psychotherapy supervisors and instructors. Even experienced therapists would likely benefit from the examples discussed in this book as a 'refresher' for practical examples of techniques to apply in common clinical encounters. I applaud Drs. Bender and Messner for writing such a relevant, practical, and needed guide for novice therapists.”

Journal of Psychiatric Practice

“Drs. Bender and Messner decided to correct the lack of a good teaching text for the beginning therapist. ...[Their] book clearly fulfils its goals to teach the basic steps, the nuts and bolts, and to be a guidebook rather than a cookbook. It is wonderfully written, comprehensive, detailed, yet very practical and useful. The wealth and quality of therapist-patient dialogues is a great feature....All practicing clinicians could benefit from reviewing issues presented in this volume. I also suggest that this book become a required reading in residency training programs.”

Annals of Clinical Psychiatry

Becoming a Therapist is an exciting new text that has quickly made its way into the psychotherapy teaching curriculum for residents. The book provides practical advice and clinical case examples illustrating the evaluation of a patient, the first few sessions, managing common dilemmas in therapy, and so on. What makes this book unique is its combination of clear writing, the presentation of recognizable and concise case material, and commentary that further elaborates the concepts. Drs. Bender and Messner emphasize the strategies therapists use to make decisions and handle dilemmas, thus providing residents with both a thinking process and practical tools to help them negotiate the beginning practice of psychotherapy.”

—Everett Siegel, MD, Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

“As a practitioner and teacher of practice for a quarter-century, it is easy to forget the initial terror of beginning as a trainee. This thoughtful and thoroughly engrossing book helps novice psychotherapists understand not only what to say, but also the theoretical concepts that undergird the words. The authors comprehensively cover assessment; the beginning, middle, and end phases of therapy; and how to establish a therapeutic alliance, maintain a frame, and use transference and countertransference. All of these concepts are discussed in an experience-near voice that conveys empathy and respect for clients. The authors skillfully integrate such treatment techniques as exploration, confrontation, and interpretation. They also provide artful coverage of legal, medical, psychopharmacological, and substance abuse issues. This generous work interweaves the contributions of a beginning therapist with the wisdom of a very experienced one. Beginning practitioners and teachers of practice will find it an excellent text.”

—Joan Berzoff, MSW, EdD, Smith College School for Social Work

“This book is a breakthrough, a true gem. A wise, kind and pragmatic master teacher and his gifted student have collaborated to distill the fundamental lessons along the path in the education of a psychotherapist. Many years in the making, the book makes complex concepts feel alive, personal, and elegantly simple. It is a new and valuable tool not only for mental health clinicians, but for any caregiver (or patient!) who hopes to learn better how to listen, and hear.”

—John B. Herman, MD, Director of Clinical Services, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital

“This book is the result of a unique and creative collaboration between a young and insightful therapist who has been struggling with the complexity of psychotherapy, and a seasoned, well-reputed clinician who once served as her supervisor. Provided is a richly illustrated set of guidelines for better understanding and dealing with common dilemmas in therapy. For therapists in training, the book offers helpful strategies (and warns against less effective interventions) for handling nearly every kind of issue that arises between the first contact and termination. More experienced therapists will also benefit from the authors' clinical competence and wisdom, especially with regard to patients that are rarely mentioned in textbooks but who frequently show up at our office—those who, for example, arrive late to sessions, fail to pay their bills, or do not respond immediately to interventions. This noteworthy contribution will be of great interest to a wide range of clinicians.”

—Louis Castonguay, PhD, Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University
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