Books and Other Publications
A USER'S GUIDE TO THERAPY
What to Expect and How You Can Benefit
Book Review by Betsy Horton, LICSW
Printed in the MN Society For Clinical Social Work Newsletter
Winter 2009 Volume 29, Issue 1
Betsy Horton, LICSW
A User’s Guide to Therapy: What to Expect & How You Can Benefit,
by Tamara L. Kaiser, Ph.D.
This book by Tamara Kaiser, Associate Professor at St. Kate’s School of Social Work and a longtime member of MSCSW, is a wonderful summary of what psychotherapy has to offer prospective patients. It is written from the perspective of a wise, approach-able clinician as an explanation of the psychotherapy experience. Any psychotherapy seeker will find it a reassuring and informative therapy guidebook; any psychotherapist will also find it a perceptive and compassionate source of under-standing about our work. Tamara uses simple, clear language to explain common aspects of therapy such as stages of therapy and stages of change; what the experience is like; approaches to, and modes of, therapy. She deepens the reader’s understanding of and comfort with therapy by empathically discussing the common issues of anxiety, shame and guilt. She also takes on more complex topics such as safety and trust, as well as power and authority. She even includes an easy-to-understand chapter on psychotherapy and the brain, and how desired brain changes take place.
The last book I remember reading such a caring description of the therapy process is “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” by Hannah Green, published way back in 1964. Tamara’s book is as sensitive and compassionate as that classic story, but even more helpful today because it is also so comprehensive, contemporary and readable. I highly recommend it to therapists and patients alike as a much-needed humane portrayal of the psycho-therapy process.