I’ve been doing couple therapy (not “couples therapy”) for almost 20 years now, going back to my time as a graduate student. I truly enjoy the work. It’s enriching in countless ways, one of which is the amount of time I get to spend learning about and thinking about how romantic relationships are built and sustained. While my couples have taught me a great deal, I’ve also learned from some great books that take the mechanics of couple relationships and either break them down or bring them to life.
Here are, in just one therapist’s opinion, three books every couple therapist should read.
The mental health professions have long recognized that with our positions and our expertise comes a great deal of responsibility. In exchange for our professional status and the trust we are given to work with vulnerable people in private, we agree to act not just on behalf of our clients, but also on behalf of the larger communities who grant us that very trust. This means maintaining awareness of the laws and policies that impact our clients and communities, and working to change those policies that are not in the community’s best interest.
While each professional organization phrases this obligation differently, they agree that it is part of being a counselor or therapist. Simply put, you are expected to use your specialized knowledge and training to benefit the larger community. It is part of holding the title of a mental health professional.
My new book, Saving Psychotherapy, will be officially released September 22 [Update: Here it is!]. An edited excerpt about licensing exams is available here. Another excerpt focused on student debt appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of AAMFT’s Family Therapy Magazine (it starts on page 26).
I could spend a lot of time convincing you why you should read the book, but I think these two charts will be sufficient.
My new book offers straightforward, practical guidance on becoming an MFT and developing in the family therapy field.
The book is mostly a collection of the most popular posts from this blog, though it concludes with a special essay about the future of the field for those just at the beginning of their careers in it. That essay is less a crystal ball and more a call to action (emphasis added):
The more I learned about the history of marriage and family therapy, the more I came to see its early trailblazers as activists and rebels. We would not even have a profession of family therapy if the Virginia Satirs, Murray Bowens, or Jay Haleys of the world had been satisfied with the status quo. The future of family therapy depends on the next generation of MFTs being similarly unsatisfied with simply following in the footsteps of those who came before. We need loud, passionate voices who share their views beyond their clinic walls. We need loud, passionate voices who know that improving the health of individuals means working to change relationships and families, and that improving the health of families means working to change communities and societies. And we need loud, passionate voices who know that creating change – doing therapy – works differently on those different levels.
It’s worth reading. The whole thing is. It makes an especially good gift for those new to the MFT profession or considering becoming a family therapist. But, of course I would say that. I’m biased.
“24 Essays” is available now for Kindle (and less than 10 bucks!), which has the added benefit of preserving all the active links from the original blog posts. Additional formats to come in the next few weeks; rather than do a separate post each time a new format becomes available, I’ll simply announce them on my Facebook page and my Twitter feed.