This Week’s Book = Bad Therapy (by J.A. Kottler & J. Carlson)
It’s shocking, I know…but counsellors aren’t perfect. It is possible for us to have messy moments in our personal lives, conversations that we wish we could have handled better, and outpourings of emotion at inopportune times. We can also have bad days at work, which generally translate into bad sessions for clients. All counsellors have sessions where they wish they could yell, “DO OVER!” and try it again. Unfortunately, that’s not possible, so we are left to sit with the regret, guilt and insecurities that come from those bad sessions.
It’s with those moments in mind that I chose to re-read a book from my grad school days called Bad Therapy for this week’s blog post. Bad Therapy is a compilation of interviews with some of psychology’s most well known practitioners, authors, and leaders. The sole purpose of this book is to discuss the idea of bad therapy and for each person to share at least one story of a time when they provided a bad therapy session. Each chapter introduces a new professional (22 in all!), discusses their story or perceived failure, and shares what they learned or what others could learn from the scenario. It is a very candid book and the authors/contributors do not hide their fears about being so honest and open about failure.
You know, I need this book from time to time. I need to be reminded that I don’t have to be perfect (why hello, my old friend Perfectionism!). Counsellors are human and all humans have bad days, make mistakes, and make poor decisions. If I’m having a particularly shitty feeling day after work, sometimes I pick up this book and read one chapter of it. And you know what? It helps. It helps to hear that I’m not alone, that others make mistakes too, and that even the experts will question themselves. For all the counsellors out there, remember this book when you are feeling low about your performance or when you feel like you’re not helping anyone. Let the humanness of it slap you across the face so you can give your head a shake and move forward. For everyone else who wants to read this book, remember that counsellors are human and we are doing the absolute best that we can…just like you!
Interested in this book? Click Here!
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