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A Topic Section of The New Conversations Initiative
Communication Skills Empowerment Bookstore

On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy  by Carl R. Rogers. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin.  1995.)   A classic (first published in 1961 and still in print), scholarly but very readable book on the challenges of becoming a more authentic person who is open to new experience.  Rogers was a pioneer advocate of the healing power of supportive listening in both psychotherapy and everyday life. His most revolutionary idea was that the therapist did not have to ‘fix’ the client; if the therapist simply provided a deeply accepting environment and LISTENED responsively, the client’s own sense of inner rightness would come into play and guide the client to find a solution that was right for him/her.

Look for this book in your local library, order from your local bookstore (ISBN=9780395755310), or click the button below to see online bookstore links.


Narrative Therapy: The Social Construction of Preferred Realities by Jill Freedman and Gene Combs This book is expensive and demanding, but it opens new worlds of possibilities for anyone willing to work through it.  The authors give a detailed description or how people use story lines to bring order into their life experience.  But these story lines, the plots of our lives, can become so focused on our problems and struggles that our strengths and successes disappear completely from consciousness, fall into a kind of limbo of unknowing.  Narrative therapy patiently re-gathers these lost facets of a persons life, the sparkling moments, and helps therapy clients use these moments as a kind of compass with which to steer their attention and creative effort toward competence and fulfillment.  Once you have read the transcripts, you will start having different conversations with yourself about your life!   Review by Dennis Rivers

From the back cover: This book describes the clinical application of the growing body of ideas and practices that has come to be known as narrative therapy. The primary focus is on the ways of working that have arisen among therapists who, inspired by the pioneering efforts of Michael White and David Epston, have organized their thinking around two metaphors: narrative and social construction. The authors are as concerned with attitude as with technique. Believing that a solid grounding in the worldview from which narrative practices spring is essential, they begin with an overview of the historical, philosophical, and ideological aspects of the narrative/social constructionist perspective. This involves also telling the story of their own development as particular therapists in a particular part of the world during a particular historical period. The heart of the book is devoted to specific clinical practices: locating problems in their sociocultural context, opening space for alternative stories, developing stories, questioning, reflecting, thickening plots, and spreading the news. Each practice is described, located in relation to the ideas and attitudes that support it, and illustrated with clinical examples. In addition to conversations with people illustrating particular practices, three transcripts are included to show the subtle use of questions to develop alternative, preferred realities. Drawing upon the thinking of White and Epston, Karl Tomm, and others, the final chapter looks at the ethics of relationship that guide narrative therapists in the use of specific practices.

Look for this book in your local library, order from your local bookstore (ISBN=9780393702071), or click the button below to see online bookstore links.

Love & Survival : 8 Pathways to Intimacy and Health , by Dean Ornish, MD. (New York: HarperCollins. 1998.) We all know that intimacy improves the quality of our lives. Yet most people don’t realize how much it can increase the quality of our lives — our survival. In this New York Times best-seller, world-renowned physician Dean Ornish, M.D., writes, “I am not aware of any other factor in medicine that has a greater impact on our survival than the healing power of love and intimacy. Not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery.” He reveals that the real epidemic in modern culture is not only physical heart disease but also what he calls spiritual heart disease: loneliness, isolation, alienation, and depression. He shows how the very defenses that we think protect us from emotional pain are often the same ones that actually heighten our pain and threaten our survival. Dr. Ornish outlines eight pathways to intimacy and healing that have made a profound difference in his life and in the life of millions of others in turning sadness into happiness, suffering into joy. As Dr. Andrew Weil comments, “This is the most important book ever written about love and health.”

Look for this book in your local library, order from your local bookstore (ISBN=9780060930202), or click the button below to see online bookstore links.


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