Resource List 07: Reviewed Psychotherapy Books


Compiled under the direction of Jacqueline A. Carleton Ph.D. (and her interns) for the IJP (July, 2015).

Barrett, M. & Stone Fish, L. (2014). Treating Complex Trauma: A Relational Blueprint for Collaboration and Change.

Brahm, A. (2014). Don't Worry, Be Grumpy: Inspiring Stories for Making the Most of Each Moment.


Brahm, A. (2005). Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? Inspiring Stories For Welcoming Life's Difficulties.


Dahlitz, M. & Hall, M. (2014). Memory Reconsolidation in Psychotherapy.


Dorjee, D. (2014). Mind, Brain, and the Path to Happiness: A Guide to Buddhist Mind Training and the Neuroscience of Meditation.


Gerhardt, S. (2015). Why Love Matters.


Glazer, R. & Stuve, M. (Director). (2014). Intuitive Bodywork: Energetic Psychotherapy for the 21st Century With Robert Glazer, PhD.


Impellizzeri, S. (2012). Why Can't I Change?: How to Conquer Your Self-Destructive Patterns.


Lansky, M.R. & Morrison, A. P. (Eds.). (1997). The Widening Scope of Shame.


Layton, Rebecca. (2012). Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid's Guide to Feelings.


Jamison, L. (2014). The Empathy Exams.


Marks-Tarlow, T. & McCrory (2013). Mirrors of the Mind 2: The Psychotherapist as Artist.


O'Hanlon, B. (2006). Solution-oriented spirituality.


Rosenthal, M. (2015). Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity.


Sieff, D. F. (2015). Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma.


Zaretsky, E. (2005). Secrets of the Soul: A Social and Cultural History of Psychoanalysis.


Zimmermann, S. (2014). Fifty Shrinks.

Barrett, M. & Stone Fish, L. (2014). Treating Complex Trauma: A Relational Blueprint for Collaboration and Change.

Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University


Treating Complex Trauma: A Relational Blueprint for Collaboration and Change can be considered a sequel to a 1989 book written by one of the co-authors, Systemic Treatment of Incest, in that it takes up where the earlier book leaves off in how it approaches systemic treatment with traumatized families. In doing so, the book seeks to further progress the therapist-client relationship to instill more powerful clinical partnerships, creating lasting change for people who have experienced trauma. It accomplishes this as both a reference and clinically evaluated diagnostic model to aid therapists in their practice. The model used here, the Collaborative Change Model (CCM), has been used and tested to be effective clinically, and can be a useful tool in developing a diverse range of treatment strategies. Even when not treating complex trauma specifically, the techniques outlined can be useful for a wide range of professional readership.

            Because within therapy, social work, and social services practitioners work with so many individuals affected by complex trauma and adverse psychosocial dynamics more generally, this guide is widely applicable. Even as a reference, because clinical work often involves complex dynamics with or without an element of trauma this guide can assist readers in techniques for strengthening the client clinical relationship while working with them. With emphasis on open and frequent feedback, the book seeks to drive clients to be more active and engaged in their healing process. It is written so that the information and techniques presented can assist those with a wide and varied range of skill sets, and incorporates techniques that can even on their own improve different models of treatment. It is especially recommended for those with interest in working with the CCM directly, and can be considered highly cohesive, specific, and useful in that regard. Whatever is presented is reinforced with empirical research findings backing it, and draws from a great body of knowledge within practical and theoretical work. The result is informative, to say the least, and can be considered required reading for anyone seeking to or who are already working with clients with complex trauma dynamics.

            Mary Jo Barrett, MSW, is currently the executive director of the Center for Contextual Change and an adjunct faculty member of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and the Family Institute at Northwestern University. She has written two books, numerous chapters, and published extensively articles about family violence, sexual abuse, and compassion fatigue. Linda Stone Fish, MSW, PhD, is a professor of marriage and family therapy at Syracuse University, an author of numerous research and theoretical articles, co-author of Nurturing Queer Youth, and has worked with clients with complex trauma histories for over thirty years.


Barrett, M. & Stone Fish, L. (2014). Treating Complex Trauma: A Relational Blueprint for Collaboration and Change. New York, NY: Routledge.

ISBN: 978-0-415-51021-9.

Paperback: 161 pages. Includes index and references.

Key words: trauma, treatment, complex trauma, stress, diagnostic guide


Brahm, A. (2014). Don't Worry, Be Grumpy: Inspiring Stories for Making the Most of Each Moment.
Reviewed by: Anny Reyes, New York University

If you are looking for a book that will help you find life less troublesome, Don't Worry be, Grumpy is your book. Ajahn Braham provides over 100 brief stories that are humorous, insightful, and inspiring. The stories are easy to read and the content easy to digest. When providing valuable teachings the transparency, explicitly, and universality of the content is important in order to impact a larger readership. Braham's wisdom will speak to people from different cultures, languages, and walks of life. The brevity of the stories allows readers to pick up the book whenever they need some inspiring wisdom, whether in the middle of an office day, after an argument with a partner, or an encounter with a stranger. As humans we need a daily reminder that there are many perspectives to any situation, some more productive than others.
Braham explores topics that are often unspoken in society and gently challenges the readers' conventional views with new perspectives. The author provides a collection of adapted traditional Buddhist parables and anecdotes from his own experience as a teacher, abbot, and monk. From topics of death, to honesty in relationships, to making lemonade when life gives you lemons, Braham provides countless stories of situations that one might encounter at some point in one's life. Braham's humorous writing style gives the reader a sense of storytelling instead of a feeling of being lectured. You could close your eyes and open the book to a random page and find a valuable lesson with timeless wisdom. I found myself laughing with the stories while internalizing each life lesson. You could read the book anywhere, at anytime. I recommend keeping the book nearby, at your desk, your bedstand, or in your pocketbook. The book is a great escape from life's chaos.


Brahm, A. (2014). Don't Worry, Be Grumpy: Inspiring Stories for Making the Most of Each Moment. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications.
ISBN: 9781614291671
Paperback: 227 pages. 


Brahm, A. (2005). Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? Inspiring Stories For Welcoming Lifes Difficulties.

Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University


Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? Inspiring Stories For Welcoming Lifes Difficulties gives a fairly straightforward description of itself from its title alone; This is a collection of short anecdotal stories, vignettes, and poetry aimed at inspiring and teaching readers through the lens of Buddhist spirituality and contemplation. Within the Buddhist tradition, lessons are taught through story (as the author explains in the book), and were instrumental in how Buddhism was initially founded. Drawing from the life and experiences of the author as well as taking stories, anecdotes, vignettes, and poems from those the author has met or learned from, the book serves as a collection of lessons about life and spirituality illustrated through the varying perspectives and moments it includes. Ultimately, they are meant to help readers gain perspective within their own lives on their actions, their ways ways of thinking and feeling, through reflection.

            What is impressive about the book is its ability to present overt Buddhist teachings while still feeling fairly secular and accessible even to those with opposing moralistic or spiritual viewpoints. This is welcome, because it also makes the book useful for a wide audience of people seeking change or facing difficult challenges in their life. For the psychological community, it might offer some perspective to clients feeling stuck in the difficulties they face. Much of the content is entertaining even for people not looking into the book as a kind of self-help guide, which is wonderful given that so often such books fall by the wayside or are dismissed because they miss the mark on the entertainment quality of the advice they give. Even as a brief or passive read, most of the content is so short that one could pick up the book only briefly and manage to find something of at least some value, entertaining or otherwise, and so is perfect for people easily distractible, busy, or otherwise uncompelled to sit down with a book and read for an hour.

            There is always something of value in a story, is the general stance taken by Brahm. It might be difficult for some reading though this collection to fully grasp the meaning of that, though to be sure a great number of readers will see the wisdom in that sentence. It is easy to say that this book is entertaining, and genuinely funny when not deadly serious or frank in its considerations and references to the most painful and difficult aspects of our lives. In that sometimes light-hearted approach there is a genuine usefulness that a suffering person might be able to ascertain, though only for themselves and certainly only if they are willing to see what they are reading the way it is intended. All of this aside, and in spite of the fact that you cant really teach wisdom, many people might benefit from reading this book even if they dont see the need to read a book about facing the difficulties of life. It is disarming, if nothing else, and sometimes that is exactly what many of us need.

             Ajahn Brahm has been a monk for thirty years, having left his native England after earning a degree in theoretical physics at Cambridge University and finding himself disillusioned with academia. He is now a revered spiritual guide and is abbot of one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in the southern hemisphere. He is also the author of another book, Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond.


Brahm, A. (2005). Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? Inspiring Stories For Welcoming Lifes Difficulties. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications.
ISBN: 978-0-86171-278-6.

Paperback. 269 pages.

Key words: Buddhism, inspirational, anecdotal, vignettes, spiritual


Dahlitz, M. & Hall, M. (2014). 
Memory Reconsolidation in Psychotherapy.

Reviewed by: Anny Reyes, New York University


Understanding the biological mechanism that drives memory reconsolidation is essential in developing successful therapeutic practices. With the integration of neuroscience research into psychotherapy, many therapists are redefining their techniques in order to incorporate the brains mechanisms of change. Understanding the neural mechanisms involved in memory formation and memory transformation can help therapists establish therapies that are working at the synapse level. Decades of research have concluded that consolidated learning was unerasable and that emotional memories could only be temporarily suppressed. The idea of memory as a one-way street was challenged by neuroscientists, who were able to elucidate the reconsolidation process of memory. Through animal and human studies, neuroscientists were able to identify the three-step process of memory reconsolidation. This process unlocks the synapses involved, creating a labile state of approximately five hours. New learning must take place during this labile state in order for the target memory to be reconsolidated. The target memory could either be erased or revised.

            Each chapter of the book is dedicated to a different aspect of memory reconsolidation, including the biological mechanisms involved and their relationship to psychological process, the techniques used to carry our memory reconsolidation, and the clinical and research evidence in the literature. The book is not simply a source of factual information; there are anecdotes and case illustrations throughout the book that paint a vivid picture of the process of memory reconsolidation. Bruce Ecker co-originator of Coherence Therapy and author of several books in the field of memory reconsolidation does a remarkable job at creating a foundation of knowledge on the topic. He provides evidence-based research to explain memory reconsolidation with terminology familiar to the readership. He outlines the reconsolidation process in the context of psychotherapy and includes the steps initially needed before implementing the transformation sequence. Many research articles are pervaded with jargon and without a basic background on the topic at hand, it is difficult to fully comprehend the material. Moreover, translation into the clinical context might not be available. The articles in the book provide this translation of research findings into clinical practice in the context of psychotherapy.


Dahlitz, M. & Hall, M. (2014). Memory Reconsolidation in Psychotherapy. Australia: Dahlitz Media. ISBN-13: 978-1506004341

Paperback:184 pages. Includes Appendix and Index

Keywords: memory reconsolidation, neuropsychotherapy, neuroscience


Dorjee, D. (2014). Mind, Brain, and the Path to Happiness: A Guide to Buddhist Mind Training and the Neuroscience of Meditation.

Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University


Mind, Brain, and the Path to Happiness is, at its core, a book detailing the Tibetan Buddhist teachings and practices of Dzogchen. Dzogchen is a Buddhist tradition that focuses on, in the words of the book, direct understanding of the innate pristine nature of awareness. It intersects a simplified explanation of its teachings for a western audience with the implications they have for personal and spiritual growth, then analyzes their implications through neuroscientific research. This is done, ostensibly, to spark greater interest in studying and researching this particular school of thought.

            As the focus of psychology has shifted to studying cognitive and developmental neuroscience, there has been an increase in attention to the psychophysical and psychological effects of meditation and mind training. While the findings presented here are often tangential and sometimes speculative in their comparison of the implication of Dzogchen yogic and meditative practices, the book does effectively raise many interesting questions about the nature of mindfulness and the potential within Buddhist teachings for future neurocognitive study. When reading Mind, Brain, and the Path to Happiness, it becomes apparent that the intended audience for this work is broad enough that those with a slant towards scientific research and clinical practice will find it just as accessible to their work as the layperson would for their day to day life.

            As an entry point into studying Buddhist tradition through the framework of what is understood currently in neuroscience or psychology generally, the book presents a particularly interesting school of thought that can open the door for readers into learning more about eastern spiritual and psychological conceptions. It can serve equally well as a practice book during clinical work, a guide for research, or as casual reading for those wishing to integrate Buddhist practices or mindfulness into their regular lives. Having said all of that, if the reader does not already hold some interest in Buddhist teachings, this book might not be for him/her. It does, at times, rely more heavily on discussing what Dzogchen is supposed to be trying to achieve versus what it is known to achieve, scientifically. Though it does include research that points to its efficacy, there may simply not be enough empirical evidence yet to make the subject matter digestible for a skeptical audience. Still, what is presented is nonetheless objectively quite interesting, and those wishing to learn more about this particular Buddhist tradition will certainly find this a useful resource.

            Dusana Dorjee, PhD, is a long-term practitioner and teacher of the Tibetan-Buddhist tradition of Dzogchen. She works in Bangor Universitys Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice in the School of Psychology as a cognitive neuroscientist, research lead, and lecturer. Her research investigates the ways in which meditation and mindfulness modify the brain, mind, and enhance well-being.


Dorjee, D. (2014). Mind, Brain, and the Path to Happiness: A Guide to Buddhist Mind Training and the Neuroscience of MeditationNew York, NY: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-415-62614-9.

Paperback. 156 pages. Includes glossary, index and references.

Key words: Dzogchen, Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, mindfulness, happiness, meditation


Gerhardt, S. (2015). Why Love Matters.

Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University


Sue Gerhardt is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who has been in private practice since 1997. She is a co-founder of the Oxford Parent Infant Project (OXPIP) charity. The charity, operating out of Oxfordshire, UK, provides psychotherapeutic services to hundreds of parents and their babies, and is now becoming a prototype for many new parent-infant projects throughout England.

            Gerhardts book aims to reconcile the growing disparity between public and professional knowledge of the new developments in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, as well as social developmental, and personality psychology that pertain to early infant development and beyond. Her focus is on a timeline spanning conception through the first several years of life, relating findings from research on that period to later adolescent and adult development. In the second edition of Why Love Matters, scientific findings have been brought up to date with additional research on genetics, the mind-body connection, and the role of pregnancy in later emotional and physical well-being.       

            This book offers painstaking detail to assist parents in understanding the scientific content it presents. In spite of that goal, however, the sheer density of findings, the language used, and the way findings are presented are better suited for a college textbook or dissertation than for a book fashioning itself a reference for typical parents. Granted, the demographic of parents that would actually be reading the book may be more motivated or better equipped to pour through its collection of pertinent information than your average layperson, but it limits the audience this book can reach.

            For a reader acquainted with psychology, this truly is an all-encompassing book on early human development and presents fascinating links between genetic expression and socio-cultural and environmental influence. Its method of case study as illustration is poignant, and though there is a degree of speculation present in the way these vignettes are discussed, the body of research is undeniably compelling for parents and professionals in the field alike. If parents do read the book and manage not to fall into a pattern of hypochondriacal monitoring that the author warns against, they will find it very helpful in guiding their child-raising strategies. For the professional who is not already well-versed in infant and child development, this book will also serve as an excellent starting point to be brought up to speed on contemporary findings.


Gerhardt, S. (2015). Why Love Matters. Second edition. Routledge. New York, NY.

ISBN: 978-1-315-75831-2.

Paperback: 303 pages. Includes index and references.

Key words: infant, child, early development, parents, love, genetic expression



Glazer, R. & Stuve, M. (Director). (2014). Intuitive Bodywork: Energetic Psychotherapy for the 21st Century With Robert Glazer, PhD.

Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University

Intuitive Bodywork, as part of a DVD format teaching series for those interested in learning about bioenergetics and intuition-based body centric therapy, details for viewers the basic history and practice of current techniques in this field. To do so, the teacher and guiding therapist, Robert Glazer, PhD, holds a session with a client of his, working with the person to teach the audience visually with supplemental explanations as he demonstrates his work and practice style. Designed around the principal of intuitive understanding of this kind of work, Glazer emphasizes before he begins that the viewer should understand through mindfulness of their physical reactions to what is shown here primarily, and that intellectual, concentrated processing of the techniques are secondary and are only supplemental. In approaching it this way, the DVD effectively allows viewers to fully experience this form of therapy as if they were watching it being performed in front of them, making this a powerful learning tool.

            Because this is a teaching series, the primary target audience for this program is students of all kinds who are interested in learning about intuitive bodywork and bioenergetic psychotherapy. Demonstrations like the one showcased in the DVD are powerful examples for those looking to work with these techniques. Especially in cases where viewers don’t have access to or have the liberty to attend a physical workshop where these techniques can be seen and felt firsthand, this can be a useful alternative to broadening the understanding of what this type of therapy is really like. As someone who personally did not have any prior background with bioenergetic or intuitive bodywork, I found watching this presentation very useful in expanding my knowledge in the topic and practice of it.

            Overall, Intuitive Bodywork is an effective tool for learning about the practice of this form of psychotherapy that can supplement for students of these techniques the physical experience of witnessing bodywork techniques being practiced. What is broken down and explained is accessible enough that even those without prior backgrounds in this form of work will not be alienated by the practices or terminology; this showcase should be considered fairly introductory for those already well versed in this school of thought. In using a real example for viewers to follow, therapists looking to incorporate Glazer’s techniques will be satisfied with the powerful and multifaceted depth on display here.

            Robert Glazer, PhD, has worked as a psychologist since 1975 and has practiced bioenergetic psychotherapy for just as long. He has worked closely with Alexander Lowen, one of the founding practitioners of Bioenergetics, and edited his autobiography,Honoring the Body. Currently, Glazer directs the Florida Society for Bioenergetic Analysis.

Glazer, R. & Stuve, M. (Director). (2014). Intuitive Bodywork: Energetic Psychotherapy for the 21st Century With Robert Glazer, PhD. United States: Florida Society for Bioenergetic Analysis.

DVD. 50 minutes.

Key words: intuition, bodywork, intuitive bodywork, bioenergetics, energy, mindfulness, psychotherapy, teaching series


Impellizzeri, S. (2012). Why Cant I Change?: How to Conquer Your Self-Destructive Patterns.

Reviewed by: Helen Hu, New York University.

Shirley Impellizzeri is more than familiar with translating modern psychological research into a language that can be understood by the general public. As a clinical psychologist based in Beverly Hills as well as a frequent guest speaker on numerous talk shows, one could say that Impellizzeri’s career relies on how well she conveys complex neurological concepts to the layman in a way that is both entertaining and helpful. Why Cant I Change?: How to Conquer Your Self-Destructive Patterns is, consequently, literary proof of her ability to communicate outside of the therapy setting as she states that “[she] wrote this book to share [her] insights and strategies beyond the scope of [her] practice” (xii).  

            Each chapter is composed of numerous subsections, complete with exercises scattered throughout as well as summaries of the chapter (“takeaways”) at the end. Impellizzeri encourages self-reflection, presenting surveys and short questionnaires for the reader to complete as she introduces one psychological concept after another. In this way, Why Cant I Change? is reminiscent of a high school textbook, filled with easy-to-understand language and visuals to aid in the learning process. Information is provided in a conversational manner; Impellizzeri avoids terms that will potentially confuse her audience, utilizing humor and gentle instruction to ease the reader through. By doing this, Impellizzeri portrays herself as a relatable figure, a friend, an ally who has gone through many of the same struggles as the rest of us have.

            Impellizzeri’s advice is heavily based on family ties and parental relationships, directed at the bonds formed from childhood as well as those formed while raising a child of her own. It is an easy read that resonates with new parents or individuals who want to take advantage of a situation without necessarily delving too deeply into a scientific background. However, this may be for the best. After all, Why Cant I Change? is, at its core, a heartening self-help book aimed to convince that even the worst of habits can be broken with a bit of personal motivation.

Impellizzeri, S. (2012). Why Cant I Change?: How to Conquer Your Self-Destructive Patterns. Sunrise River Press. North Branch, MN USA.

ISBN: 978-1-934716-37-3.

Paperback: 223 pages.

Includes index.

Key words: author, mental health, non-fiction, writing


Lansky, M.R., & Morrison, A.P. (Eds.). (1997). The Widening Scope of Shame.

Reviewed by: Helen Hu, New York University

Drs. Melvin R. Lansky, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at University of California, and Andrew P. Morrison, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, collaborate to create an anthology of studies concerning the elusive topic of shame within the psychological and sociological fields. Featuring articles from various professors, authors, and psychologists (among others), The Widening Scope of Shame offers, in its professionalism, a wholesome exploration into where shame originates from as well as how it can be analyzed in daily scenarios.

            The anthology’s nineteen chapters are arranged according to the following four sections: “Psychoanalytic Perspectives,” “Biology, Psychology, Philosophy, Social Theory,” “The Family,” and “Clinical and Religious”. Though it may not be apparent initially, every“chapter” is actually its own study. Lansky and Morrison have organized the works in a way that is clear and precise—by using each contributor’s essay titles as the titles of the chapters, readers can conveniently choose which areas of research appeal to them and consequently investigate further.

            This collection of chosen works provides diverse viewpoints on and explanations of the various facets of shame. Ranging from child development to marital affairs, the areas addressed in this collection are helpful in gaining a deeper awareness of not only shame, but also other psychological concepts. The language is instructional, suited for those who have some experience in psychology as well as experts who simply want to broaden their scope of comprehension. For therapists who are seeking a well-rounded, inclusive take on the effects of shame and how to address them, this anthology would be recommended. As Lansky and Morrison state in the preface, “[the aim of this book] is to provide a broader perspective that can be found in any single existing volume intended for, but not limited to, clinicians” (xiv). Perhaps there are other books nowadays that offer an even greater range of perspectives, but it cannot be denied that The Widening Scope of Shame remains a valid source of information to consult.

Lansky, M.R. & Morrison, A.P. (Eds.). (1997). The Widening Scope of Shame. The Analytic Press, Inc. Hillsdale, NJ USA.

ISBN: 0-88163-390-9.
Paperback: 437 pages. Includes bibliographic references and index.

Key words: author, non-fiction, shame, research, writing


Layton, R. (2012). Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid's Guide to Feelings.

Reviewed by: Tricia Gunter, MA, NCC


Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kids Guide to Feelings claims to be a must read for parents, teachers, therapists, and healthcare providers. Rebecca Laytons framework for presenting the different emotions is empowering to children, as it takes neither the extreme approach that children should be in complete control of their emotions, nor that they are passive victims of their emotions. Instead, she suggests that each [emotion] is there to take care of YOU.

            The book divides each emotion into sections: The title of the emotion; depiction of the corresponding facial expression; a sentence that introduces the emotion in terms of what the emotion tells us or the response it could/should elicit; a short story; a sentence describing the somatic/physical effects of the emotion; a page with describing what actions some take when they are feeling the particular emotion along with the open-ended question: What do you do when youre [emotion]?; scenarios that would lead to the particular emotion; and the other open-ended question: What might make you [emotion]?

            A parent or other adult who works with children could benefit from the book, as it seems to be giving insight into the way a child would conceptualize his/her own emotions. The book provides an empathetic look at the way children experience common emotions. Parents could read the book with their children at home. Teachers could possibly share the book with a small group of students while the rest of the class is having independent reading or working on another task. Guidance Counselors or other school-based support team members who have weekly meetings with troubled children up to age 10 or 11 could sit with 1-3 children, going over the concepts in the book as the children look at the pictures.

            While therapists may make references to the experiences discussed in the book, they may not find the actual use of the book in-session to be more helpful than other methods. Healthcare providers could benefit from skimming the book as a refresher to help them appropriately empathize with and respond to child client behaviors and answer questions parents may have about them. Nevertheless, all who interact with children could benefit from the books explanation and description of childrens experience of a range of common emotions.


Layton, Rebecca. (2012). Yell and Shout Cry and Pout: A Kids Guide to Feelings. Charleston, SC.
ISBN: 978-1-480-02786-2.

Paperback 40 pages. Includes index, references and other resources.

Key words: Emotions, children


Jamison, L. (2014). The Empathy Exams.

Reviewed by: Helen Hu, New York University

How should we care about one another? How can we feel another person’s pain?” These questions provide the backbone for essayist Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, a novel that aims to investigate the emotional connections people create and maintain with each other. Having worked as an actor hired to assume the roles of fictional patients, Jamison is no stranger to the realm of empathy. She opens The Empathy Exams with a reflection on her time as a medical actor, relating the characters’ struggles to her own. This ability to find commonalities and consequently connect things to each other is what Jamison excels in, and it becomes increasingly evident throughout the book.

            Though it is a collection of essays in the most literal sense, there are times in which The Empathy Exams appears to be a well-written work of fiction rather than an exploration of the author’s own experiences. Jamison’s prose is efficacious and profound; she is unafraid to be self-critical, unabashed to share her life story. With that being said, the book is not solely reliant on Jamison’s personal experiences. Snippets of literary passages or brief summaries of scientific discoveries interrupt the author’s moments of self-meditation, but they prove to be more beneficial than not. It is difficult to not be impressed by how easily Jamison draws parallels between these moments and certain points of her own life, finding comparisons in places only one with a legitimate desire for introspection can discover.

            The Empathy Exams is a work that is suited for both the greater majority of people who have interest in the psychological field as well as those who simply want a novel to peruse in their spare time. Therapists may find it useful in learning to relate to their patients in ways that they might not have thought of beforehand. In any case, there is undoubtedly much insight that can be taken away from just witnessing Jamison’s thought process gradually unfold. For many people, that is already enough. However, there remains the option to continue beyond this stage—to, in other words, gain a deeper understanding of oneself by using Jamison as an example. And though not many books can offer this to their readers, The Empathy Exams makes it clear that the journey to self-discovery may not be as difficult to begin as one may believe it to be.

Jamison, L. (2014). The Empathy Exams. Minneapolis, MN: Graywolf Press. 

ISBN: 978-1-55597-671-2.
Paperback: 226 pages.

Key words: author, essays, non-fiction, writing, pain


Marks-Tarlow, T. & McCrory (2013). Mirrors of the Mind 2: The Psychotherapist as Artist.

Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University


Mirrors of the Mind 2: The Psychotherapist as Artist is the second entry in a series covering a collection of artwork, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, and mixed media presentations taken from an art exhibition in Los Angeles that exclusively features psychotherapists and those working in psychological practice. While much of the book focuses on profiling psychotherapist artists and their artwork, there is early and pervasive emphasis on the art of psychotherapy and how it can intersect with other art forms. Some short articles frame for readers the importance of this early on, and make clear that art as a form of expression improves our connections with what we do, how we feel, and who we are professionally and beyond. The book offers us artwork brought about through the unique therapeutic lens, and in doing so not only shows us how the therapists experience directs their art, but also how they bring themselves greater clarity in their work with clients.

            What is perhaps most interesting about the book is its approach to the work of the different artists included in it. Because an open ended format is used in how they describe themselves, their work, and what this means for them as professionals, profiles can range from a few lines of text about what initially influenced them to start producing art to lengthy descriptions of specific topics or anecdotal experiences of importance that defined the careers, both professional and artistic, for these individuals. Sometimes, only the art itself is discussed, as it often speaks for itself in terms of subject and content. What drives this all home is the sheer amount of diversity amongst the featured works and offered perspectives, in spite of the overall content coming from similar places and experiences.

            Those with an interest in art, the creative process, and especially the integration of artistic perspectives with other aspects of personal or professional life will find this book has much to offer them, both in content and style of presentation. Although perhaps not as long or as extensive as other books presenting work by specific demographics, what is shown here is poignant and certainly captivating, if not entirely representative. As it is an ongoing exhibition project, more work will certainly come along to expand on what has already been on display and discussed here. For those readers who are interested in psychotherapeutic practice but not necessarily artistically inclined, there is still something to enjoy in the profiling of featured artists if seen as indicative of different approaches and perceptions of the work that they do.

            Terry Marks-Tarlow, PhD, is the curator of the exhibition where all of the included works were featured, editor of this collection, and works as a clinical psychologist and teacher in Santa Monica. She has authored several books concerning creativity and clinical intuition in psychotherapy, and is herself an artist featured here.


Marks-Tarlow, T. & McCrory (2013). Mirrors of the Mind 2: The Psychotherapist as Artist. Los Angeles, CA: The Los Angeles County Psychological Association. ISBN: 978-1-63318-229-5.

Paperback. 117 pages.

Key words: art, psychotherapy, therapist, artistic expression, art book


OHanlon, B. (2006). Solution-oriented spirituality.

Reviewed by: Anny Reyes, New York University            


The client-therapist relationship is one of the most important factors in a clients success. A therapist should create a safe environment, where the clients feelings, beliefs, and traditions are recognized and respected. The lack of such environment can impede the client from confiding in the therapist. Spirituality and religion in clinical practice and therapy has been a forbidden topic, with many therapists abstaining from exploring these concepts. This has created a gap between the therapist and the client. Surveys have suggested that many people in the general and clinical population find a connection between spirituality/religion and physical and mental health. With this said, it is important for therapists to assess and support their clients spiritual needs. Assessing the spiritual beliefs and needs of the client could potentially impact the course of therapy, the client-therapist relationship, and the success of the therapy sessions.

            OHanlons main goal is to provide a framework on how to bring spirituality into therapy without imposing. He first creates the distinction between religion and spirituality, which are often confused and the terms used interchangeably. Religion, which refers to specific beliefs and practices, can give rise to many problems when integrated into therapy. This can be avoided by following a more spiritual approach, which is more inclusive and avoids dogmatic difficulties.

OHanlon define spirituality in three components, which he calls the three Cs: connection, compassion, and contribution. He provides evidence-based research that supports the usefulness of each of the three components, as well as their implications in both the general and clinical population.

            The author includes guidelines on how to assess the clients spiritual needs, the role of spirituality in their lives, and how spirituality can be integrated into their therapy sessions. OHanlon provides a myriad of questions that could be used to reveal the clients spiritual needs and beliefs. He also provides anecdotes, case vignettes, and solution-oriented methods. OHanlon provides step-by-step guidelines to discerning, acknowledging, and supporting a clients spiritual needs and how to integrate this into therapy. This book illustrates a comprehensive method to utilizing the clients spiritual resources to help them alleviate their suffering.


OHanlon, B. (2006). Solution-oriented spirituality. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co.
ISBN: 978-0-393-71062-5

Paperback: 136 pages. Includes: Reading list, Bibliography, and Index. 

Keywords: spirituality, therapy


Rosenthal, M. (2015). Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity.

Reviewed by: Tricia Gunter, MA, NCC


Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity is designed to help in post-trauma identity development. Eclectic in its methods, it uses motivational interviewing and incorporates cognitive behavioral, existential, gestalt, narrative, psychodynamic, psycho-educational, transpersonal, and neuropsychological frameworks into its exercises, questions, and passages.

In wording that is easy to digest, this book offers assistance to helping professionals in communicating otherwise complicated concepts related to the psychodynamic processes of trauma and recovery in a manner that is informative and helpful to clients. This book would be especially useful to therapists whose clients are willing to work to overcome their PTSD, but prefer to be more self-directed. Therapists can extract individual exercises to assist in servicing their clients, or even create their own exercises from ideas/concepts found in the book.

            Rosenthal utilizes a person-centered approach that takes into account the stage at which the reader/user is in the healing process. She makes express provision for returning to specific exercises or concepts when one is ready, in case something does not feel right or comfortable at the time. She also provides a differentiated, tiered, or modified version of certain exercises as needed and appreciates the small and even tiny changes that help move recovery along and affirm successive approximation in the process of its readers.

            Your Life After Trauma reads like a self-help book as opposed to a purely informational text. This in and of itself may be empowering to a reader in the process of healing. The conversational nature of her writing, especially in the case of open-ended questions that she asks readers, is akin to having a therapy session in which the therapist is writing responses instead of speaking audibly. The fact that she leads with her personal story of life-threatening trauma and continually makes references to her own challenges, goals, and triumphs in her healing process, and exposes the universal identity crisis at the center of the PTSD experience and recovery process, helps to create a feeling of support and community to the perhaps isolated traumatized reader. Providing a sense or normalization, yet creating a clear picture that recovery is possible helps to give the reader a sense of safety in numbers and belief that they can not merely recover, but thrive.


Rosenthal, Michele (2015). Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co.
ISBN: 978-0-393-70900-1.
Hardcover: 283 pages. Includes index, references, and other resourcses.

Key words: PTSD, therapist, identity, nonfiction, self


Sieff, D. F. (2015). Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma.

Reviewed by: Anny Reyes, New York University            


Healing emotional trauma takes more than just learning the underlying causes of the present traumatic state. In order to transform the lives of those affected by trauma, one must understand all aspects of emotional trauma, including its psychological, neurobiological, and evolutionary underpinnings. Daniela F. Sieff creates a series of conversations with experts in the field of trauma, providing a range of ideas that elucidate the effects of trauma on the human experience. As you read the book you feel a connection not only with Sieff but with the experts she interviewed. Their approaches to describing the concepts of emotional trauma are insightful and compelling, reminding the readers that the human experience with trauma is a natural process that occurs in each and every one of us.

            The book is divided into three perspectives: psychodynamic, neurobiological, and evolutionary. Several chapters are dedicated to each perspective and each chapter corresponds to the work and views of the experts within each field. The book provides concise and straightforward explanations that are easy to follow but are also informative and practical. The answers given by the experts create conversations that readers may find insightful, personal, and substantial. Sieff emphasizes the importance of exploring the different facets of emotional trauma because its roots are not merely a nature or nurture phenomena but a complex combination of both. The book creates a common ground where science and research meets compassion and care. Whether you are an expert in the topic of trauma or a parent seeking information on parenting, this book provides essential information that will expand your scientific and emotional understanding on the subject.


Sieff, D.F. (2015). Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma. New York, NY: Routledge.
ISBN: 978-0-415-72084-7.

Paperback. 247 pages. Includes: Index.

Keywords: emotional trauma, psychotherapy, neurobiology of emotional trauma, evolutionary of emotional trauma.


Zaretsky, E. (2005). Secrets of the Soul: A Social and Cultural History of Psychoanalysis.

Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University


Without question, there are many books covering the history of psychology. One constant within these books is a lengthy section on Freud and his development of psychoanalysis. Secrets of the Soul follows a similar pattern already seen many times before in that it focuses heavily on Freud. What is a significant departure is its focus on the ways Freuds influence has resonated throughout past and contemporary developments in psychology. Instead of an isolated and stand alone analysis of the many developments that have occurred in the last hundred or so years in development of the science, the book looks at the social and cultural impact psychoanalysis had and has on our society. It offers us a cohesive look into the complex influences that led Freud, his contemporaries, and those who came after them to come to the conclusions they did and steer the psychological community to where it is today.

            Starting with the earliest developments in psychology, the book first details the cultural impact that the Victorian era family system had on interpersonal development and relationships. The complex psychological problems that arose spurred the earliest developments in psychology, and from this a redefining of society and the view of the self drastically changed. From this period of reconnection sprung forth the era of modernity, with influences like Fordism, capitalist development, the Bolshevik Revolution, and the Great War steering how psychology was thus received on a public and international scale. The rise of fascism that resulted in the death of classical European psychoanalysis is also covered extensively, and the book ends with a look, though brief, at the current state of Freudian psychoanalysis.

            What is most compelling about this book is its degree of detail in analyzing the influence that changes in society had on the birth of psychoanalysis. There is also great emphasis on the ways psychoanalysis changed the world, how it altered the way people thought about themselves. On some level, there is the implication that without Freud and the development of psychoanalysis, many defining moments of social change in recent history would not have happened. If for no other reason, Secrets of the Soul is a great book to read for people interested in or currently working in psychology to get a sense of why and how the field has evolved to be what it is today.

            Eli Zaretsky, PhD, is currently a professor of history at the New School for Social Research, part of New School University, in New York City. He has written articles for numerous scholarly journals on topics like psychoanalysis, family, and modern cultural history, and has written and published a widely circulated book, Capitalism, the Family, and Personal Life.


Zaretsky, E. (2005). Secrets of the Soul: A Social and Cultural History of PsychoanalysisNew York, NY: Vintage Books.
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7923-0.

Paperback: 429 pages. Includes annotations and index.

Key words: history, psychoanalysis, Freud, Freudian, psychotherapy, culture, society, psychology


Zimmermann, S. (2014). Fifty Shrinks.

Reviewed by: Anny Reyes, New York University            


Enter a medical office and you might not find much difference from the previous or the next. Most medical offices are devoid of personal style, with just the practical medical equipment necessary for examination, an exam table, a sink, a medical cabinet among other things. On the other hand we have the therapists offices, which illuminate the therapists personality through the colors of the wall, the art in the room, the carpet on the floor. In a series of astonishing photographs, Zimmermann showcases the diversity found among the offices of 50 therapists with a wide range of educational backgrounds, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. In addition to the photographs, Zimmermann includes his absorbing conversations with each psychotherapist. Some of these conversations are either personal anecdotes or interactions with clients. Others are excerpts of the therapists published work or personal essays. The combination of these conversations and the vividness of the photographs provide the possibility of mentally transporting yourself into the vicinity of the office.

            The romanticized image of a shrinks office often captured in movies and TV shows as a plain room with a reclining couch, the therapists chair, a notepad, and a box of tissue are redefined by this series of photographs. These heterogeneous photographs are a reflection of the eccentricity found in the field of psychology, further expanding on the various theories, subspecialties, and therapeutic approaches found within the field. Each photograph captures the therapists perspective on how the outer surroundings affect the mood in the room, the client-therapist interaction, and the course of the therapeutic session. Some therapists occupy their office with objects that reflect their therapeutic philosophies, their cultural background, and personal identity. Others choose to keep their office space an empty canvas such Dr. Michael Eigen, who considers his office a work in progress where patients are encouraged to fill in the emptiness of the room with their  unexpressed feelings and unresolved issues. The portraits of Dr. Albert Ellis, Dr. Martin Bergmann, Dr. Michael Eigen among others will show you that a therapists office is not merely an office but a place of sanctuary, protection, and healing. If A picture is worth a thousand wordsFifty Shrinks offers fifty thousand words.


Zimmermann, S. (2014). Fifty Shrinks. 
ISBN: 978-0-615-83552-5.

Hardcover. 199 pages.