A New Book in the Mail

Even though it’s only a textbook, it’s still pretty darn exciting when a new book arrives in the mail with our names on it. It will never be a NYT best-seller, but it’s far and away the funniest book there is out there on Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories. . . which is sort of a funny claim to be making anyway.

And so a small glimpse of this pure excitement, here’s a sneak peek at the . . . yessss . . . the Preface!


(from Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice, 2nd edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2012)

One morning, long ago, John woke up in the midst of a dream about having written a theories book. Over breakfast, John shared his dream with Rita. Rita said, “John go sit down, relax, and I’ll sit behind you as you free associate to the dream” (see Chapter 2, Psychoanalytic Approaches).

As John was free-associating, Rita tried to gently share her perspective using a two-person, relational psychotherapy model. She noted that it had been her lived experience that, in fact, they had already written a theories text together and that he must have been dreaming of a second edition. John jumped out of his seat and shouted, “You’re right! I am dreaming about a second edition.”

This profound insight led to further therapeutic exploration. Rita had John look at the purpose of his dream (see Chapter 3, Individual Psychology); then he acted out the dream, playing the role of each object and character (see Chapter 6; Gestalt Therapy). When he acted out the role of Rita, he became exceedingly enthusiastic about the second edition. She, of course, accused him of projection while he suggested that perhaps he had absorbed her thoughts in a psychic process related to Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious. Rita noted that was a possibility, but then suggested we leave Jung and the collective unconscious online where it belongs (see the Jungian chapter in the big contemporary collective unconscious of the Internet).

For the next week, Rita listened to and resonated with John as he talked about the second edition. She provided an environment characterized by congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathic understanding (see Chapter 5, Person-Centered Theory and Therapy). John flourished in that environment, but sneakily decided to play a little behavioral trick on Rita. Every time she mentioned the word theories he would say “Yesss!,” pat her affectionately on the shoulder and offer her a piece of dark chocolate (see Chapter 7, Behavioral Theory and Therapy). Later he took a big risk and allowed a little cognition into the scenario, asking her: “Hey, what are you thinking?” (see Chapter 8, Cognitive-Behavioral Theory and Therapy).

Rita was still thinking it was too much work and not enough play. John responded by offering to update his feminist views and involvement if she would only reconsider (see Chapter 10, Feminist Theory and Therapy); he also emphasized to Rita that writing a second edition would help them discover more meaning in life and perhaps they would experience the splendor of awe (see Chapter 4, Existential Theory and Therapy). Rita still seemed ambivalent and so John asked himself the four questions of choice theory (see Chapter 9, Choice Theory and Reality Therapy):

  1. What do you want?
  2. What are you doing?
  3. Is it working?
  4. Should you make a new plan?

It was time for a new plan, which led John to develop a new narrative (see Chapter 11, Constructive Theory and Therapy). He had a sparkling moment where he brought in and articulated many different minority voices whose discourse had been neglected (see Chapter 13, Developing Your Multicultural Orientation and Skills). He also got his daughters to support him and conducted a short family intervention (see Chapter 12, Family Systems Theory and Therapy).

Something in the mix seemed to work: Rita came to him and said, “I’ve got the solution, we need to do something different while we’re doing something the same and approach this whole thing with a new attitude of mindful acceptance” (see Chapter 11, Constructive Theory and Therapy and Chapter 14, Integrative and Evidence-Based New Generation Therapies). To this John responded with his own version of radical acceptance saying: “That’s a perfect idea and you know, I think it will get even better over a nice dinner.” It was at that nice dinner that they began articulating their main goals for the second edition of Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice.


4 thoughts on “A New Book in the Mail”

  1. Marvelous!!!!!!! Congratulations John and Rita————I really, really, want to be like the two of you when I grow up!! You are my Heroes!!

  2. Congratulations! The book is fabulous and I’m thrilled that I could be just a small part of its development. Maybe the marketing should include the catch phrase “the funniest book out there on Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories.”

    1. Thanks Rachel. You are a huge contributor to making this text a reality. It was great to talk with you today. It’s a bit of a stretch to use the word “funny” in describing the text, but every once in a while I think we slipped something in that has a chance of making someone smile at about the level of the Mona Lisa. Have a marvelous weekend. John

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