Monday, September 29, 2014

#CBR6 #23-25: Systems Therapy, Genograms, and Helping Skills

More textbooks! I swear this isn’t all I read, but when you have to read so much for school, the last thing you want to do when you have free time is crack open another book (so shameful, really, but I just got a few new comic books I should be able to work my way through soon!). And so, here are a few more of my required readings for my current educational program in art therapy.

This joint review is for the following:
- Essential Skills in Family Therapy: From the First Interview to Termination (2nd edition) by Patterson, Williams, Edwards, and Chamow
- Genograms: Assessment and Intervention (3rd edition) by McGoldrick, Gerson, and Petry
- Helping Skills: Facilitating Exploration, Insight, and Action (4th edition) by Clara E. Hill

First things first, “Essential Skills in Family Therapy” focuses on the basics of working with families and other systems in therapy. What I liked most about it was the fact that they did not assume the reader would be well-versed in any particular therapeutic language and addressed the reader as a “beginning therapist,” as this is basically an introductory book to working with family systems. It also made sure to note many common fears and issues that beginning therapists have, with tips on how to deal with these as they arise, as a way of putting the reader’s mind at ease, which I definitely appreciated as right now I am not the most confident person when it comes to therapeutic skill.

“Genograms: Assessment and Intervention” is a basic starter book on how to both build and explore genograms in a therapeutic setting. There are some interesting genograms included as examples of different famous or historical families, which shed some interesting light on various families that I never knew before (though it is pointed out that the information included is what has been shared in public record and may not be 100% factual, though it is often believed to be). And although the book goes deep into how to interpret genograms and work with them, I found it beneficial in a simple sense of coming to be familiar with what genograms are, how to start creating basic ones, and how they can be useful in therapy and exploration of the self through looking at patterns and history and relations to others in one’s life.

Finally, “Helping Skills” is another introductory book on the helping and therapeutic professions. I have a bit of knowledge in these areas, and the book is thick and I felt like it was dragging in parts that I was already familiar with (though that is no one’s fault but my own). Like the Family Therapy book discussed above, it also lays down some guidelines and examples of working in therapy, along with skills that one should know and typical issues that a beginning or inexperienced therapist might run into, along with tips on how to potentially avoid these issues and how to deal with them when they occur.

All three of the books have been helpful in one way or another, but at the end of the day they are textbooks, and I’m not sure who would want to read them unless someone was just generally curious as to the basics of working with genograms, family, and individual therapy.

[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site!]