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Review of "How to Go to Therapy"

By Carl Sherman
Random House, 2001
Review by Margo McPhillips on May 24th 2002
How to Go to Therapy

This is the best book about therapy I've read in quite awhile.  Written by a journalist rather than a mental health professional, it is very informative without either insulting the reader's intelligence or getting tangled in professional issues.

I was initially drawn by the title.  With so many years of therapy under my belt I was curious how else one could "go" to therapy besides just getting up and going.  Because of so many years of therapy, I had forgotten the initial concerns and sometimes difficulties with finding a therapist and then figuring out what therapy is all about.

This book does a wonderful job explaining the major types of therapy out there today (including online therapy), the theory behind them and how they are supposed to work.  These middle chapters about types of therapy were the most interesting to me:


Chapter 5: What Lies Beneath: Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic Therapy

Chapter 6: Doing and Thinking: Cognitive and Behavior Therapies

Chapter 7: Strength in Numbers: Group Therapy

Chapter 8: Close to Home: Family Therapy

Chapter 9: Being There: Humanistic Therapy

Chapter 10: Mind Meets Brain: Pharmacotherapy

Chapter 11: What Else? Other Therapies


It is easy to skip chapters that aren't of interest to the reader and each chapter about a particular type of therapy includes Web URL addresses at the end of the chapter to find out more information from a professional organization related to that type of therapy.  I would think this would be an excellent book for psychology or therapy students.

The initial chapters are about how to go about finding a therapist and what to expect from the first few sessions of therapy.  The hodge-podge of titles and initials behind therapists names are decoded and there's a good chapter on "Science and Psychotherapy" which discusses research about therapy without getting bogged down in arguments about the research.  Following the chapters about types of therapy the books goes on to discuss money and insurance companies, the course therapy takes, and termination of therapy. 

At only 150 pages, it is a quick, enjoyable read suitable for anyone interested in learning more about therapy. Even with many years of individual and group therapy and psychology courses in college, I feel I finished reading it with a better overall understanding of therapy.


© 2002 Margo McPhillips

Margo McPhillips is a 1972 graduate of the University of Maryland with a Bachelors degree in Sociology. She is currently interested in the use of books on the Web, bibliotherapy, genealogy as an online family/generational activity, and and is enrolled in the UserActive program to earn a Certificate of Professional Development in Web Programming from the University of Illinois to help her with her seven Web sites. Visit her new UserActive site under development at http://mcphillips.ecorp.net/.