Permut’s guide outlines how psychotherapy functions and heals.
With clarity and professionalism, Permut, a clinical psychologist who’s practiced psychotherapy for over 30 years, reveals a full picture of his field by describing his experiences as both therapist and patient. The author stresses the importance of active listening in successful psychotherapy. The emotionally engaged therapist closely observes and feels the patient’s story in order to “understand a patient’s personality dynamics and motivations” and to delicately guide the person in “the difficult task of challenging old assumptions and confronting deep seated fears.” Permut notes that “treatment is not teaching or explaining; it is more like exploration and reconstruction.” The author expertly addresses the differences between psychotherapists and psychiatrists and stresses that in psychotherapy, the focus isn’t on diagnosis and medication but on “knowing who is this person, and what is the meaning of her or his suffering.” Developing a trusting, professional relationship is paramount to facilitating the dialogue. Effective therapists require more than professional knowledge and clinical training; they also need “substantial therapy themselves” to build the extensive self-knowledge necessary for competently understanding and counseling others. The many clinical examples show the successes and failures of talk therapy. Presenting therapy in these terms might ease readers’ fears about revealing their own hidden thoughts and anxieties. Though Permut avers this book is “no substitute for the psychotherapy experience,” the reader might gain personal insight and understanding in addition to knowledge about the practice and importance of psychotherapy.
Skillfully maps the process of psychotherapy.