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Book Review: Someone To Talk To by Joyce Houser M.A., MFT

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Someone To Talk To; Understanding How Therapy Heals (Motivational Press, Inc.) is a book written for anyone who is considering therapy or wanting to understand how therapy works. In the author’s own words; this book is for “anyone who has the courage to hope, and the willingness to work toward emotional healing.”

Joyce Houser, M.A., MFT, explains psychotherapy in a style that is easily understood. For over 20 years, Houser has been working as a psychotherapist in Santa Monica, California, helping couples and individuals recover from addictions, work through relationship problems or live a more fulfilling life by teaching them to understand childhood traumas and let go of the past.

It is an interesting read that uses Houser’s clinical experience to help the reader understand her points. She shares the stories of past clients (the names have been changed) to illustrate some of the commonalities, the fears and the courage it takes to begin the process of self-healing. She explains to the reader that “Life changes us whether we welcome it or fight it.” And “the person, who attempts to avoid responsibility for change, by making no decisions, is indirectly deciding to stay the same.” By avoiding change, a person will remain “stuck” and this will inevitably interfere with personal growth and happiness. Houser defines psychotherapy as “a way to facilitate change” but admits the decision to begin requires courage; “to take action in spite of being afraid” or being vulnerable to facilitate the healing process.

In her book, Houser explains psychotherapy in ten quick chapters. She takes us step by step through the process, but her writing isn’t clinical or text book boring. In explaining the mystery of the unconscious and the human spirit, she writes like a poet: “Like blades of grass pushing their way through cracks in concrete, nature prevails even under the least hospitable conditions. What appears on the surface to be an isolated weed of a problem is not isolated at all. Instead, it’s a messenger from underground, communicating the existence of a subterranean world.”

She writes from personal experience, from the experiences of others, and from her innate ability to understand pain’s purpose. She emphasizes important points by sharing quotes taken from Alice Miller, Scott Peck and others and helps the reader see that “the therapist’s role is to help us in the decoding process.”

Anyone who is considering therapy or has just begun therapy will find encouragement by reading the pages of Someone To Talk To, and I highly recommend it. It is a fascinating look at the healing process and what it takes to stop destructive patterns and reach our hidden potential or “reach the point where you can experience life on its terms – whatever life gives each day, and working with it.”

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About Luanne Stevenson

Published Ghost Writer; Freelance Writer