Book Reviews

The Therapist’s Ultimate Solution Book

Essential Strategies, Tips & Tools to Empower Your Clients

by Judith A. Belmont
W.W. Norton & Co.

If you like detail you’ll love this book. Although much of it is intended for therapists who work with groups, there is a ton of advice and suggestions for the individual therapist.

Each section follows a pattern that thoroughly examines the topic. For example, let’s look at The Anger Solution, (subtitled, like each chapter with a witty subtitle) Giving Up the Grudge:

After an introductory page or two about the damaging effects that repressed anger -- or anger directed at the wrong target -- causes within the angry person, Ms Belmont plunges into Treatment Tips.

These begin with CBT approaches. In essence CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) corrects cognitive distortions such as “Labeling”, “The Shoulds”, “Blaming”, and “Mind Reading”.

Then the author recommends that your client keep an Anger Log and a Diary. Although Ms Belmont never mentions hypnosis [what is this prejudice most therapy writers have against hypnotic practice – is it too powerful in its simplicity?] she does include several imaginative visualizations to help the client control his anger.

Of course, no current book for therapists would be complete without a mention of mindfulness. Ms Belmont does not disappoint and here introduces DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), apparently an improvement on plain CBT.

Anecdotes, worksheets and handouts continue the practical focus of the author’s obviously experienced work. (She has authored several books on therapeutic subjects).

As with each of the other chapters, The Anger Solution concludes with Recommended Resources, Self-Help Books, Clinician Books and online links.

The author adores metaphors. Much of the book is devoted to how you would use metaphors with clients for the particular issue under discussion.

However, I was disturbed by her metaphor/analogy about the effects of childhood sexual abuse and being a non-English-speaking immigrant to the United States. The shame induced by being a victim of childhood abuse is not, Ms Belmont, equatable to the shame of not speaking American.

As an immigrant myself, (albeit to Canada, not the U.S.) I was disturbed by her comment to the contrary: “When a client needs encouragement and reassurance to change ingrained shame-based thinking, I use the analogy of how people who have relocated to the United States from other countries often retain their accents – despite living in the U.S. for decades – and keep their first language as their ‘default.’ . . . . It is liberating for clients to learn that they no longer have to be defined by that erroneous language.”

[Incidentally, one of the most–liked features of my local radio show was my British accent.]

In total, The Therapist’s Ultimate Solution Book is exactly that: 366 pages of exhaustively detailed guidance for therapists looking for “essential strategies, tips & tools to empower your clients.” Thus this book is a useful reference for the experienced therapist and an ideal resource for the novice.