1st Edition

Getting Started as a Therapist 50+ Tips for Clinical Effectiveness

By Anthony D. Smith Copyright 2025
    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    Getting Started as a Therapist provides students and new therapists a bridge between education and practice. Written for a transtheoretical audience, the book explores questions and struggles common to students and new therapist supervisees. Readers can find pointed guidance in 52 chapters, spanning five categories. Categories include:

    • Establishing better therapeutic relationships
    • Increasing diagnostic accuracy, understanding why diagnosis is not a dirty word, and how it is critical to good outcomes
    • What to avoid saying to patients
    • Specialized topics like how to more effectively talk about self-injury and learning to use metaphors
    • Professional development such as making the most of supervision and how to limit liability

    The succinct chapters come alive with real-life examples and are often followed by suggestions for further reading and worksheets that help readers to refine their practice.

    Section 1: Setting the Stage  1. It’s Not Like on TV  2. Be Yourself  3. Therapy Isn’t a Race  4. Don’t Forget the Basics  5. Forget About Being So Formal  6. Mastering Your Therapeutic Presence  7. Body Language Basics  8. How to Polish Your Summarizing  9. Find Value in Silence  10. Strive to Cultivate Substance in Each Session  11. Ask About Meaning  12. Be Attentive to Your Intuition  13. Don't Rely on Psychological Archaeology  Section 2: Things Therapists Shouldn't Say  14. The Big 3  15. Beware of the Suck-It-Up Trap  16. What Not to Say to Anxious Patients  17. What Not to Say to Depressed Patients  18. What Not to Say to People Who Hear Voices  Section 3: Demystifying Diagnosis  19. Ignore Popular Culture Portrayals of Mental Illness  20. In Defense of Diagnosis (Part 1)  21. In Defense of Diagnosis (Part 2)  22. Post-Diagnosis Considerations  23. Never Diagnose Based on One Chief Symptom  24. Re-Evaluate Historical Diagnoses  25. 5 Quick Tips for More Thorough Assessments  26. Always Consider Medical Mimicry  27. How to Evaluate for Medical Mimicry  28. How to Discuss Diagnoses with Patients  Section 4: Special Topics  29. Interview, Don't Interrogate  30. Try Not to be Alarmist  31. Be Familiar with the Defenses  32. Approach Trauma Lightly  33. Learn About Self-Injury  34. Exploring Therapist Self-Disclosure  35. There's No Need to Rescue  36. Why Therapists Must be Salespeople  37. Learn to Reframe  38. Getting Friendly with Metaphors  39. What if Someone Implies, "You'd Never Understand"?  40. Pay Attention to the Role of Culture  41. Talk About Medications  42. Personality Disorders are Important  43. Ask for Feedback  Section 5: Professional Development  44. Consider an Integrative Approach  45. Limiting Liability  46. Clinical Supervision if Vital for Therapist Growth  47. Take Continuing Education Seriously  48. Have Clinical Heroes  49. Improve Your Clinical Skills After Hours  50. Do Therapists Need Therapy?  51. Protecting Your Own Mental Health  52. You Can't Save Them All 


    Anthony D. Smith is a licensed mental health counselor, certified juvenile court clinician, professor, clinical supervisor, and trainer with more than twenty years of experience. He maintains “Up & Running,” a popular Psychology Today blog for new therapists.

    "This is a very user-friendly book that’s sure to become a guiding light for students and new therapists who want to stand out from the start! Highly recommended."
    Bill O’Hanlon, Oprah-featured author of 41+ books, including in Search of Solutions and Do One Thing Different

    "In a wise and thoughtful manner, Anthony Smith has crafted a remarkable book of effective strategies for conducting psychotherapy and growing professionally. Beginners and seasoned professionals alike will benefit from his perspective on best therapeutic practices."
    Richard P. Halgin, PhD, ABPP, professor emeritus of psychology, UMass Amherst, and textbook author

    "This book is so comprehensive and well-written. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to seasoned mental health practitioners and graduate-level instructors for their use with students who have an eye on clinical practice."
    Joseph W. Shannon, PhD, teacher, consultant, and psychotherapist in private practice in Columbus, Ohio

    "In the style of a metaphor-making storyteller with the clear-thinking, staccato delivery of someone with decades of experience, Anthony Smith has crafted a delightfully provoking and informative resource for new therapists and supervisors alike."
    Emma E. Redfern, MA, psychotherapist, supervisor, author, workshop presenter, and podcast co-host