The Good Enough Therapist
Futility, Failure, and Forgiveness in Treatment
The Good Enough Therapist is a guidebook—not an instruction manual—written for beginning, intermediate, and experienced clinicians. It encourages readers to explore, accept, and embrace their flaws and failings in a way that promotes effective treatment as well as personal growth. It focuses both on craft and process—craft related to the tools, the strategies, and the tactics of treatment, and process related to the session-by-session struggle to implement these tools in ways that speak to and illuminate the experience of living and struggling as a human being. It does not endeavor to transmit a method, but a sensibility, a way of being with patients that results in a deeper recognition of the therapist’s, and the patient’s, vulnerability, resilience, imagination, and integrity.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Socioeco-location Chapter 1 The Vandal Interlude 1 What is the Point of Writing This Book? Chapter 2 On Writing about the Clinical Without Being Too Clinical Chapter 3 Good Enough or Good-for-Nothing? Reflection Point 1 Good Enough and Not Good Enough Chapter 4 A Place to Start: On the Importance of Treatment Failure when Treating Failure-to-Launch Chapter 5 Two Powerful Lessons in Powerlessness Chapter 6 Three Births… Chapter 7 …And a Fourth, the Birth of Forgiveness Reflection Point 2 "Why is S/he Here and What Does S/he Want?" Chapter 8 The Joy of Thwarting…and of Being Thwarted Interlude 2 Pull Up a Chair Chapter 9 Reduced Sentences Interlude 3 In the Company of Shadows: Visions of Grief Chapter 10 Cash in the Cup Interlude 4 The Adolescent (and Adult) Saboteur Chapter 11 Here and Not Here, There and Not There Interlude 5 Hard Winter Reflection Point 3 Blame, Responsibility and Credit Chapter 12 Tough Love…and Why It’s So Tough Reflection Point 4 Ascending the Ladder of Therapy Chapter 13 The Ambivalent Tango of Hope Chapter 14 Narcissism and Its (Occasional) Nobility Interlude 6 Unsolvable Love Chapter 15 Nowhere but the Dark Interlude 7 Wandering Down Dream Avenue Chapter 16 Punishing the Punitive Therapiste Interlude 8 "Tell Me a Story" Chapter 17 On Hating a Patient Chapter 18 What Do We Want When We Want Out? Reflection Point 5 Creativity as an Antidote to Failure Chapter 19 Defeated by Success Chapter 20 The Diagnostic Dragnet Reflection Point 6 Learning from the Patient Chapter 21 We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident…Without Any Real Evidence Interlude 9 Plumbing the Depths of Power Chapter 22 "I Am Beside Myself" Reflecvtion Point 7 Kryptonite Time Chapter 23 What We Give Our Patients When We Give Up…and When We Don’t Reflection Point 8 Nostalgia and Empathy Chapter 24 "Why am I Doing This?" Chapter 25 The Good Enough Supervisor Interlude 10 "How Is It That I Am Not Myself?" Chapter 26 Giving What You Never Got Reflection Point 9 How Telling Chapter 27 Loops Reflection Point 10 Take a Walk Conclusion "Going Grandfather": The Good Enough Therapist in Twilight Epilogue In Praise of Defeat
Brad E. Sachs, Ph.D., is a psychologist specializing in the treatment of children and adults, couples and families, and the best-selling author of numerous books on child and family development for both general and clinical readership, including Family-Centered Treatment with Struggling Young Adults, The Good Enough Child, and The Good Enough Teen. A published poet, composer, and musician, he maintains a private practice in Columbia, Maryland, where he and his and wife, psychiatrist Dr. Karen Meckler, raised their three adult children and currently enjoy visits with their grandchildren.