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Myths, Misconceptions, and Invalid Assumptions of Counseling and Psychotherapy

Jeffrey Kottler and Richard S. Balkin

Publication Date - 13 March 2020

ISBN: 9780190090692

288 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Department of Leadership and Counselor Education at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Balkin is a Fellow of the American Counseling Association, a past editor for the Journal of Counseling and Development, the flagship journal for the American Counseling Association, and past president for the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling. Dr. Balkin began practice as a professional counselor in 1993 and has worked in academe since 2003.


There are certain assumptions about the practice of counseling that are accepted as "truths," beliefs that are so pervasive that they remain unchallenged by almost all practitioners of all persuasions and approaches. In this book noted authors Jeffrey Kottler and Rick Balkin cover a wide range of myths, misconceptions, and assumptions that have remained unchallenged or that have little research to support their efficacy. Topics covered include the sacrosanct "50 minute hour," how basic research is conducted and whether the results inform actual practice, why progress made in therapy often doesn't last, what social justice actually means, and what makes someone an effective therapist.

Each chapter describes an issue, explores the way it operates in daily practice, and then presents empirical evidence to question or challenge its current use. In cases where there is little or no definitive research to support or refute the procedure, belief, or practice the authors present some critical questions that will at the very least encourage counselors to reflect on what they do and why.


  • Written by two highly respected authors with a combination of deep clinical and research expertise, the book questions many of the assumed "truths" that counselors and therapists take for granted.
  • The book trains a critical eye on the field of counseling and the basic tenets of the practice of psychotherapy.
  • Chapters pose unexamined questions such as "what's so special about the 50-minute hour" or "why don't the effects of therapy last" and then guide the reader through what is known, what is assumed, and how to think critically about the issue at hand.

About the Author(s)

Jeffrey A. Kottler, PhD, is Clinical Professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine and Professor Emeritus, Department of Counseling, California State University, Fullerton.Richard Balkin, PhD, Professor, Department of Leadership and Counselor Education, University of Mississippi and Editor, Journal of Counseling and Development.


"Kottler (Baylor College of Medicine) and Balkin (Univ. of Mississippi) provide a comprehensive summary of what therapists think they know about psychotherapy, alongside (or in contrast to) what is actually true about it." -- D. C. Marston, Marston Psychological Services, LLC, CHOICE

Table of Contents

    1. What We Know, What We Think We Know, and What We Really Don't Know Much at All
    2. How Myths and Misconceptions Have Shaped Our World
    3. How and Why Myths and Misconceptions Endure
    4. Some Tenuous Assumptions and Conceptions
    5. If Research is So Important, Why Do We Often Ignore the Results?
    6. When Therapy Tails
    7. How We Really Learn to Do Therapy
    8. Intake Interviews, the "Real" Problem, and How to Fix It
    9. What's So Special About the 50 Minute Hour?
    10. Who Are the Most Exceptional Clinicians?
    11. Why the Effects of Therapy Don't Often Last
    12. Scolding Therapists About Social Justice and Advocacy
    13. Mythology and Ethics
    14. Balancing Hope and Despair, and the Real Reasons for Burnout
    15. Last Chapter but Not the End

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