Psychotherapy: All the Dirty Little Secrets Your Therapist Doesn’t Want You To Know! (Book Review)

James A. Stump has written a short, shiny e-book which is not only a delight to read but also offers a succinct introduction to the world of counseling and psychotherapy.

The dedication reads:

This little booklet is dedicated to all clients who want to improve their lives through their examination of faulty beliefs and behaviours

and Stump delivers, outlining the reasons people seek therapy, phases of the therapy process, when an individual might consider counselling, modes of therapy, finding and choosing a therapist, privacy and financial concerns, and more. Although written for a North American audience, I believe most of the content would translate well across borders – the chief exception being information particular to the USA’s health system, though even that I personally found helpful, as I mentally translated it into an Australian context. 

Stump’s writing can be delightfully direct: “So get it into your head: Nobody else is gonna fix your life for you. You are going to have to learn how to be different. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.” I might have found this confronting, if he hadn’t established his credentials as someone who obviously – and thoroughly! – knows his subject matter. As it was, I really enjoyed this down-to-earth approach.

I’ve been in therapy for, wow, eight years this year – though due to one therapist retiring and an interstate move, I’m into my third therapeutic relationship. This gives me something of a knowledge base from which to assess Stump’s work, albeit from a consumer’s perspective. In my opinion, there wasn’t a false note in the book. I’d highly recommend it as a resource for someone who’s considering counselling or psychotherapy, either for one particular issue or, as he puts it, “if you’re wondering ‘Why am I such a mess and why is my entire life all screwed up?'”

If I had one minor bone to pick, I’d say that to me, counselling and psychotherapy are two closely related but slightly different processes; but, hey, I’m neither a counselor nor a therapist, so what would I know?!

This e-book is also very affordable. My recommendation? If you’re considering therapy, or you love someone who is, grab this little treasure with both hands. It’s a quick read – I got through it in about an hour – but well worth the time spent.

My rating? 5/5. Do you have a favourite book on therapy or counseling? I’d love to hear about them! Feel free to comment in the space below.


Filed under Book Reviews

7 responses to “Psychotherapy: All the Dirty Little Secrets Your Therapist Doesn’t Want You To Know! (Book Review)

  1. rod

    Interesting review. I haven’t read books on therapy in practice,only titles on theory. Of these I was most impressed with TA, which dealt, among other things, with the attraction of self-damaging behaviours.

    You raise in passing a really important subject -continuity on the part of the therapist.

    (I am fighting a mobile device to write this since my PC browser wouldn’t let me post my first, more articulate response to your site which, it warned me, was’untrusted’).


    • TA = transactional analysis, I presume? Please let me know if I’m wrong!

      I’m fascinated by therapy – every aspect of it. The therapeutic relationship is just so unique, at least, among those of us who aren’t absolute narcissists!

      (And I do hasten to assure you that, to the best of my knowledge, my site is trustworthy – though perhaps your PC is picking up on the fact that there are some links to Amazon on the Recommended Reading page, though this fact is noted at the bottom of that page.)


      • rod

        Yes, I was referring to Transactional Analysis. I had two books on the subject. Now I have none – can’t remember who I leant them to.

        About the PC warning. It referred to a certificate and provided a link. I’m clueless about these things. I don’t doubt you for a moment.


      • Good to know about the certificate – I’ll see whether anyone else makes a comment. I think such things are usually provided by anti-malware… but I don’t know! Anyway, I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.

        I can remember reading about transactional analysis some time ago. Yippee! Something to look forward to revisiting, when time allows.


  2. Thanks for the recommendation. Sounds like a good book. I will check it out!


  3. First of all I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to
    ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you
    center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting
    my thoughts out there. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips?


    • Thank you for the compliment 🙂 Generally, I’ve trained myself to be able to immerse myself in the task at hand, whatever it is, so clearing my head before writing generally isn’t an issue. I’m not sure how I developed that habit: I did a lot of meditation in my teen years and early twenties, and still practice mindfulness, so perhaps that’s part of it. Or perhaps I just have so much going on that unless I focus on just one thing, nothing gets done! 🙂

      Happy writing!
      XX DB


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