On Becoming a Better Therapist

Pages: 211
Item #: 4317217
ISBN: 978-1-4338-0757-2
List Price: $49.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $39.95
Copyright: 2010
Format: Hardcover
Note: This book is out of print and no longer available for purchase.

This edition is no longer for sale. However, the second edition is available.

Most of us became therapists because we wanted to be helpful to other human beings, and most of us carry an inextinguishable passion to become better at it. But how do we get better? The truth is that although we are painfully aware that some clients clearly don't benefit while others inexplicably end therapy, we don't know how effective we really are or what we can do to improve our outcomes.

Despite our hard work and good intentions, unfruitful encounters with clients combined with the confusing cacophony of "latest" developments can weigh on us, steer us into ruts, and make us forget why we became therapists to begin with. How can we remember our original aspirations, continue to develop as therapists, and achieve better results, more often, with a wider variety of clients? In short: how can you become a better therapist?

On Becoming a Better Therapist answers these questions and more. Barry Duncan pragmatically applies the common factors of change as well as the powerful benefits of client feedback described in the The Heart and Soul of Change to demonstrate how to be even better at what you do best and, at the same time, expand your effectiveness with clients who may not respond to your usual efforts.

In the first book to detail the clinical nuances of using feedback to improve outcomes, Duncan presents a simple, five-step method of integrating outcome management with therapists' long-term professional development. With lively case examples, unfailing good humor, and a deep affection for therapy and therapists, Duncan's book is essential reading for anyone who seeks to rediscover purpose in their work and become a better therapist.

Feedback pioneer Michael Lambert says, "The possibility and novelty of Duncan's ideas makes this an important and provocative contribution to the field."

Table of Contents

—Michael J. Lambert


  1. So You Want to Be a Better Therapist
  2. Just the Facts, Ma'am: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming a Better Therapist
  3. How Being Bad Can Make You Better: Helping Every Single Client
  4. Getting in the Zone: Accelerating Your Development
  5. The Heart and Soul of Change: The Biggest Bang for Your Buck
  6. Wizards, Humbugs, or Witches: Identity, Uncertainty, and Discovery
  7. For the Love of the Work: Treasure Chests and Parting Thoughts



About the Author

Author Bio

Barry L. Duncan, PsyD, is a therapist, trainer, and researcher with more than 17,000 hours of clinical experience. He is director of the Heart and Soul of Change Project, a practice-driven training and research initiative that focuses on what works in therapy and, more importantly, how to deliver it on the front lines via client-based outcome feedback.

Dr. Duncan has over 100 publications as well as 15 books to his credit, including The Heroic Client, Brief Intervention for School Problems, and the second edition of The Heart and Soul of Change.

He is the codeveloper of the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS), Session Rating Scale (SRS), Child ORS, and Child SRS, which are measures designed to give clients the voice they deserve, as well as to provide clients, clinicians, administrators, and payers with feedback about the client's response to services, thus enabling more effective care tailored to client preferences.

Because of his self-help books, he has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and several other national TV programs. His latest self-help book, What's Right With You, demonstrates how to rally natural resources and resiliencies to overcome life challenges.

Dr. Duncan conducts seminars internationally in hopes of inciting insurrection against practices that diminish clients and encouraging therapists to establish their own identity.

He can be reached by e-mail and at his web sites, Dr. Barry Duncan What's Right With You and the Heart and Soul of Change Project.

Reviews & Awards

Overall, On Becoming a Better Therapist, written by one of the most perceptive clinicians of our day, is an excellent read and a helpful guide to becoming a more effective therapist. For those would like more information about Duncan and his work, the following sources are recommended: Duncan and Miller (2006); Duncan, Miller, and Sparks (2004); and Duncan, Miller, Wampold, and Hubble (2010). The Website for the "Heart and Soul of Change Project" is http://www.heartandsoulofchange.com.

This is a highly valuable and very readable book containing much for both the beginner and experienced therapist. It is grounded in the experience of counsellors either in private practice or in agencies who are required to deal with a wide variety of people and a range of issues on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis while also coping with increasing accountability to third party payers. Dr. Duncan focuses on the human encounter that is at the core of therapy emphasizing the importance of the therapeutic alliance and referring back to the seminal ideas of Carl Rogers such as empathy and unconditional positive regard…The points made in the book are illustrated with a rich collection of clinical examples. The client's contribution and wisdom is emphasized and it is always clear that we are talking about people rather than cases or examples of a DSM diagnosis. This is reflective of Dr. Duncan's work and for those who have not read any of his other books or papers this is an excellent piece to start. It is practice grounded in research and research grounded in practice.
—Psychotherapy in Australia