|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews|101 Healing Stories101 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started Using HypnosisA Primer for Beginning PsychotherapyA Therapist's Guide to Understanding Common Medical ProblemsACT With LoveAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionBad TherapyBefore ForgivingBeing a Brain-Wise TherapistBiofeedback for the BrainBody PsychotherapyBody SenseBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBrain Change TherapyBreaking ApartBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheChoosing an Online TherapistClinical Handbook of Psychological DisordersClinical Intuition in PsychotherapyClinical Pearls of WisdomCo-Creating ChangeCompassion and Healing in Medicine and SocietyConfessions of a Former ChildConfidential RelationshipsConfidentiality and Mental HealthConfidingCouch FictionCounseling with Choice TheoryCritical Issues in PsychotherapyCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesDecoding the Ethics CodeDepression 101Depression in ContextDo-It-Yourself Eye Movement Techniques for Emotional HealingDoing ItE-TherapyEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEnergy Psychology InteractiveEssays on Philosophical CounselingEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingEveryday Mind ReadingExpressing EmotionFacing Human SufferingFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFamily TherapyFavorite Counseling and Therapy Homework AssignmentsFlourishingFlying ColorsHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHeinz KohutHow to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Go to TherapyIf Only I Had KnownIn SessionIn Therapy We TrustIn Treatment: Season 1Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and PsychotherapyIs Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Issues in Philosophical CounselingIt’s Your HourLearning from Our MistakesLetters to a Young TherapistLove's ExecutionerMan's Search for MeaningMetaphoria: Metaphor and Guided Metaphor for Psychotherapy and HealingMindfulness and AcceptanceMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMindworks: An Introduction to NLPMockingbird YearsMomma and the Meaning of LifeMotivational Interviewing: Preparing People For ChangeMulticulturalism and the Therapeutic ProcessOf Mice and MetaphorsOf Two MindsOn the CouchOne Nation Under TherapyOur Inner WorldOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical MidwiferyPhilosophical PracticePhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy PracticePlato, Not Prozac!Psychologists Defying the CrowdPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychosis in the FamilyPsychotherapyPsychotherapyPsychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy for Personality DisordersRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRationality and the Pursuit of HappinessRecovery OptionsRent Two Films and Let's Talk in the MorningSaving the Modern SoulSecond-order Change in PsychotherapySelf MattersSelf-Determination Theory in the ClinicSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapyStrangers to OurselvesTaking America Off DrugsTales of PsychotherapyThe Art of HypnosisThe Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior TherapyThe Crucible of ExperienceThe Education of Mrs. BemisThe Fall Of An IconThe Gift of TherapyThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Love CureThe Making of a TherapistThe Mummy at the Dining Room TableThe Neuroscience of PsychotherapyThe Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social BrainThe New PsychoanalysisThe Philosopher's Autobiography The Portable CoachThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Problem with Cognitive Behavioural TherapyThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Schopenhauer CureThe Talking CureThe Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised EditionThe UnsayableThe Wing of MadnessTheory and Practice of Brief TherapyTherapyTheraScribe 4.0Toward a Psychology of AwakeningTracking Mental Health OutcomesTreating Attachment DisordersWhat the Buddha FeltWhat Works for Whom? Second EditionWhy Psychoanalysis?
by George W. Burns
John Wiley & Sons, 2001
Review by Eduardo Keegan on Jan 28th 2003
W. Burns, an experienced Eriksonian psychotherapist, is indeed a master in the
art of using stories for healing purposes. As Michael Yapko puts it in his foreword
to the book: Burns is a keen observer of people, and his sensitivity and
perceptiveness are immediately evident in the gentle way he talks to us through
the stories he tells.
art of using metaphors is one of those aspects of psychotherapy that cause both
fascination and anxiety among trainees. Experienced and skillful
psychotherapists such as Burns fascinate their audiences with their elegance
and effectiveness at using healing stories. But this also causes anxiety
because trainees may not know how to attain this level of skill. Burns says
this book is a result of a frequent demand of professionals attending his
seminars and lectures, eager to learn the secrets of effective therapeutic
storytelling. Interestingly, Burns does not take the stance of a hermetic Zen
master, but comes up with a generous book revealing all the mysteries, rules
and tricks of professional storytelling.
the book is structured in a way that allows a systematic use of stories, by
providing 101 model stories, explaining how to make them metaphoric and tell
them effectively and, finally, by indicating sources for therapeutic tales.
These goals are reflected in the three parts in which the book is divided.
first part is devoted to metaphor therapy. This section deals with the
theoretical, clinical and practical aspects of stories in psychotherapy.
second part, divided into ten chapters, presents 100 stories. Each chapter
deals with a specific therapeutic outcome (covering the themes suggested by
Burns trainees). Each chapter begins with a description of the therapeutic
outcome and concludes with an exercise relevant to that particular outcome
third and final part offers guidelines and sources for the reader to create
his/her own outcome-oriented stories. These are described in an uncomplicated
manner, addressing issues of technique and of structure.
section on metaphor therapy analyzes the power of stories to discipline, invoke
emotions, inspire, change and create mind/body feats. According to Burns,
metaphors in therapy are designed to be a form of indirect, imaginative, and
implied communication with clients about experiences, processes or outcome that
may help them solve their literal problems. Therapeutic metaphors may include
stories, tales, anecdotes, jokes, proverbs, analogies or other communications.
What distinguishes them from other tales, stories or anecdotes is the
combination of a) their purposefully designed, symbolic communication and b)
their specific healing or therapeutic intention (page 29).
author also highlights the fact that many different psychotherapeutic
traditions have endorsed the use of metaphors in therapy. I remember, for
instance, a recent article by Arthur Freeman about the use of metaphors in
standard cognitive therapy, which presents similar arguments to those offered
by Burns from a very different theoretical background.
ten therapeutic themes covered in the second part of the book are: enhancing
empowerment, acquiring acceptance, reframing negative attitudes, changing
patterns of behavior, learning from experience, attaining goals, cultivating
compassion, developing wisdom, caring for yourself and enhancing happiness.
These topics were, according to the author, suggested by trainees in Eriksonian
psychotherapy. What I like about these topics and the stories, is that they are
relevant for treatments dealing with mental disorders or just personal growth,
however artificial this categorization may be.
must admit that the stories about wise Oriental masters evoke in me John
Lennons acid remarks about the Maharishi rather than New Age feelings of
intellectual depth. But Burns is quite aware of this possibility and suggests
in a passage of the book that Zen masters are probably not good role models for
design of the book is very much in line with its inspiration as a practical
tool for therapists. Topics are easy to find and the whole presentation is very
systematic. Exercises are highlighted by a gray background, and there is a
generous use of blank space that makes the book readable, even if the print is
sum, I would highly recommend the book to psychotherapists of all backgrounds
and levels of training interested in using therapeutic metaphors in a competent
and systematic manner.
© 2003 Eduardo Keegan
Eduardo Keegan, Professor of Clinical
Psychology and Psychotherapies, School of Psychology, University of Buenos
Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina