There are numerous great story tellers amongst the psychotherapy fraternity, even if I can think immediately only of Sigmund Freud and Irvin Yalom - a lack of knowledge on my part rather than a lack of style on the part of my colleagues. I can reveal another name to join my brief list of fine story tellers, because Phil Lapworth has written a lovely collection of ten short stories about therapy and what goes on in the therapeutic relationship. I read his Tales from the Therapy Room in a couple of ways: firstly, I read them for enjoyment, because each tale is full of humour and pathos; and secondly, I read them with a critical eye on the role of the therapist and the observations and interventions he makes. So each of the stories is both an entertainment and an education. On reflection there is a third way of reading this book, an invitation I have yet to take, and that is to use each story as a starting point for an exploration of practice issues, ethical dilemmas and counselling theory. The book contains what Irvin Yalom calls, "teaching tales". Lapworth helps with this process by providing an interesting final chapter, in which he recommends further reading and asks questions about each of the stories he has so beautifully written. So I will revisit each of these tales and reflect on what they have to say about me, my practice, psychotherapy and the human condition. Thanks Phil!
Lapworth, P. (2011) Tales from the Therapy Room: Shrink Wrapped, London, Sage