This unique book explores how clients' problems are defined by personal and cultural narratives that can be identified and retold in therapy. The authors share their therapeutic vision through a series of stories, fictionalized discussions, and minidramas, inviting readers to participate in an ongoing conversation by reflecting on their own responses to the case material presented. Written in an engaging and personal style that brings the theory to life, the book challenges normative ideas about both narrative and the therapeutic relationship. This book will be of interest to family therapists both novice and experienced from a range of orientations, as well as students and other readers interested in a creative and accessible approach to psychotherapy.
” …A wonderful text that helps situate clinicians in a narrative perspective…a conversational text that can help the reader experience narrative therapy from the insider perspectives of clinicians, clients and trainees. Also a valuable resource are Appendices A and B which provide reflecting team guidelines and suggested questions one may use in a narrative interview. Many readers will find this a wonderful and refreshing book to complement other experiences in learning to practice narrative therapy.”
–Jerry E. Gale, Journal of Family Psychotherapy
“An intriguing and dramatic conversation that engages readers as partners and participants in an experience similar to the experience of clients in narrative therapy….This book offers a new and different way of involving clients and therapists in unmasking the influence of larger cultural narratives that constrict their choices.”
–Rachel T. Hare-Mustin, Ph.D.
“If narrative therapy is akin to a language of its own, then, undoubtedly, the best way to approach a new language is through immersion in it. Dickerson and Zimmerman, in this audacious book, allow the reader to live in such a narrative ‘world,’ one in which the Problem speaks and the authors, clients, and students have the temerity to speak back. This book calls for a very different kind of reading than do conventional texts. Reader, should you be willing to do so, you will have had a veritable experience of the narrative metaphor in practice.”
–David Epston, MA, CQSW
“This book represents the culmination of a wonderfully creative exercise by Jeff Zimmerman and Vicki Dickerson. These authors invite you, the reader, to enter the text and to join them ‘behind the scenes’ in their explorations of the practices, the politics, and the ethics of narrative therapy. A unique opportunity, not to be missed!”
–Michael White, BASW
“Take your bearings and fasten your seatbelt. To read this book is to undertake a powerful and thought-provoking adventure in narrative therapy. In this truly groundbreaking volume, Jeff Zimmerman and Vicki Dickerson use a bold and innovative format to immerse the reader in a world where problems are separate from people. Beautifully written, brilliantly conceived, and politically astute, If Problems Talked will change the way you see the world. If problems really could talk, by the end of this book, they’d be pleading for mercy!” –
-Jill Freedman, MSW and Gene Combs, MD
Jeffrey L. Zimmerman Ph.D., and Victoria C. Dickerson, Ph.D., co-direct Bay Area Family Therapy Training Associates in Cupertino, California, and train the Narrative Family Therapy Externship at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto. Widely published, they have collaborated on book chapters and many articles, which have appeared in Family Process, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Journal of Systemic Family Therapies, and Dulwich Centre Newsletter. They are coauthors of this book, making different but equal contributions to its creation.