Recommended Readings

In the past, students have found it helpful to begin reading about the field of Family Therapy before they begin classes. Some of the books may be used in your classes—but faculty are notorious for tinkering with their syllabi and changing texts from year to year, and since faculty often make text decisions only a short time before classes start, there is no predicting if any of these texts will show up in one of your classes or not! The following books are all worth reading before you arrive:

Becvar, D., & Becvar, R. (1982) Systems theory and family therapy: A primer. Boston, MA: University Press of America.

  • This book is an introduction to systemic thinking. The authors provide the reader with the basic concepts of systems theory and its application in a clear and concise manner. They use many case examples and illustrations.

Coombs, G., & Freedman, J. (1990). Symbol, story, & ceremony: Using metaphor in individual and family therapy. New York: W. W. Norton.

  • In this book, Coombs and Freedman invite us to learn how to use and apply metaphors in therapy as well as give us examples of a wide variety of metaphors.

Flemons, D. (2002). Of one mind: The logic of hypnosis, the practice of therapy. New York: W. W. Norton.

  • A simply marvelous book that draws epistemological parallels between the logic that drives both hypnosis and family therapy. The book is chock-a-block full of fascinating case examples and stories about how to think and practice relationally.

Hoffman, L. (2002). Family therapy: An intimate history. New York: W. W. Norton.

  • A personal account of the history of family therapy from the very first exciting days of its inception by an independent band of systems-thinkers to the present day. Using personal examples, case stories, and discussions of theory, Hoffman takes us with her as she takes a personal historical journey through the family therapy field.

Miller, S., Duncan B., & Hubble, M. (1997). Escape from Babel: Toward a unifying language for psychotherapy practice. New York: W. W. Norton.

  • This book helps the reader become aware that while there are many different models of therapy, the magic is not in the model, but in a mix of factors. The authors have researched many models of therapy and identified underlying themes and characteristics common to all therapy, regardless of model.

Treadway, D. (2004). Intimacy, change, and other therapeutic mysteries: Stories of clinicians and clients. New York: Guildford.

  • In his fictional book, Treadway–a therapist himself–explores situations which therapists and clients may encounter. He explores day-to-day examples of therapy as well as what occurs beyond the therapy room to show the effects of therapy on both the therapist and client.