Taking It From Someone Who’s Been There: Reviewing ‘Know Thyself’
by Christy Gualtieri
If you’re feeling stuck in life and know you have some issues you want to work through, but are still on the fence when it comes to considering therapy, there are hundreds of books on the market that want to help you decide. One such book, Know Thyself: How Psychotherapy Works & How It Can Improve Your Life In Unforseen Ways, offers a personal experience. Written in a casual style, author Andrew Carley presents answers to a general “Psychotherapy FAQ” based on his experiences with therapy in his native Europe. (Picture it as a similar experience to reading reviews of a product on Amazon.com.) Ask the man his opinion, and this book is what you’ll get.
The first of two sections of his book presents a look at how psychotherapy works, answering such common questions as “What is Psychotherapy?” and “Is Therapy Only for Crazy People?” In this section, Carley introduces the reader to his tumultuous upbringing, the resentment he has for his parents (his father, especially), and his passion for seeking out treatment. He explains the differences between different schools of psychotherapist thought, and, among other things, details the benefits and drawbacks of antidepressant use. His sincerity comes through very clearly in his writing, but he tends to cast a wide net when discussing the history of psychotherapy itself and makes many generalizations that could benefit from more in terms of sources. He is correct when he writes that “the land of the unconscious needs to be explored and conquered slowly and cautiously,” for example, but then brushes aside the current state of psychotherapy to describe it as “an instrument that molds [people seeking therapy] into what society wants them to be.”
A particularly strong chapter is “Finding the Perfect Therapist,” where Carley discusses his experiences in finding the right therapist for him. He stresses the need to look at different variables when it comes to choosing a good therapist, and offers his readers the benefits of “testing out” new therapists before going too far along in the process. Found the perfect therapist, but they’re halfway across the world? No need to worry; Skype is an option, too!
The second section of the book remarks on the “unforeseen benefits” of therapy, outlining the inadvertent advantages one would gain by seeking out help. He remarks about the healthful effects that therapy provides, including curing back pain, curating a creative life, and helping patients to become better parents. This section is shorter than the first, and his writing style is much more conversational; it’s easy to imagine the reader sitting down with Carley, seeking out advice, and having a conversation.
Reader be warned, though: it’s a conversation in which Carley does not pull punches. He uses some very blunt language that may catch some readers off guard, and can leave some folks scratching their heads. But in the end, his conversational tone is probably the greatest strength of the book – Carley’s undoubted passion for the practice of psychotherapy is clearly evident (he really, really wants you to see a therapist too) but this book is mostly just a good start to finding your way to other resources to get a fuller picture. You get the feeling that there is more he can say – and should say! – about his experience, but at the very least, you’re left with the knowledge that if you do decide to start therapy, you’ll have a very eager cheerleader in your corner.
To purchase a copy of “Know Thyself” by Andrew Carley click here or contact the author directly for a free copy (written review required). To learn more about Andrew and his amazing book “Know Thyself,” CLICK HERE to listen to our interview or visit Andrew’s website “What is Psychotherapy” for more information.
Until next time, be well!
Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, blogs at asinglehour.wordpress.com, and tweets @agapeflower117. Follow PghPsych on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates, inspirational quotes, articles, and different events and causes related to good mental health!