ACA Blog

Dec 27, 2013

Letters to a Young Therapist

On the last day of my graduate internship this past spring, my supervisor gave me a copy of Mary Pipher’s book, “Letters to a Young Therapist.”  Dr. Pipher shares the insight she has gained from thirty years of experience as a therapist, working with a clientele ranging from adolescents to intricate families.  Her witty words seem to have a storybook effect on the reader, which makes it hard to put the book down.  I recently spotted the book on my shelf and felt compelled to share a couple of the refreshing and relatable passages.

For me, the best trick is to not have tricks. When I attempt to be clever or sophisticated, I often confuse myself and my clients. Once when I suggested what I thought was a brilliant, rather mysterious, homework assignment, my client asked me if I was on drugs. Another time when I predicted the future in an attempt to generate a self-fulfilling prophecy, my client looked at me in the eyes and said bluntly, “If you can predict the future, you ought to go to Vegas.”

Here’s one that I think other counselors (and fellow ACA bloggers) may be able to relate to on a personal and professional level:

As a way to deal with her intense grief, I recommended that she write. I said, “For me, writing is the best therapy. I don’t know how people who don’t write survive.” For many years, I wrote in the mornings and did therapy in the afternoon. Both jobs involve spending time in small rooms waiting for inspiration. And both possess a considerable amount of mumbo-jumbo. The tools of our trade include our intuition, intelligence, warmth, and character structures. Overtime, competent writers and therapists develop a voice. Work done with a true voice looks natural and easy to observers.

What books have impacted the way you perceive your career? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Sadaf Siddiqi is a certified counselor with an interest in mental health research and its application to children and families. Please share your thoughts with her at

Contact Name

Contact Title

Contact Email

Contact Phone

Related Info

1 Comment

  1. 1 Maya Georgieva 28 Dec
    I just finished this book! So much wisdom. I will look for the rest of her books. Definitely a book to go back to!


  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
    Toolbar's wrapper 
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.

Join/Reinstate Your ACA and Division Memberships Today

  • Maximize your Professional Development
  • Learn more about your specialty—join a division
  • Stay ahead of the educational learning curve
  • Advocate for the counseling care of tomorrow
  • Expand your networking connections

Learn More

Join Now!