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Joyce Houser unravels the mystery of the therapeutic process, and gives us a priviIeged look behind closed doors of a most private world. Both mental health professionals as well as individuals seeking help will find this book valuable.  --Joan Lachkar, PhD, psychologist, author of How To Talk to A Narcissist

Joyce Houser has written a clear, useful, and heartfelt book about therapy ‘to encourage and support you in your decision to change, and to prepare you for what you may experience.’  --Eric Greenleaf, PhD, psychologist, author of The Problem of Evil; Ancient Dilemmas and Modern Therapy

Someone To Talk To; Understanding How Therapy Heals offers a succinct and easy-to-grasp guide for teachers, students of psychology, and everyone interested in learning how psychotherapy works.  --Catherine Portuges, PhD, Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Finally a book that explores the ins and outs of psychotherapy in a way we can all understand.  It is a must for anyone wondering what therapy is, or for anyone wanting emotional health.  --Robert Jameson, M.A., MFT, author of The Keys To Joy-Filled Living

Joyce Houser is to the therapeutic process what Kubler-Ross has been to the grieving process; she has clarified the pattern of therapy.  Houser emphazises, encourages, and enlists the strengths of the client.....

Therapists will want to have this book in their lending libraries. 

An artful therapist, Houser clothes hard reality in poetically attractive language; her words are easily quoted. 

She is a mentor to us all.  --Journal of the American Art Therapy Association

To read this book and to be open to its suggestions is already to be on the road to healing.  The point is that the inner work of the soul is to be  trusted, and this simple truth is caringly and simply stated.  --Alan W. Jones, PhD, Author of Soulmaking; The Desert Way of Spirituality

"I wish I had this book when I was in college! The only information I could find about psychotherapy was on theories.....nothing about what actually happens in sessions."  --Christian Wyrostek, Page One Experts


Whole Life Magazine

Half a century ago, anyone who wanted to talk to a professional about his problems had basically two choices: a psychiatrist or a minister. Now, of course, there’s a full range of therapies available, but for whatever reason, some people still feel embarrassed about seeking help with their life challenges. Santa Monica psychotherapist Joyce Houser, who has been in private practice for more than 20 years, takes the reader through the process of talk therapy, sharing many anecdotes of others who have struggled with common issues. She details her own first steps in finding help, and makes suggestions for others who are in pain. Therapy—or any healing process—is a journey, and it’s important to have guides you can trust. Houser can help you recognize them. (Motivational Press)


By Angela Barrios-Lucero, LMFT, ATR

As published in The Therapist, January/February 2013

Joyce Houser, LMFT, encourages new or future clients with her reader-friendly guide that supports the experience of the psychotherapy process. I found that her book also offers the stepping stones towards change and healing. The author recommends this book for concerned individuals who are considering therapy and have questions, or for new clients who have already begun and need clarification about the therapy process.

I read through her book from the perspective of two different client mindsets. I enjoyed the unknown as if being the curious client anticipating their first upcoming appointment. I also held the mind of a client who has just started but is willing to learn about the therapeutic plan waiting for them. The author shares that both paths will not be easy. I welcomed Houser praising individuals for the courage to look into their past in order to heal the present. It may be helpful to read about other clients' stories as an example of what a process may be like.

My interest in reviewing this book instantly developed instantly when I saw the title. I was hoping to hear the perspective from a fellow clinician about what therapy looks like behind her closed doors. My impression about the book is that it isn't intended as a teaching guide for the  graduate student about to start earning their hours, but, surprisingly, a book that would be more helpful for clients. I  can see that the subjects of each chapter can help a seasoned clinician offer their clients  the vocabulary to describe  and normalize the upcoming stages of the therapeutic process. The minute I began to read the book I was drawn into the author's calming narrative voice that encourages and prepares an individual to begin therapy, begin working through the pain, and thus begin healing. I appreciate and applaud Houser, who challenges stigmas associated with  therapy and emphasizes that psychotherapy is not easy and may in fact be painful and difficult. As I end this review, I remind myself of wise words from a clinical supervisor who made an impact on my therapeutic philosophy. Termination starts from the first session you see the client, we meet them where they are at emotionally and do what we can. But a client who never returns, leaves with at least receiving the seed of a safe corrective experience by meeting an understanding therapist, someone to talk to.


By Luanne Stevenson, BLOGCRITICS.ORG

Someone To Talk To; Understanding How Therapy Heals (Motivational Press, Inc.) is a book written for anyone who is considering therapy or wanting to understand how therapy works. In the author's own words; this book is for "anyone who has the courage to hope, and the willingness to work toward emotional healing."

Joyce Houser, M.A., MFT, explains psychotherapy in a style that is easily understood. For over 20 years, Houser has been working as a psychotherapist in Santa Monica, California, helping couples and individuals recover from addictions, work through relationship problems or live a more fulfilling life by teaching them to understand childhood traumas and let go of the past.

It is an interesting read that uses Houser's clinical experience to help the reader understand her points. She shares the stories of past clients (the names have been changed) to illustrate some of the commonalities, the fears and the courage it takes to begin the process of self-healing. She explains to the reader that "Life changes us whether we welcome it or fight it." And "the person, who attempts to avoid responsibility for change, by making no decisions, is indirectly deciding to stay the same." By avoiding change, a person will remain "stuck" and this will inevitably interfere with personal growth and happiness. Houser defines psychotherapy as "a way to facilitate change" but admits the decision to begin requires courage; "to take action in spite of being afraid" or being vulnerable to facilitate the healing process.

In her book, Houser explains psychotherapy in ten quick chapters. She takes us step by step through the process, but her writing isn't clinical or text book boring. In explaining the mystery of the unconscious and the human spirit, she writes like a poet: "Like blades of grass pushing their way through cracks in concrete, nature prevails even under the least hospitable conditions. What appears on the surface to be an isolated weed of a problem is not isolated at all. Instead, it's a messenger from underground, communicating the existence of a subterranean world."

She writes from personal experience, from the experiences of others, and from her innate ability to understand pain's purpose. She emphasizes important points by sharing quotes taken from Alice Miller, Scott Peck and others and helps the reader see that "the therapist's role is to help us in the decoding process."

Anyone who is considering therapy or has just begun therapy will find encouragement by reading the pages of Someone To Talk To, and I highly recommend it. It is a fascinating look at the healing process and what it takes to stop destructive patterns and reach our hidden potential or "reach the point where you can experience life on its terms - whatever life gives each day, and working with it."


Someone To Talk To; Understanding How Therapy Heals

By: Tiffany Taylor

Licensed therapist Joyce Houser, M.A., MFT, releases a one-of-a-kind book to dispel the fears and myths that keep people from going to therapy. Someone To Talk To; Understanding How Therapy Heals addresses the natural concerns that arise about speaking to a therapist for the first time. It differs from other books available today; it takes us behind closed doors, and reveals the therapy process step-by-step.

According to Houser, “Our physical body is made of many complex systems,which we take care of through regular doctor visits, eating right, and exercising. The ‘emotional system’ is also complex; however, most of us do not take care of our emotions. Unresolved, misunderstood ‘emotional baggage’ from our childhood is compounded by the adversities of adult life, and can lead to problems with self-esteem, relationships, parenting, careers - even stress-related illnesses.

Working through emotions is just as important to our overall health, happiness, and productivity as are physical exams, and often requires the help of an expert. Just as doctors have studied the intricate workings of the physical body, therapists have studied the complexities of the emotional body, and can help unravel the areas that hold us back.”

Houser believes outdated stigmas and fears are what stop most people from seeking the help they need. “Thankfully it has become more socially-accepted for people to seek therapy; however, many people are still very anxious about the emotions they will feel in the process. But by going through those fears, real healing begins.”

Someone To Talk To was written as a resource not only for those apprehensive about starting therapy, but also for therapists to offer to new clients, and for psychotherapy educators to offer to their students.

Author Joyce Houser, M.A., MFT, is a psychotherapist, licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist, with over 20 years of experience. Based in Southern California, she works with individuals and couples, specializing in relationships, addiction recovery, and arts and entertainment. In addition to her practice and writing Someone To Talk To, Joyce has conducted workshops and lectures on a variety of topics. More information can be found on her website,