A great new book has just been released by Drs. John Murphy and Jacqueline Sparks, both Project Leaders of Better Outcomes Now, titled “Strengths Based Therapy.” Following is an excerpt from Barry Duncan’s foreword.
There is no one on the planet for whom I’d rather write a foreword than these authors and there’s no book that I’d rather have people read in the mental health and substance abuse fields than this one. High praise indeed. Let me tell you why…the authors: John J. Murphy and Jacqueline A. Sparks exemplify everything that’s right about providing services to clients and embody the original aspirations of why many of us got into this profession in the first place—to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve. Drs. Murphy and Sparks have done everything they encourage you to do in this book. Interestingly, both started on the front lines collaborating with heroic clients to overcome adversity in all the varied ways it presents itself to human experience. There is no one I’d rather have on my team, behind the mirror or in the room with me while I see clients. I have first-hand experience of their work and it has always served as an inspiration of what our field can be. And they have been writing about and teaching these ideas for many years to students and practitioners worldwide.
Considering all the attributes of this book—the authors clinical experience of doing strengths based therapy (SBT) as well as their history of championing a non-pathological perspective, its cogent theoretical framework and empirical foundation, and its lucid guidelines of how to do strengths based therapy in encounters with clients—doesn’t do it justice in terms of its contribution and why I consider it the one book I want everyone in the field to read. This book not only provides a scholarly yet immediately practical guide to SBT while eviscerating a pathology-based view, it elevates SBT beyond just another approach to add to the already too many flavors of the month. This book demonstrates that being strength based is transtheoretical and can be applied across clients as part of any practice of any model. It is a way of inhabiting any of the wonderful plurality of approaches available today. Please take whatever you can from this book and know that you are continuing the revolution of SBT these authors have not only advanced but evolved to a new place of conceptualization and practice.