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Course: What Therapists Don't Talk About and Why
by Kenneth S. Pope, PhD, ABPP and Janet L. Sonne, PhD and Beverly Greene, PhD, ABPP

CE Credit Hours: 6
Fee: $30

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This book explores the problems, dilemmas, double-binds and provocations that take place between therapists and their clients. The authors approach the content with humor and wisdom, challenging professionals to explore the real impact their values, assumptions, and personal interests have upon their clients. It was written to help therapists explore topics that are taboo, that receive only superficial treatment, or that provoke anxiety, discomfort, and confusion. In a culture of increasing professional accountability and liability, clinicians will benefit from implementing the commonsense suggestions made by the authors.

The text explores a wide range of topics, including feelings of incompetence; therapists' blunders; fee disasters; hatred for a patient; therapists getting sick, growing old, and dying; confusion about disability and accessibility; prayer with patients as part of therapy; boredom; patients with terrible body odor; therapists' fears and terrors; sexual orientation and self-disclosure; vulnerability; therapists' shame and guilt; difficult aspects of race and ethnicity; anger at patients; the experience of being fired; confusion about what to do; and betrayal of oneself, profession, and values to get ahead or just survive.

This book's model of learning encourages a mindful awareness of the complex, messy situations that occur in real life, of how therapists respond to them, and of the need for openness, honesty, courage, and constant questioning.

Educational Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the clinician will be able to:

  • Learn the basic myths about psychotherapists
  • Learn how to question taboos, secrets and uncomfortable topics
  • Learn how to confront fear, shame, guilt, sexual attraction, etc., in dealing with the taboo topics in therapy.
  • Acquire a broader understanding of taboo clinical issues
  • Increased awareness of one's own feelings on taboo topics.
  • Learn the 17 possible clues to taboo topics.
  • Learn the important conditions for exploring taboo topics.
  • Learn how to confront an impasse: what to do when you do not know what to do.

Syllabus / Course Instructions

  • The Course consists of reading the selected book, successfully completing an online posttest and filling out a course evaluation.
  • The book is not included. It must be purchased separately. We have supplied a link to for your convenience.
  • Purchasing your course will give you access to both a printable copy of the test and an online version. Print the test to use as a companion as you read the book and answer the questions.
  • You cannot exit the online test once you begin, so have your answers available.
Additional Resources On This Site for CE

Additional Resources Not On This Site

  • Sexual Involvement With Patients: Patient Assessment, Subsequent Therapy, Forensics
    by Kenneth S. Pope, PhD, ABPP,
  • Sexual Feelings in Psychotherapy: Explorations for Therapists and Therapists-in Training
    by Kenneth S. Pope, PhD, ABPP, Janet Sonne, PhD, Jean Holroyd, PhD
  • The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition
    by Arthur Kleinman, MD

Bio: Kenneth S. Pope, PhD, ABPP and Janet L. Sonne, PhD and Beverly Greene, PhD, ABPP

Kenneth S. Pope, PhD, ABPP, received graduate degrees from Harvard and Yale and has been in independent practice as a licensed psychologist since the mid-1980s. A diplomate in clinical psychology, he has authored or coauthored more than 100 articles and chapters in peer-reviewed scientific and professional journals and books. He was elected a charter fellow of the American Psychological Society and a fellow of American Psychological Association.

Based on his research in the 1970's on therapist-patient sex, he co-founded the UCLA Post-Therapy Support Program, the first center offering services, conducting research, and providing university-based training for graduate students and therapists seeking to work with people who had been sexually exploited by therapists. In the early 1980's he was the director of clinical programs for a consortium of community mental health centers and hospitals. His publications include 10 articles in American Psychologist and 11 books.

One of his main interests is the family of special-needs dogs and cats that live in his home and whose photos and stories can be seen at He provides a free psychology news service for psychologists, psychiatrists and others (anyone is welcome to join the mailing list). Each day he emails three to six messages regarding the mental health field.

Janet L. Sonne, PhD, is a licensed psychologist in independent clinical and forensic practice in Redlands, California. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Stanford University, her master's degree in social and personality psychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and her doctorate in clinical psychology from UCLA. She was a founding psychologist of the graduate clinical psychology program at Loma Linda University; she recently retired from her position there as professor of psychology and director of clinical training.

Previously, she was a member of the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Loma Linda University Medical School where she taught and supervised the psychotherapy training of psychiatry residents. She is the author of several publications on the topic of therapist-patient relationships. Her experiences on the California Psychological Association and the APA Ethics Committees and with various professional licensing boards have enhanced her appreciation of the importance of training mental health professionals to conceptualize ethical practice as a process of decision making rather than a set of rules.

Beverly Greene, PhD, ABPP, is a professor of psychology at St. John's University in Jamaica, New York, and a practicing clinical psychologist in independent practice in Brooklyn, New York. In honor of outstanding and significant contributions to psychology, she is a fellow of the American Psychological Association; the Academy of Clinical Psychology; and the American Orthopsychiatric Association. She holds a diplomate in clinical psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology and is licensed as a psychologist in New York and New Jersey.

Dr. Greene received her bachelor's degree in psychology from New York University where she was a member of the first group of Martin Luther King Scholars. She completed her master's and doctor of philosophy degrees in clinical psychology at the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies of Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. She has served as a school psychologist with the New York City Board of Education and as a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and director of inpatient child and adolescent psychology at King's County Hospital's Inpatient Child and Adolescent Psychiatry service in Brooklyn, New York. In 1995, she was granted tenure and promoted to full professor at St. John's University.

She serves on the editorial and Advisory boards of numerous scholarly journals, as well as in various positions of APA governance. She was the founding coeditor of the APA Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues Series. The author of more than 75 professional publications, she has received nine national awards for significant scholarly contributions to the psychological literature. Recent honors include the 2005 recipient of the APA Society for Clinical Psychology's Stanley Sue Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Diversity in Clinical Psychology. She is also the recipient of the Teacher's College, Columbia University 2006 Cross Cultural Roundtable's 16th Annual Janet Helms Award for Scholarship and Mentoring.