The Fear of Doing Nothing: Notes of a Young Therapist

Author(s) : Valery Hazanov

The Fear of Doing Nothing: Notes of a Young Therapist

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In the spirit of Mikhail Bulgakov’s A Young Doctor’s Notebook and Sandeep Jauhar’s Intern, this is a deeply honest, searching examination of psychotherapy based on the experiences of a young sceptical trainee in New York City meeting his first patients.

“Why is psychotherapy different from talking to a friend?” Hazanov asks. “Because generations of self-interested therapists told us so?”

Through ten linked stories, we follow Hazanov as he navigates the maze of psychological theories he’s been taught, facing the alarming dissonance between them and the tragic reality of his patients’ lives. "How does psychotherapy work? And why do people not get any better?" Frustrated by fancy jargon and unrealistic depictions, Hazanov is on a quest to dispel the myths of psychotherapy and discover its essence. In The Fear of Doing Nothing he illuminates the intimacy, vulnerability and messiness of the therapeutic encounter, providing his answer to the question of what psychotherapy is.

About the Author(s)

Valery Hazanov was born in Moscow and raised in Israel. He received his PhD in clinical psychology at Columbia University and trained at various hospitals and clinics in New York City. Before training as a psychologist, he had worked for several years with juvenile delinquents, managing the Jerusalem district of a national program to stop youth crime. He is a former fellow of the American Psychoanalytic Association and the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center. He lives in Jerusalem.

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Clare M. on 27/01/2020

As a therapist who also provides psychotherapy, I felt deeply connected to Valery's experiences. It was overwhelmingly relatable. His book described the true art of balancing the delicate relationship we form with our clients, ever conscientious of our our human-ness, relationship dynamics, boundaries, and clinical orientation. My own fears of being inadequate as a therapist, and inability to always know what is best, has been, at times...depressing. This memoir, so honest, gave me some hope that maybe I am not missing the mark as much as I had feared. Well done, Valery. Thank you.

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