John Kim was working in a residential substance abuse facility when he went through a divorce. As difficult as that was, the experience helped him to realize that no one should go through life’s difficult times alone, and it pointed him to a new path toward becoming a psychotherapist.
Kim also understood that therapists, like the clients they guide, face their own personal challenges. He believed that therapists should be transparent about the fact that they, too, struggle with clients and others in their lives. Soon, he began to share his thoughts on the topic through his blog, “The Angry Therapist.”
Kim did something that few therapists do: he used his blog to express his emotions in a very transparent way. From here, he began to do other unconventional things, such as meeting clients in coffee shops and other informal settings.
In his book, The Angry Therapist, Kim uses his own experiences and feelings as examples, rather than focusing on anonymous patients as most others in the field tend to do. Part autobiography and part self-help, the book uses his own personal experience as the basis for helping others to make positive change.
Our society has become accustomed to a quick fix for our problems, Kim points out. For instance, practitioners are quick to suggest medications and clients are quick to take them rather than trying natural approaches first. And people with weight management issues may be more likely to turn to diet pills rather than learning new skills for more sensible eating.
“My goal is to give you something you can actually use in your daily everyday life, instead of a collection of dense theories and concepts that will only collect dust on your nightstand,” writes Kim.
And he backs it up pretty well. Readers should be warned that Kim does embellish some of his thoughts with the use of profanity. While maybe not be necessary, this approach is part of his message, I think. He uses an attitude of toughness and directness to get his point across.
Kim asserts that to be effective, real personal growth or change must be sustainable. In his own unique way, he uses the words transparency, stance and container to describe the stages of his approach (also called the JK Method).
Transparency refers to the need for complete honesty with oneself. Stance represents the foundation of one’s values and what is personally important. And the word container describes an inner space that is safe and cannot be penetrated. The container, Kim says, is where growth takes place. In troubled lives, the container is cracked or penetrated, allowing negative or toxic thoughts and behaviors to come in.
The concepts of the JK Method are explored and expanded in separate chapters that are devoted to each. In the chapter about a person’s “container,” Kim talks about the seven basic needs that make up the core of a good self-care plan.
I imagine that readers of The Angry Therapist will either embrace its refreshing and somewhat different approach, or have a hard time getting comfortable with it. The book won’t tell you what to do to be happier, but it will help you to explore your inner thoughts and beliefs which can lead to change and a better outlook on your life.
The Angry Therapist: A No BS Guide to Finding and Living Your Own Truth
Parallax Press 2017
160 Pages, Paperback