Education Professor Publishes New Book on Experiential Therapy | St. Lawrence University

Education Professor Publishes New Book on Experiential Therapy

Associate Professor of Education Peter Ladd has published a new book that explores alternative ways of thinking about mental health disorders.  

In his latest book, The Experiential Therapist: Phenomenology, Trauma-Informed Care, and Mental Health (Lexington Books, 2020), Ladd stresses the importance of incorporating trauma-informed care, phenomenological insights, and empowerment methods in daily practice through case studies and analyses of current methods and research. By analyzing issues such as collaboration, wisdom, momentum, dialogue, and necessary suffering, he highlights the importance of engaging with a patient’s mental health experience and its impact on her family and argues that successful treatment results from an informed understanding of a patient’s experience, not an ability to name and categorize difficult experiences as classical disorders.

In an editorial review of the book, Wake Forest University's Mark Scholl writes, "In response to the prevailing, rational medical model of therapy, [Ladd] wholeheartedly calls for an experiential model which more fully appreciates each client’s individuality, complexity, personal knowledge and sense of purpose. Vividly written case illustrations illuminate and enliven a nuanced, compelling, and timely thesis. Ever mindful of the rules and restrictions faced by real-life therapists, Ladd makes practical and realistic recommendations for incorporating elements of both models into everyday practice."

Memorial University of Newfoundland's AnnMarie Churchill also provided a review of Ladd's latest research. "The historical polarizing of experiential and medical models of thought on mental health has done a disservice to clients and service providers and weakened the mental health field," she writes. "This book presents a much needed unifying perspective and practical approach to bridge the divide. This latest work from [Ladd] is an important contribution to the development of a responsive and empowering mental health care system."

For more information, visit the Department of Education.