Bob Taibbi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 40 years experience primarily in community mental health working with couples and families as a clinician, supervisor and clinical director.
Bob is the author of 7 books:
- Doing Couples Therapy: Craft and Creativity in Work with Intimate Partners
- Doing Family Therapy: Craft and Creativity in Clinical Practice, now in its 3rd edition, and recently translated into Chinese and Portuguese
- Clinical Supervision: A Four-Stage Process of Growth and Discovery
- Clinical Social Work Supervision: Practice & Process
- Boot Camp Therapy: Action-Oriented Brief Clinical Approaches to Anxiety, Anger & Depression
- The Art of the First Session
- Brief Therapy With Couples & Families in Crisis
You can read more about Bob and see his latest posts here.
We contacted Bob for an interview and he kindly accepted our invitation, so here it is.
Q. Why did you become a therapist?
I actually planned initially to do research and academia. But once I became involved in people’s lives, I got hooked.
Q. What single piece of advice can you give readers about how to live a happy fulfilling life?
Navigating life is a process of elimination — learning from mistakes, discovering what you don’t like in order to find what you do. Learn not to be afraid.
Q. What have you found to be the most common cause of depression and how can people overcome it?
Feeling stuck in their lives, like they are at the bottom of a well and can’t get out. they need to do something, make an effort without worrying if it is the right one. The antidote to standing still is moving forward.
Q. In your experience what’s the single biggest cause of divorce/relationship breakdown and how can it be averted before it’s too late?
Failure of communication and problem solving. Couples are either afraid to bring up problems and speak up, or have a big fight but then never go back and solve the problem, or that they rather be right than find a solution.
Q. What do you like most about being a therapist?
The ability to enter people’s lives in a way so different from everyday life; to feel that something you may say may change someone’s perspective and lead to their doing something new and different.
Q. What do you like least about being a therapist?
The fact of seeing how the lives of some people are just so incredibly sad.
Q. What is the major cause of stress nowadays and how can people best deal with it?
People seem driven by external demands and frenetic lifestyles. Setting limits, deciding on priorities, running your life as your life.
Q. What is the best way to deal with grief?
Grief is a process. It’s about understanding the process, being kind to yourself, doing what you need to do to have closure.
Q. If you had your life to live over again what would you change if anything?
Not much. There are some small incidents where I remember and cringe and wish I could change, but nothing big. My life has made me who I am today and I’m satisfied with what I have become.
Q. What is the funniest /most bizarre/most inspirational thing that has happened to you in dealing with your clients?
There’s been a lot of funny and bizarre things over the years. The most inspirational thing that my mind always comes back to is meeting with a woman early in my career who was incarcerated for killing her boyfriend. Maybe the 3rd time I met with her she decided to tell me what happened that night she shot him, and in the session she essentially re-enacted what had occurred. He had been heavily involved with drugs that he couldn’t shake, and in a moment of desperation begged her to shoot him. I remained silent throughout, she had never told anyone what actually had happened. It was cathartic for her, stunning for me. A lesson in the power of expression and release without judgement.