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Kalen Hammann

I've just finished the Method of Levels, and I'm astonished, delighted, and inspired. I was a psychotherapist for many years, using a variety of approaches (predominantly Gestalt Therapy, several versions of family therapy, and more recently Psychology of Mind), and while my clients were often happy with the results, I frequently wasn't. My fundamental dissatisfaction arose from the fact that I never knew WHY we were successful when we were, and what had gone wrong or failed to go right when we weren't. Now I think maybe at last I know.
     Timothy Carey must be a delightful person. He's clear, enthusiastic without being overwhelming, and passionate about the promise of Perceptual Control Theory and the Method of Levels without sounding in the least like a True Believer. He says essentially that he'd drop it all in a minute if something demonstrably better came along, and I believe him. His book is a remarkable synthesis of scientifically based, rigorous thinking on the one-hand and human caring, openness, wonder, and plain common sense on the other.
      I found the book entrancing as I was led effortlessly from step to deeper step in my understanding -- well, effortlessly except for the chapter in which Carey delves most deeply into the Perceptual Control Theoretical underpinnings of the Method, which should come with a sign indicating how different it is from all the chapters which precede and follow it ("Warning! Swamp ahead! Enter at your own risk, and be prepared for some tougher slogging for a ways. But you'll probably find it's worth it!") In fact, once I recalibrated for the extra density of the prose, I found that chapter, too, clear and easy to follow, and helpful in understanding the rest of the book. But it WAS a bit of a shock at first, and made the transparent lucidity of the rest of the book even more impressive by contrast.
      Anyhow, there's a lot to like in this book: a truly revolutionary approach to and understanding of the psychotherapeutic process, a lot of terrific examples of what a MOL therapist might say (and clear explanations of why the specific words or moves don't matter but the underlying attitude the therapist takes matters decisively), quick examples of the kinds of issues clients might raise (I like Tim's use of a huge variety of people's names to keep the examples multiculturally human), superb summaries and intriguing "coming attractions."
      I'll be very interested to see how openly experienced therapists of various persuasions receive this work. In particular, I'll be interested to see whether it's just "engineering types" like Powers, Carey - and ME! - who are drawn to the rigor of this approach. (My wife was very turned off by the connotations of the very word "control" that lies at the base of the theory. Maybe others will be too?) I HOPE it's embraced far and wide: the human race is likely to be much the better for it.
      Thanks and kudos to Dag Forssell, Bruce Nevin, and of course Tim Carey for the labor of love that obviously lies behind this wonderful book!

Kalen Hammann, Owls Head, Maine, February 15, 2006

Kalen Hammann, Ph.D., founder of ReConnecting Works
workshop leader, corporate trainer, psychotherapist, and executive coach
"Kalen Hammann's work represents the best of neuropsychology, with a strong dose of common sense."

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