Book Review: Behind the Counselor’s Door by Kevin Kuzcynski

March 21, 2015 Blog, Book Reviews, Create Serenity 0

Book Review: Behind the Counselor’s Door by Kevin KuzcynskiBehind the Counselor's Door by Kevin Kuzcynski
Published by Health Communications, Incorporated on 2015-03-24
Genres: Adolescence, Emotions & Feelings, General, Juvenile Nonfiction, Social Issues
Pages: 216
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads

Enter the office of Kevin Kuczynski, licensed high school counselor... A lot of things go on behind Mr. Kuczynski's closed doors ... shouting, crying, talking, finger-pointing, and yes, the slamming of doors.  Students, families, teachers, friends, enemies—they all contribute to the often complicated and heart-wrenching drama that plays out in hearts and minds behind those closed doors. Sometimes the stories turn out poorly, but sometimes they end in unimaginable joy. Kuczynski's goal in writing this book is not to create a 'reality show in a book,' but to use the stories of turmoil and struggle that have unfolded before him as a teaching opportunity. It is to engage teenagers mentally and emotionally so that they develop better choice-making skills and cultivate their ability to succeed despite seemingly unsurmountable obstacles and challenges.  In Behind the Counselor's Door, counselor Kuczynski opens the doors to his office just enough for us to peer into the cauldron of emotional turmoil within and experience some of the emotional events of his many years of high school counseling: home and family chaos, the regret of a one-night-stand, the mind-erasing effects of partying too hard, an unexpected pregnancy prior to graduation, and the crushing impact of drugs and alcohol. And, of course, there are still the suicides, the abuses, peer pressure and more to confront. Yet, this is not a book about just the dark side of life and it's not about making lemonade out of lemons, either. It's about finding the seeds, planting a tree and making lemonade for the rest of life. Teenagers will empathize with the trials and tribulations in the students' stories, but behind those closed doors are also ingredients for making life a success: perseverance, achievement, inspiration, accomplishment, affirmation, self-confidence, and so much more. When teenagers take the journey with Mr. Kuczynski, don't be surprised when they come back people of character and conviction, ready to climb mountains and achieve greatness.

My Thoughts

I found this to be not quite condescending, but patronizing at times. If this is written for teens then at least talk with them not TO them. I realize teens are not exactly adults but they are smart and they know when they are being pandered to. Teens do not need someone to tell them to do their homework, they want someone to listen to their issues. And yes, the author does listen but it seems that he is too busy telling his side of things and the way he sees it for this to be a real teenage confessional.

This was an interesting but not very compelling book. I am excited about learning and being in the same business, however, I would never speak to kids the way the author speaks. Even in writing I was wondering where the vocabulary words are. It is as if he thinks because teens do not do their homework they cannot understand a word above three syllables. Since I was a troubled teen, I know this is not the case! The way he writes bothered me the most. I could not get seriously take anything from the book while he was being so nearly condescending. Just because a teen is troubled, does not mean they are stupid! My 7 year old niece’s vocabulary words are more difficult than most of the words in this. Why is that? I think that speaks clearly to how he feels about teens.

And that is not to say that the book is not interesting, because it is. But I do not plan to counsel teens in this way. I am confused by his writing because I am not sure this would compel any teen, especially those that are troubled, to read this book. Instead of patronizing, bring them up to our levels and teach them to be better people. He did try that I just do not think it was executed well.

In short… some sections are more provocative than others. But for the most part I am curious how many teens will actually read this. I think it would have been better if his audience were professionals and parents and his overall narration was produced differently. For the most part, the ideas are there and the his willingness to help comes through.

 

 

The Author

Kevin Kuczynski, MA, LLPC, LSC, BCPC is a counselor at Cousino High School in Warren, Michigan, providing responsive including counseling, consultation, referral, and peer mediation. He also helps students establish personal goals and develop future plans including college and career planning. He brings a wealth of private practice experience, where he specialized in adolescent, family, and marital therapy. He received his bachelor’s degree from Cedarville University and his master’s degree from Liberty University. He has been involved with various professional organizations over the years including the Macomb County Counseling Association. He is a current member of the American Psychotherapy Association, the American School Counseling Association and currently serves on the advisory board for a large private counseling center in Southeast Michigan. He has published in the Student Assistance Journal as well as other resources.

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