Young Clients Are Leading Therapists to New Places
As they’re about to surpass baby boomers as the largest generation, millennials are coming to dominate the population of therapy consumers. But their impact goes beyond sheer numbers. With sometimes startling directness, they’re demanding that their therapists become even more “real” and disclosing, whether therapists are comfortable being that unguarded or not.
Highlights from the Networker Journey
Out of all the hundreds and hundreds of articles that have appeared in the Networker over the past four decades, we’ve chosen a small sampling that captures the magazine’s most journalistic side, conveying not so much the eternal verities of our profession, but the sense of reading a first draft of the field’s history. Among other things, you’ll find therapeutic methods that, as exciting as they seemed at the moment, didn’t stand the test of time as well as initial forays into discussing complex issues we’re still struggling with today. We’ve also added in a few examples of writing so immediate and compelling that they have an air of timelessness. Prepare yourself for an interesting journey.
Are Therapists Seeing a New Kind of Attachment?
We used to think that disordered attachment was the result of early parental neglect or abuse. But today, has a paradoxical mix of parental overinvolvement and inattention led to a social epidemic of pseudo-attachment?
The Search for the Unspoken Self
When we trust in ourselves to follow the signals of life that the patient emits in seemingly casual conversation, we increase chances of stepping outside the stable confines of our theoretical models to enjoy an unexpected encounter.
and What Therapists Can Do About It
American parents today face a perfect storm of cultural and social circumstances that undermine the very foundations of parental authority. In response, mothers and fathers are beginning to see therapists as irrelevant and to challenge the entire social, educational, and economic context of childrearing.
Treating the Nonhierarchical Family
Parenting and childhood today often seem to have more in common with abstract expressionism than with Norman Rockwell. But is this transformation of the nature of family norms and values such a bad thing?
Inside the World of 21st Century Teens
For decades before and after World War II, children all over the United States hung out, had slumber parties, made crank phone calls, and played sports unsupervised. They didn't need the help of adults to set up play dates or hand out certificates of participation. As we know all too well by now, we no longer live in that world. What's less apparent is that, despite the appearance of greater parental involvement and psychological sophistication, most adults are just as clueless about the "second family" of their children's peer group and adolescent pop culture as they ever were.
How Therapists can Help Today's Fearful Kids
Teens and preteens today pulsate with anxiety in a pressure-cooker youth culture and an explosive world, ever at the edge. Not that you'd know it when you first meet them. For the most part, they don't act particularly scared. But for all their apparent bravado, kids need the felt presence of adults—the undeniable evidence that we can be emotionally there for them, keeping them safe and providing them with the structure and guidance they crave in a frighteningly chaotic world. Nothing less seems to hold their anxiety, or capture their digital-speed, supersaturated attention.
Reinventing Therapy to Reach the New Teens
Lauren's mother, Margaret, loathed her 14-year-old daughter's weird new look--hair dyed bright orange, pierced eyebrow, Dracula makeup. But though Lauren looked bizarre and tended to stay out too late, she hadn't ever gotten into any real trouble. She was doing fine in school and seemed pleasant enough at home. Remembering the awful screaming fights with her own parents as a teen during the '60s, Margaret tried hard not to antagonize Lauren and to be understanding.
Adolescence has changed dramatically over the last two decades, and therapists will have to revise the way they work if they want to break through the wall that separates adults from teens. While the fundamental therapeutic skills--joining and motivating clients, listening actively and intuitively, clarifying issues and relationship patterns--are as relevant to successful therapy as ever, there are new applications for those skills that can make therapy more effective with today's crop of adolescents.