Taking Your Work Beyond the Consulting Room
Most therapists would consider themselves agents of change for their clients. But can (and should) they become voices for change in the larger community? What about when it comes to weighing in on political matters? According to therapist Bill Doherty, clinicians have the capability—and sometimes a duty—to speak up.
...It's a Conversational Craft
What do the masters of truly good therapy have in common? According to couples therapist Bill Doherty, they know how to balance their desire to guide therapy with their ability to empathically listen. It's this quality that drives home the truth about therapy—at its heart, this work isn't a science. It's a craft.
Learning to Separate Our Hopes for Our Clients from Their Goals for Themselves
By William Doherty - Are therapists more like shamans or family doctors? Explorers of human depths or more like Siri on your iPhone, just directing you from one place to another? I'm a skeptic about whether any clinical approach is good at getting clients consistently to the promised land of transformation. Maybe therapy is better understood as being about breakthroughs—small, medium, and large—rather than about transformation.
What Are We Promising Our Clients?
Decades ago, trainees in our field were imbued with the notion that therapy was about transformation: big, dramatic changes in the direction of self-actualization. Was this an overpromise? And now, when the average length of therapy in the United States is less than eight sessions, is it even desired by clients anymore, or necessary for successful therapy?
Divorced Couples Are Saying Something Important about Regret
By William Doherty - When I began my therapy practice, I was strictly neutral about divorce. It was the clients’ decision, not mine, and not much different from career choices and deciding whether to stay or leave a job. But eventually, I was propelled out of my denial about the seriousness of divorce. We have a hundred ways to ask “What would be right for you?” and hardly any to ask “What would be right for others in your life?”
One Therapist Hits the Road with the Better Angels to Find Out
By William Doherty - After the 2016 Presidential election, I discovered a new professional mission—to work on healing the divide among ordinary Americans—or in couples therapy terms, to prevent a long-term civic divorce. Through an organization called Better Angels, I decided to embark on a bus tour to see what I could learn about shifting the standoff between Red and Blue America.
Tales from the Better Angels Bus Tour
There’s a troubling trend toward viewing people who differ from us politically not just as uninformed or misguided, but as ill-motivated and dangerous. Through an organization called Better Angels, a couples therapist and an intrepid group of other concerned citizens embark on a bus tour to see what they can learn about shifting the standoff between Red and Blue America.
Creating Space for a Conversation About Civic Commitments
Sometimes our clients have commitments to groups or causes that enrich their lives and social connections. But very often, says couples therapist Bill Doherty, therapists don't inquire about these elements of our clients' lives. In fact, he adds, there seems to be a bias against doing so. In the following clip from his 2017 Networker Symposium Keynote address, Doherty explains how exploring civic commitments can also advance therapy.
Being an Effective, Ethical Therapist in an Age of Political Upheaval
What does it mean to be a dutiful citizen and an effective therapist in the modern day? This is the central question Bill Doherty posed in his keynote address at the 2017 Networker Symposium. In the following video clip from that speech, Doherty explains how we can effectively and ethically deal with political stress in the consulting room.
Reevaluating What's Appropriate to Discuss in Therapy
It's no surprise that, with all the political infighting going on, many people are anxious about the direction of our country. But is there room to discuss political matters with clients, or does this constitute an ethical breach? According to therapist Bill Doherty, clinicians are not only well-equipped to discuss politics, but sometimes have a duty to do so. In the following video clip from his 2017 Networker Symposium Keynote address, Doherty explains how to get the ball rolling.