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.
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.
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.
Bill Doherty on Crafting the Right Language for the Right Therapy Outcome
Choosing the right words to open and close therapy sessions is one of the most important skills a clinician can master. But very few of us were taught how to do it. In this video clip, Bill Doherty explains how to jump start therapy from the very first minute of the very first session.
How to Have a Conversation About Politics in Therapy
In the following clip from his Symposium Keynote address, William Doherty offers an expanded vision of therapy and explains why clinicians are uniquely suited to serving as “connectors and trust-builders” to address the stress and anxiety many clients—and therapists—are feeling in the current political climate.
A Therapist's Journey through Key Cultural Moments in Our Field's History
By William Doherty - What follows is my take on the last 40 years of psychotherapy, reflecting the attitudes common within my generation of therapists. But beyond describing my own experience, it’s an attempt to offer the perspective that time and reflection make possible about what I now see as the intimate relationship between what goes on within the seeming sanctuary of therapists’ offices and the hurly-burly of the wider culture.
Bill Doherty Makes the Case for a Connected/Committed Self
By William Doherty - At this time of fragmentation and division, therapists need to recognize that we’re in the glue business. We know something about helping people connect, about how to form a healthy “we” out of self and other. But first our society needs us to recover our conviction and passionate intensity as a profession, our belief that we have something to offer beyond symptom reduction.