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The Perils of Paying Too Much Attention

A Guide for Attending to Clients Without Getting Burned Out

Christine Caldwell • 11/10/2017 • No Comments

By Christine Caldwell - We've all experienced what happens when get tied up in our clients' knotted lives. But how do we attune to our clients' experiences and not get knotted up ourselves? In essence, self-care becomes more than just taking enough time off, balancing our practice, and getting good supervision. It involves getting our bodies back.

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The Perils of Empathy at Full Throttle

Four Strategies to Protect Yourself Against Vicarious Traumatization

Babette Rothschild • 10/31/2017 • No Comments

By Babette Rothschild - Emergency relief or other work with traumatized people is always demanding and wearing: it frequently poses the risk of vicariously traumatizing caretakers, and yet, our field isn't well prepared to help them. And just talking about it may not be enough. Preventing and ameliorating vicarious traumatization requires us to pay as much attention to physical sensations as to emotional reactions.

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VIDEO: Richard Schwartz on Being a Compassionate Witness to Yourself

How Internal Family Systems Gives Traumatized Clients Their Power Back

Richard Schwartz • 9/6/2017 • No Comments

According to Richard Schwartz, the originator of Internal Family Systems therapy, the natural state of the mind is to be subdivided into parts, which carry the memories, beliefs, and emotions that make up what we call our personality. In the following video from his 2015 Networker Symposium keynote address, he explains how we can become healing attachment figures for these wounded inner parts.

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Six Things Therapists Are Saying After the Election

. . . And Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid to Call Out the Chicken Littles

Chris Lyford • 12/20/2016 • 2 Comments

By Chris Lyford - Regardless of where you stand politically, it’s hard to deny that the 2016 presidential election was one of the most stress-inducing in recent history. Democrats and Republicans alike continue to wrestle with lingering anxiety and tension. But none of this comes as a surprise to most therapists, who’ve been on the front lines of treating post-election stress. Here are some valuable lessons they’ve taken away from their recent work helping clients in these post-election times. 

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The Paradox of Acceptance

Richard Schwartz Shares What Wise Buddhists Have Known for Centuries

Richard Schwartz • 11/1/2016 • 4 Comments

By Richard Schwartz - We normally think of the attachment process as happening between caretakers and young children, but the more you explore how the inner world functions, the more you find that it parallels external relationships, and that we have an inner capacity to extend mindful caretaking to aspects of ourselves that are frozen in time and excluded from our normal consciousness.

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Breaking Free from the Cure Myth

Treating Anxiety and Depression as Chronic Conditions

Margaret Wehrenberg • 8/23/2016 • 2 Comments

By Margaret Wehrenberg - I’ve begun to put aside my idealized view that unless people overcome their difficulties once and for all, therapy is somehow a failure. More and more, that perspective seems simplistic and disconnected from the realities of what psychotherapy can actually provide. In fact, evidence continues to accumulate that many people who have anxiety and depression suffer bouts of it all their lives, even after a good response to therapy.

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Mindfulness Meets Internal Family Systems

Helping Clients Move from Acceptance to Transformation

Richard Schwartz • 6/22/2016 • No Comments

By Richard Schwartz - Many therapeutic attempts to integrate mindfulness help clients notice negative emotions from a place of separation and extend acceptance toward them. But what if it were possible to transform this inner drama, rather than just keep it at arm’s length? The goal of Internal Family Systems (IFS) is to build on this important first step of separating from and accepting these impulses, and then take a second step of helping clients transform them.

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Examining Our Identities and Biases in the Consulting Room

Kenneth Hardy on How to Properly Address Racial, Ethnic, and Sexual Differences

Ken Hardy • 1/21/2016 • 1 Comment

Anyone who wishes to move outside the consulting room to address racial, ethnic, or sexual differences must rely on the bedrock belief that everyone has redeemable parts, and you can find them if you have the will and the patience to look. The creation of "the other" is the dynamic at the heart of divorce and personal antagonisms, and it has always been central to racism, sexism, homophobia, and ethnic persecution. Since realizing this, I've come to see that my work isn't about educating the unenlightened: it's about helping people see the insidious impact of turning a person or a group into "the other."

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An Ethical Dilemma: When Therapy Clients Give Gifts

Reconciling Boundaries with the Therapeutic Alliance

Jenny Newsome • 4/22/2015 • 7 Comments

When I was young and only three years out of graduate school, one of my first private clients came into a session carrying a small package simply wrapped in brown paper and string. The memory of that package and how I reacted to it haunts me still. Inside, was a necklace, and not just any necklace: a gold chain with a diamond pendant that she had designed herself, worth about $500. I told her flatly that accepting something so expensive was against the ethical rules of my profession. Suddenly, I'd allowed other voices into the sanctuary of our therapy. Once they were there, I couldn't get them out.

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Empathy Becomes a Physical Force

The Wonders of Engaging Mirror Neurons in Therapy

Babette Rothschild • 12/16/2014 • 1 Comment

Empathy is the connective tissue of good therapy. It's what enables us to establish bonds of trust with clients, and to meet them with our hearts as well as our minds. Empathy enhances our insights, sharpens our hunches, and, at times, seems to allow us to "read" a client's mind. I first recognized the physical force of empathy as a college student. When I copied the swaggering gait of a cocky young man, for example, I'd momentarily feel more confident---even happier---than before. I found this secret street life fascinating and fun, but I didn't think much about it until a few years later, when I started practicing clinical social work.

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