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Here's Why Your Kids Won't Listen to You

The Old Rules of Family Togetherness No Longer Apply

Ron Taffel

By Ron Taffel - Like countless therapists, I've seen plenty of kids over the last couple of decades who appear to have been thoroughly hijacked by pop culture. How can we move beyond random success to identify some well-anchored and dependable clinical principles of working when old styles don't cut it with 21st-century families?

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What Therapists Need to Know About Working with Teenage Girls

Author Lisa Damour Explains the Seven Transitions into Adulthood

Ryan Howes

By Ryan Howes - In the following interview, New York Times columnist and author Lisa Damour gives us a glimpse at the map she’s developed for both therapists and parents trying to help teenage girls make their way through the treacherous, often bewildering landscape of adolescence in today’s world.

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How Play Reduces Anxiety

Playtime Principles for Therapy with Kids and Their Parents

Lawrence Cohen

By Lawrence Cohen - Parents of young, anxious children are often unsure of how to prepare them for a potentially upsetting event. Using play, however, can heal past upsets and prepare them for upcoming transitions. Here's how a powerful session with a mother and daughter clarified the principles that would come to guide my approach.

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Temperament: A Factor of Nature or Nurture?

How Therapists Can Help Us Accept and Break Free from Our Dispositions

Marian Sandmaier

New investigations are beginning to shed new light on a question that's hounded psychotherapy for more than a century: what's the relationship between nature and nurture, and what does it mean for the human project of change? As we come to understand more about the complex process of temperament development, therapists may be able to better help clients master one of life's trickiest balancing acts---making peace with one's inborn nature while knocking against its boundaries, in search of a larger self.

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The New Family Attachment of Parenting Adult Children

Martha Strauss on the Merits of Enduring Connection with Our Adult Children

Martha Straus

Just a generation ago, the child-rearing contract was clearly designed to last for about 18 years. By the time we'd finished high school, it was more than reasonable for our parents to assume that we'd move out and one way or another start to stand on our own two unsubsidized feet. But today, growing numbers of the emerging adults (and parents) I treat are trying to stay deeply connected, rather than separate from each other. These days, I'm working to support them, rather than to challenge their dependence.

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Where Do Therapists Stand on Marijuana Legalization?

Therapy Grapples with the Drug's Pros and Cons

Tori Rodriguez

More than 20 states have enacted laws to allow the sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and others have moved to reduce criminal penalties for possession of small amounts. But the more marijuana legalization reaches mainstream acceptance, the more the divisions of opinion within the mental health field---presumably the professionals who have the most scientifically informed perspective on the debate---become apparent.

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Lost in Electronica

Today's Media Culture is Leaving Boys at a Loss for Words

Adam Cox

My year treating high school boys taught me a lesson that still guides my work: if words are the currency of most interpersonal exchange, many boys are on the verge of social bankruptcy. When it comes to communication challenges, gender discrepancies are staggering. Boys make up 75 percent of special-education classes, are far more frequently diagnosed with syndromes ranging from ADHD to autism that involve social-learning problems, and account for nearly 80 percent of children identified as emotionally troubled. Our world is increasingly driven by communication and the need for emotional intelligence---attributes that generally don't come easily for boys---and they're clearly falling behind. In spite of the still-potent icon of the silent male in the American psyche, there are far fewer life options today---whether academic, career, or relational---that can accommodate a boy (or man) of few words.

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Hungry for Connection

10 Ways to Improve Your Therapy with Adolescent Girls

Martha Straus

Working with girls in therapy is what I do with the greatest interest and passion. Like many female therapists who have this specialty, I had my own tough times as a teenager. I have wells of empathy to draw on, and can stay attuned with them more easily than with males, or females of other ages. Our bond is implicit, and by being as fully authentic, connected, and present as I know how, I help them make it explicit. Thus the thoughts that follow are largely informed by my 20-odd years of experience treating adolescent girls and their families. They synthesize what's helped me forge alliances with them quickly and inspire change.

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The Divided Self

Inside the World of 21st Century Teens

Ron Taffel

While at first glance, 21st-century adolescents appear impossibly cool--cooler than we could have ever been ourselves--teens today are running hot. They're not just hormonally hot, but hot with cultural forces that have redefined the nature of their consciousness and experience of selfhood. Millennium kids live in a context that spawns fragmentation, what I call a "divided-self" experience: cool and often cruel on the surface, they hide surprisingly healthy passions beneath.

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