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VIDEO: Dafna Lender on Harnessing Your Social Engagement System

Strategies for Building the Therapeutic Alliance More Easily

Dafna Lender • 11/7/2018 • No Comments

We all know therapists who seem magically able to establish a powerful sense of trust and connection with even the most distrusting clients. But are there specific behaviors common to exceptionally gifted therapists that we can study, practice, and cultivate?

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What to Say When Clients Push Your Buttons

How to Spot, Confront, and Correct Self-Defeating Patterns

Wendy Behary • 3/27/2018 • 2 Comments

By Wendy Behary - There are ways to deliver profoundly effective, on-the-spot responses during difficult encounters—ways that can mobilize you and restore the receptive, flexible, and empathically attuned you. I've chosen a small sample of a long list of examples that colleagues and trainees have shared with me over the years, including my own personal favorites.

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Listening to the Body's Story

In Couples Therapy, Sitting With Sensations Can Have a Surprising Effect

Molly Layton • 3/8/2018 • 1 Comment

By Molly Layton - Even with two people sitting quietly, an interpersonal space isn't an empty space—it's alive with a peculiar quality. These days, in certain intractable situations, I keep discovering how much getting couples to focus on the immediacy of their bodily sensations can change the entire flow and direction of what takes place in my office.

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How To Stop Couples Conflict Before It Even Starts

...And the Five Life Factors That Contribute to Intensifying Anger Arousal

W. Robert Nay • 2/27/2018 • No Comments

By W. Robert Nay - Therapy often involves entirely too much talking about new skills the client should put into place, but not enough rehearsing. Just as exposure training reduces anxiety to feared situations, having couples rehearse conflict makes them feel less threatened as they learn new ways of responding to old anger triggers.

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Making Space for Race

Creating and Holding Connection with Black Teenagers

Ken Hardy • 1/23/2018 • No Comments

By Ken Hardy - Therapy with teenagers has to be about creating and holding a connection. As a therapist, I'm like a spider trying to lure my clients into a web that will support them. While I try to use the context of racism to help African American teenagers understand their situations, verbalize, and vent their feelings, I also want them to develop inner resources and tools for handling the adversity they face in more useful and productive ways.

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My Nightmare Client, My Greatest Gift

Sometimes Our "Worst" Clients Are Our Best Teachers

Martha Straus • 1/6/2018 • 1 Comment

By Martha Straus - My young client, Brian, can reduce even confident mid-life adults to an infantile puddle, one provocative comment at a time. He's a therapist's nightmare. But he’s also the universe's gift to me. He measures my commitment to the work, to him, to my ideas about therapy, to my best self.

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When Therapy Takes a Personal Toll

A Therapist Working with Abusers Reaches a Crossroads

Michelle Cacho-Negrette • 10/17/2017 • No Comments

By Michelle Cacho-Negrette - I made my first appointment with Gloria one autumn afternoon. I needed a still point, a peaceful promontory in the ocean of loud, unrepentant excuses I heard daily from the men I treated in a batterer-intervention program, men who committed unspeakable violence against those they claimed to love.

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Transforming Anger into Compassion

A Five-Step Process for Dealing with Angry Clients

Steven Stosny • 10/5/2017 • No Comments

By Steven Stosny - Some therapists find themselves getting extremely reactive when clients lose their temper. Here's what you can do to better control your anger and anxiety in the presence of an angry client.

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The New Anatomy of Emotion

How Brain Science Can Teach Couples Emotional Literacy

Brent Atkinson • 10/5/2017 • 1 Comment

By Brent Atkinson - Even among couples who do make progress in therapy, a disheartening chunk relapse. Why? A lack of emotional literacy. Good clinicians help couples effectively calm their anger and fear circuits as well as stimulate the more vulnerable, connection-generating states. The therapist acts as a kind of neural chiropractor, making regular, finely tuned adjustments to each partner's out-of-sync brain.

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Coping and Learning After a Client's Suicide

A Therapist Reflects on What He Might Have Done Differently

Frank Pittman • 9/7/2017 • 2 Comments

By Frank Pittman - I've been in full-time private practice for almost 30 years. In that time, three patients in my practice killed themselves. Each suicide has left me shell-shocked and questioning my therapeutic attitudes and methods. I did not expect Adam to be one of my casualties.

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