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Psychotherapy's Role in the Wider World

The Case for a New Kind of Self

William Doherty

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.

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VIDEO: What Therapy and Surgery Have in Common

Crafting the Right Language for the Right Outcome

William Doherty

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 short video clip, Bill Doherty explains how to jump start therapy from the very first minute of the very first session.

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Therapy, the Conversational Craft

Strategies for Improving Your Therapeutic Conversation Skills

William Doherty

By Bill Doherty - In this era of medical necessity and evidence-based therapies, it's easy to lose sight of the basic truth that psychotherapy is a special form of conversation: we heal not through prescriptions and procedures, but through talking and listening. What if we think of therapy as a conversational craft that we hone over a career with our clients and with a community of conversational healers?

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The Two Essential Ingredients for a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship

John Gottman's Latest Research from the "Love Lab"

John Gottman

By John Gottman - What the latest research from my lab is telling us is that trust and commitment are both the key ingredients for being in love with your partner for a lifetime, and for having your marriage be a safe haven. These are the ingredients for not just loving your partner, but being in love with your partner.

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VIDEO: Addressing Political Stress in the Consulting Room

Reevaluating What's Appropriate to Discuss in Therapy

William Doherty

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.

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When Stagnation Sets In

Getting Off the Therapeutic Plateau

William Doherty

By William Doherty - Why do we get stuck in "Groundhog Day therapy"—cases in which we spin our wheels from session to session? Before lurching on to alternative treatment strategies, the key to progress is recognizing the need to shift the therapist–client relationship.

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Is Therapy About Transformation, or Small Breakthroughs?

Learning to Separate Our Hopes for Our Clients from Their Goals for Themselves

William Doherty

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.

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Can We Help Heal Divided Communities?

One Therapist Hits the Road with the Better Angels to Find Out

William Doherty

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.

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VIDEO: Bill Doherty on the Rewards of Civic Commitment

Creating Space for a Conversation About Civic Commitments

William Doherty

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.

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VIDEO: Bill Doherty on the New Challenges of Social Engagement

Being an Effective, Ethical Therapist in an Age of Political Upheaval

William Doherty

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.

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