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So Your Client Doesn't Want to Connect?

The Paradoxical Effect of Trying Too Hard

Steven Shapiro • 5/19/2017 • No Comments

By Steven Shapiro - What stands in the way of connecting effectively? I've found that the major difficulty stems, paradoxically enough, from trying too hard. Even if they're highly motivated to get into therapy, many clients have only limited tolerance for emotional connection, interpersonal closeness, and sympathetic concern. Here are three guidelines that may help you form a solid alliance with your hard-to-reach clients.

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Keeping it Real with Your Teen Clients

...And the One Mistake Too Many Clinicians Make

Janet Sasson Edgette • 4/30/2017 • No Comments

By Janet Sasson Edgette - For many teenagers, few things are less appealing than the prospect of talking with adults. Can you blame them? Too often, adults quickly refashion conversations into know-it-all lectures, boring monologues, or annoying reprimands. Here are some approaches to building conversation that allow you to connect with young clients without making them feel self-conscious, pounced upon, or called out.

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Affair Repair

Two Contradictions That Can Help Couples on the Brink Restore Connection

Michele Weiner-Davis • 4/1/2017 • 1 Comment

By Michele Weiner-Davis - Couples therapy can be difficult and dicey, especially when there’s an affair in the mix. To keep afloat in the emotional tumult, most therapists cling to certain hard-and-fast rules that form the foundation of their work. One therapist learns some surprising lessons when she reevaluates those tenets.

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The Mentor Who Changed My Therapy Practice

…And How Two Little Words Changed Everything

Chris Lyford • 3/3/2017 • No Comments

By Chris Lyford - While therapeutic skill is the product of years of practice and self-determination, most clinicians need a mentor: someone who takes them under their wing and inspires them to be a better therapist. The five clinicians whose stories you’re about to read all agree on one thing: seeing how their mentors practice left an indelible mark on their personal and professional development that still resonates today.

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VIDEO: Stephen Porges on How Trauma Affects Our Ability to Connect

The Science Behind Healthy Relationships

Stephen Porges • 12/28/2016 • 1 Comment

Stress responses aren't only vested within the sympathetic nervous system’s capacity to support fight-or-flight behaviors. There’s another defense system that’s mediated through a vagal circuit, says Stephen Porges, creator of the Polyvagal Theory. In the following video from his 2016 Networker Symposium keynote address, he explains how the vagus nerve is affected by trauma, and what this means for our ability to build meaningful relationships.

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The Empathy Gap

Digital Culture Needs What Talk Therapy Offers

Sherry Turkle • 11/30/2016 • 1 Comment

By Sherry Turkle - Digital connection is a way to keep my job simple and my life tidier. But we have to remember why it’s important to be the messy, complex, people that we are. We have to support each other in remembering that the kind of conversations that may seem old-fashioned are actually, of our moment, and most necessary and essential. Right now, digital culture closes down the questions that talk therapy knows how to open up.

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Rediscovering Connection in a Fractured World

Love Exists in the Most Ordinary Places. Here's How to Find It

Barbara Fredrickson • 11/8/2016 • 3 Comments

By Barbara Fredrickson - At work, you and your teammates celebrate a shared triumph with hugs and high fives. On your morning jog, you smile and nod to greet fellow runners and silently wish them a good day. After a trip that’s kept you apart for too many days, you share a long embrace with a family member. Can these everyday moments be called love? What exactly is love?

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Are You a "Permaparent"?

Your Adult Child Just Moved Back Home. But Is It Normal?

Martha Straus • 10/14/2016 • No Comments

By Martha Straus - Today, about 25 million young adults between between 18 and 34 are currently residing with their parents. In its basic form, this story holds that most emerging adults still living at home are wretched, entitled, or manipulative. But the new bungee family offers emerging adults---and our fragmented social fabric---a healing alternative, one that's injecting the best social capital available into the human mix.

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VIDEO: Susan Johnson on the Power of Emotion

The Secret Ingredient in Good Therapy

Susan Johnson • 9/12/2016 • 3 Comments

Emotion is the most important motivating force bringing clients to our offices in the first place. Nevertheless, therapists are often strangely queasy in the presence of strong emotion. In this clip from her 2013 Symposium keynote address, Susan Johnson offers a vivid picture of how we can take full therapeutic advantage of the emotional force field to propel the process of change.

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What Is Mentalization?

How One Approach is Helping Clients Better Understand Themselves and Others

Steven Krugman • 8/9/2016 • 2 Comments

By Steven Krugman - Mentalization refers to the mind’s innate capacity to make sense of social experiences and implicitly know how to respond to them. But while mentalization fosters an empathic awareness of the moods and mindsets of others, it also enables us to know what our own states of mind and body mean.

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