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When Three Threatens Two

Must Parenthood Bring Down the Curtain on Romance?

Esther Perel

By Esther Perel - Sex makes babies. So it is ironic that the child, the embodiment of the couple's love, so often threatens the very romance that brought that child into being. But the brave and determined couple who maintains an erotic connection is, above all, the couple who values it. They know that it's not children who extinguish the flame of desire: it's adults who fail to keep the spark alive.

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A Rare Moment of Self-Disclosure

Revealing Ourselves to Clients

Deborah Buckwalter

By Deborah Buckwalter - The first time I saw Michael, I could barely distinguish his form as human.  A young man in his 20s, Michael had been the sole survivor of a plane crash. The sight of him was unlike anything I’d witnessed before, as was his question that left me confronting everything I'd come to believe about therapist self-disclosure.

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Learning to Relish the Challenge

A Motivation Expert Weighs in on the Downside of Overpraise

Ryan Howes

By Ryan Howes - Should we praise children, students, clients, and ourselves for being smart people who earn top marks? According to motivation expert and bestselling author Carol Dweck, praising intelligence often creates people devoid of resilience and motivation. It’s far more important, she says, to enhance people’s ability to tackle adversity and persevere.

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When Victims Victimize Others

Using Empathy to Help Abusers Make Amends

Noel Larson

By Noel Larson - Throughout my career, countless people have asked me how I can work with clients who’ve committed sexual abuse, murdered their wives, or broken their children’s bones and spirits. My answer has always been the same: all I have to do is remember and feel in my heart the traumatized children my clients once were.

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When Grief, Guilt, and Anger Collide

Finding Meaning in Feelings That Can Complicate the Grieving Process

Sameet Kumar

By Sameet Kumar - While grief may never entirely fade, and the loss that caused it certainly won't be forgotten, it almost always changes and becomes incorporated into life, so the grieving person can move on. There are times, however, when grief doesn't take this relatively straightforward path toward resolution.

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Why the Current Trauma Model Fails Victims of Abuse

A New Way to Help Traumatized Clients Relieve Guilt, Shame, and Isolation

Susan Clancy

Today, after more than twenty-five years, predictions based on the trauma model have not proved accurate. There appears to be no direct, linear relationship between the severity of the abuse and the psychosocial difficulties victims experience in adulthood. Worst of all, we have developed no clearly effective treatments for sexual abuse victims. They continue to suffer from psychological and social problems in the aftermath of their abuse, and mental health professionals still have not reached a consensus as to exactly why or what precisely to do to help them recover. Here's what needs to change.

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Healing Early Attachment Injuries by Listening to Our Trauma

Using Sensorimotor Psychotherapy to Speak with Shameful Inner Parts

Janina Fisher

As therapists, we often encounter clients who are so mired in self-hatred that our best efforts to support a sense of self-worth only seem to dig the hole of judgment and self-loathing deeper. Eventually, I began to wonder if the resulting clinical quagmire might be a reflection of a kind of "internal attachment disorder" mirroring the emotional injuries of early childhood. Was it possible that alienation from self and others had become an essential survival strategy early in life? Using Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, I guide my clients in "befriending" the parts they unconsciously disown.

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Using Play in Therapy to Solve Emotional Problems

Why Creative Strategies are the Therapist's Best Tool

Courtney Armstrong

How many times have you surprised yourself by jumping at the scary part of a movie? It isn’t enough to be a kind, supportive guide on clients’ journeys. We have to be a provocative guide, creating experiences that trigger their curiosity and desire to know more. Human behavior and motivation are driven mostly by the emotional brain---the brain centers that mediate “primitive” emotions and instincts and respond to sensory-rich experiences, not intellectual insights.

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Does Prescription Medication Eliminate the Need for Therapy?

Michael Yapko on the Enduring Role of Talk Therapy

Michael Yapko

Americans have a history of valuing quick-fix solutions to difficult problems. But the simplistic psychopharmacological approach to depressive disorders underestimates the remarkable human capacity for self-transformation. We have the ability to use imagination and intelligence to change our life circumstances, our attitudes and emotions, even, to some extent, our personalities. It is the privilege of our profession to be able to help troubled people along this path, and though medications may make this journey less arduous, in the long run, therapists are indispensable for getting their clients to this destination.

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Hypnotic Language in the Consulting Room

Bill O'Hanlon on the Power of Giving Permission in Therapy

Bill O'Hanlon

As therapists, we must recognize the complexity and ambivalence at the core of human experience. People run into problems when their lives are dictated by rigid beliefs that make the stories they're living out too restrictive, for example: "I must always be perfect," or "I should always smile and be happy." But permission counters these commands and prohibitions. The therapist who offers permission goes beyond accepting clients as they are and moves into encouraging them to expand their life stories and their sense of themselves.

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