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How Play Reduces Anxiety

Playtime Principles for Therapy with Kids and Their Parents

Lawrence Cohen • 8/21/2017 • No Comments

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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Bringing Out Your Inner Performer

How to Create a Therapy Experience Your Clients Will Remember

Robert Taibbi • 6/5/2017 • No Comments

By Robert Taibbi - In many ways, therapy resembles improv more than stand-up comedy, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take a lesson from Louis C.K. and pay closer attention to not only what we say, but how we say it, ensuring that we, too, can maximize our impact, even if it’s on an audience of one.

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Inhabiting the Moment with Traumatized Teens

Three Strategies to Rewire Young Brains for Safety and Attachment

Martha Straus • 5/18/2017 • No Comments

By Martha Straus - What we therapists have to offer our young clients, more than anything, is our well-regulated, fully developed adult brain, with its mature capacity for awareness, perspective, appraisal, curiosity, and forgiveness on full display. According to the approach I use, Developmental-Relational Therapy, we’re both the mechanism of change and the intervention. Here are a few strategies that can rewire the teen brain for safety and intimacy.

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What Therapists Can Learn from Improv

Three Rules for Being More Energetic and Interactive in Sessions

Robert Taibbi • 5/16/2017 • 3 Comments

By Robert Taibbi - I started improv several years ago. It showed me how to be freer and more creative, providing a unique way of approaching relationships that's generous rather than closed, organic rather than scripted. While the theory and skills of therapy form the foundation of clinical practice, we have little foundation for the creativity that good therapy demands. Doing improv made me wonder whether applying these rules might make me more creative in my work and personal life.

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The Healing Power of Play

Helping Traumatized Kids Feel Safe and Happy Again

David Crenshaw • 4/11/2017 • No Comments

By David Crenshaw - When children are too anxious, afraid, or traumatized to play, they can't utilize this natural resource of childhood to relieve a painful emotional state. Instead, they must use their energy to compartmentalize the trauma, keeping it out of direct awareness. Child therapists can help children reclaim this vital feature of emotional self-regulation by teaching, modeling, and setting the stage for the child to play.

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What Talking About Fantasy Can Do for Couples Therapy

...And Four Questions to Get the Conversation Started

Tammy Nelson • 3/27/2017 • 1 Comment

By Tammy Nelson - Sexual boredom often results from the assumption by each partner that there's no longer anything new to discover about the other, or about their sex life together. I've found that a therapist can alleviate such sexual ennui by helping each partner reveal previously undisclosed erotic fantasies. This apparently simple step can lead to new ways of seeing and experiencing the partner and the self.

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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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Helping Children Master Anxiety with a Superhero's Gusto

An Exercise to Put Young Clients in the Therapeutic Driver's Seat

Lynn Lyons • 11/11/2016 • 2 Comments

By Lynn Lyons - Why are our children so anxious and getting more so? At first, the epidemic of childhood anxiety disorders seems puzzling. After all, we live in the age of “helicopter parents” and ubiquitous child professionals. But too often in our anxiety to stop the anxiety, we surround the child with an anxiety-reinforcing system fixated on protecting the child from any twinge of the dreaded disease. Imposing this array of deeply caring adults not only rewards the anxiety, but encourages it to consume ever more of the child’s life.

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The Transgender Journey

What Role should therapists play?

Jean Malpas • 4/15/2016 • No Comments

By Jean Malpas - Many parents confront new definitions of gender as pioneers, some never having heard the word transgender or cisgender before, all of them hacking their way through a wilderness of confusion, panic, and shame. As we work together, they slowly begin to understand---and act on---what we’ve found to be three essential elements of healing.

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Helping Parents Guide their Child's Moral Development

Nurturing Children's Capacity for Empathy, Kindness, and Emotional Connection

Lawrence Cohen • 3/9/2016 • No Comments

By Lawrence Cohen - Though you may have to dig for examples, most children have some capacity for empathy, cooperation, and kindness. A great deal of parental worry comes from not realizing that the aspects of a healthy conscience develop unevenly and that the road to morality is slow and bumpy. Many children understand what’s right, but can’t muster the self-regulation to do it. Here are some specific scenarios to help parents mirror their children in a playful manner, offer knowledge, and understand them without judgment or shame.

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