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Challenging the Cult of DSM

What Would Happen if We Stopped Playing the DSM Game?

Rich Simon • 5/27/2014 • 5 Comments

There’s something both startling and refreshingly direct about hearing Gary Greenberg’s no-holds-barred denunciation of the very idea of psychiatric diagnosis.

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Creating Adventure And Play In Therapy

How to Vitalize Your Therapeutic Style

Courtney Armstrong • 6/16/2014 • No Comments

The more we learn about the emotional brain, the clearer it becomes: to have real therapeutic impact, we need to create experiences that help clients learn to relate to themselves and the world in entirely new ways.

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Creating Adventure and Play in Therapy

How to Spark the Emotional Brain

Courtney Armstrong • 2/26/2016 • 1 Comment

By Courtney Armstrong - How many times have you surprised yourself by jumping at the scary part of a movie or shouting something hurtful at someone you love when you feel angry? You know the villain in the movie isn’t real and the insult to your loved one will only make things worse, but your emotional brain ignores this logic and leaps into action. The more we learn about the emotional brain, the clearer it becomes: to have real therapeutic impact, we need to create experiences that help clients learn to relate to themselves and the world in entirely new ways.

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Creative Therapy with the Humor Antidote

Using Playfulness to Move Stuck Clients Into Recovery

Cloe Madanes • 7/2/2015 • No Comments

When clients are deeply stuck, they have lost all sense of perspective, all capacity to see any possible humor or lightness in their problem or in their lives. Emotionally and cognitively, they’re trapped in their own sad story. In these cases, the approach that I’ve found most useful is a kind of soft shock therapy in the form of a humorous paradoxical directive. Playful, humorous strategies can be like therapeutic life preservers, which keep both therapist and client afloat until both can get back to shore. Humor reboots the emotions and enables us to look at our situation with fresh eyes.

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Embracing Creativity and Play in Therapy

Taking Risks in the Therapy Room to Create Change

David Waters • 3/3/2015 • 1 Comment

In these days of Managed Care and Therapeutic Minimalism, my biggest concern about therapy is that we don't ask enough of it. Too often, we don't push ourselves or our clients hard enough to make the changes that make a real difference in people's lives. It's taken me more than 30 years to realize that it's the combination of two strange bedfellows---imagination and repetition---that holds the key to change. To move clients out of their ruts, their numbness, and their stuck places, we need to get their attention and start their adrenaline going at a rate that wakes them up and helps them to experience the fullness of life again.

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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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Helping Children with Asperger's Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Behavioral Interventions to Help Children on the Spectrum Learn New Skills

Diane Yapko • 10/27/2015 • No Comments

Aaron, who has Asperger's syndrome (AS), has great difficulty intuitively understanding the intentions or feelings beneath the literal meanings of words. To him the world is a baffling place---he can't fathom why the other kids treat him the way they do, or what he might be doing that garners such consistently negative reactions. But both teachers and parents who understand how AS affects children can use small behavioral interventions throughout the day to help them learn new skills, such as understanding the nonverbal cues in facial expressions and tone of voice and adapting their own rigid desires and expectations in order to be more flexible and likeable to peers.

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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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How to Improve Your Therapy Using Play and Emotion

Why Good Therapy Means Tapping Into the Client's Emotional Brain

Courtney Armstrong • 1/5/2016 • No Comments

How many times have you surprised yourself by jumping at the scary part of a movie? You know the villain in the movie isn’t real, but your emotional brain ignores this logic and leaps into action. In essence, the emotional brain is our unconscious mind, and scientists estimate that it controls about 95 percent of what we do, think, and feel at any given moment. As therapists, we have to be a provocative guide, creating experiences that go beyond the intellect to reach a deeply human place, prompting clients to believe they can relate to themselves and the world in a new way.

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Our Habits, Ourselves

What Role Do Habits Play?

Rich Simon • 11/15/2013 • 3 Comments

Psychotherapy too often fails to help clients like myself make changes in their lives because of the blind spot at its core--it undervalues the central role our automatic habits play in our lives.

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