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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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Using Play to Connect Better with Kids in Therapy

How Modeling Play Can Help Children Heal Trauma, Alleviate Anxiety, and More

David Crenshaw • 1/27/2016 • 1 Comment

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. Because play is both releasing and disarming, it may be too threatening for the child to give up control sufficiently to enter into it. 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. But as when you're teaching children with attachment problems to tolerate emotions, this must be done gradually.

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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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