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VIDEO: Helping Clients Envision Personal Transformation

...While Still Validating Their Pain

Courtney Armstrong

How do you help clients access resourceful states when they’re feeling hopeless and helpless? In this short video, trauma specialist Courtney Armstrong explains.

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The Siren's Song of Neuroscience

Neural Reductionism Puts Therapists—and Their Clients—on a Slope of Declining Responsibility

Rick Hanson

By Rick Hanson - It’s perfectly natural to be enthralled by the explosive growth of neuroscience. But people come to therapists because they want something to change: they want to feel or act differently or understand themselves or others better. These changes of mind, of course, require changes of brain. But in many ways, the essence of therapy is developing inner strengths.

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My Greatest Clinical Learning Experience

Finding the "Genuine Hero" in Even Your Most Troubled Clients

Lisa Ferentz

By Lisa Ferentz - In the early days of the trauma field, clients were seen as one-dimensional bundles of dysfunction and pain, who needed to relive their trauma before progress could be made. But an increased interest in post-traumatic growth has allowed many therapists to see that insight and healing can occur not only in the midst of devastating experiences, but even because of them.

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Couples Therapy with a Positive Spin

How to Accomplish Something in Every Session

Ellen Wachtel

By Ellen Wachtel - Doing couples therapy isn’t easy. But often there are implicit positives in statements in which the main point is anger, disappointment, and hurt. With practice, therapists can learn to pick up on the strengths that are embedded in painful emotions.

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The Beethoven Factor

Three Qualities of People Who Triumph Under Adversity

Paul Pearsall

By Paul Pearsall - Quantum leaps of thriving sometimes happen. However, most thrivers rarely recognize their invincibility in a short period of magnificent epiphany. Like Ludwig van Beethoven, they have periods of dismal lows and unrealistic highs. Through it all, thrivers maintain the key characteristic of thriving.

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A Positive Psychology Approach to Aging Well

Four Lessons for Growing Old with a Positive State of Mind

Robert Hill

By Robert Hill - The question of interest in the 21st century has turned from "How long will I live?" to "If I'm going to live a long time, how can I be happy in the process?" From a practical point of view, it would seem that growing old portends misery, not happiness. However, in spite of the harsh realities of aging, most of us believe that old age is still worthwhile. Here's why.

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Are You Suffering from Planetary Anguish?

Reversing Climate Change May Not Be Beyond Our Reach

Mary Pipher

By Mary Pipher - We live in a culture of denial, especially about the grim reality of climate change. Sure, we want to savor the occasional shrimp cocktail without having to brood about ruined mangroves, but we can’t solve a problem we can’t face.

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Does Positive Psychology Really Work?

A Myth Buster Reveals the Truth Behind Martin Seligman's Happiness Movement

Barbara Ehrenreich

By Barbara Ehrenreich - The central claim of positive psychology, as of positive thinking generally, is that happiness is not only desirable in and of itself but actually useful, leading to better health and greater success. But is this actually the case, or is positive psychology nothing more than pop science?

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Positive Psychology: Does It Really Work?

Taking a Critical Look at Martin Seligman's Pursuit of Happiness

Barbara Ehrenreich

Happy or positive people seem to be more successful at work. They're more likely to get a second interview while job hunting, get positive evaluations from superiors, resist burnout, and advance up the career ladder. There are scores of studies showing that happy or optimistic people are likely to be healthier than those who are sour-tempered and pessimistic. But most of these studies---the basis of positive psychology---only establish correlations and tell us nothing about causality: Are people healthy because they're happy or happy because they're healthy?

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Positive Psychology Revisits Depression Therapy

Martin Seligman and the Positive Thinking Movement

Richard Handler

Americans spend $76 billion a year on antidepressants and additional millions on talk therapy for depression. But Positive Psychology, as popularized by former American Psychological Association president and bestselling author Martin Seligman,

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