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VIDEO: Janet Edgette on Getting Real with Kids in Therapy

The Perils of Being Too Empathic

Janet Sasson Edgette

We all want to build strong relationships with our clients, but when working with adolescents, don’t overdo the empathy, says therapist Janet Edgette. Edgette says a common pitfall in working with young adults is being too nice and too eager to be liked. Use too much "therapy talk" and ignore obnoxious behavior, and you run the risk of seeming unnatural and alienating them.

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Temperament: A Factor of Nature or Nurture?

How Therapists Can Help Us Accept and Break Free from Our Dispositions

Marian Sandmaier

New investigations are beginning to shed new light on a question that's hounded psychotherapy for more than a century: what's the relationship between nature and nurture, and what does it mean for the human project of change? As we come to understand more about the complex process of temperament development, therapists may be able to better help clients master one of life's trickiest balancing acts---making peace with one's inborn nature while knocking against its boundaries, in search of a larger self.

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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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Psychotherapy Enters the Assisted Suicide Debate

Untangling the Controversy Behind the Right-to-Die Movement

Jordan Magaziner, Jordan Magaziner

At a time when medical technology has become increasingly adept at keeping people alive, some people are voicing a feeling within a growing part of the population that the goal may not always be keeping a terminally ill person alive at all costs. But even though there's support for the idea that, under certain circumstances, it might be more humane to help people at the end of life bring about their own death peacefully and quickly, the right-to-die effort is plagued with controversy.

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Rebranding Therapy for the Modern Day

Leaving the DSM Behind, Boosting Creativity, and Reinvigorating Your Clinical Work

William Doherty

Psychotherapy as we know it came out of the particular cultural milieu of the mid- to late-20th century. But the culture has moved on, and we haven’t adapted very well. As a result, we’re suffering the same fate as many other professions that have declined in their cultural support and public clout. Many of us are practicing in another century for another culture. It’s still unclear what we have to offer in a world that’s both hyperconnected and fragmented. What to do? Here’s a road map to a future of relevance.

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Assessing the State of Psychotherapy

Is Today's Therapy Losing Out to Science and Psychopharmacology?

Mary Sykes Wylie

The bad news was made official in 2010, though everybody in the head-shrink business had long suspected as much: psychotherapy was in decline, or even in freefall. You might think this trend represents people’s preferences for the quick fix of a pill, rather than a slog through talk therapy, but you’d be wrong: surveys have consistently shown that depressed and/or anxious people and their families would rather talk to a real, live, human therapist than fill a prescription. So in what appears to be the twilight of the psychopharm gods, why aren’t therapy practitioners rising up, throwing off their chains, and reconquering lost mental health territory?

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The Rise of Therapy's Positive Psychology Movement

Martin Seligman Injects Thinking Positively into the Therapy World

Mary Sykes Wylie

How did Martin Seligman come to be known as the "father" of something called positive psychology, a movement that could change the face of psychotherapy as we know it? With his scientific study of what makes people happy and good, Seligman overturned therapy's culture of victimology, obsessed with the study of what's wrong with people---with their emotional lives, their relationships, their physical brains, and why they fail and feel bad. If people could be taught to feel bad, Seligman supposed, perhaps they could also be taught to feel good.

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Sensory Integration Therapy for Defiant Children

When Faulty Sensory Processing Affects Behavior

Karen Smith

In our culture, we don't take kindly to children who refuse to do what they are told. We label them with euphemisms, such as difficult, willful or spirited. When these kids show up in my office as early as age 3 or 4, their parents---often tearful, angry, guilt ridden---want quick advice about how to win the battles they are losing. Because we assume that these children are neurologically and physiologically capable of doing what we ask them to do, we may describe them as inattentive, hyperactive or clumsy and complain that they are stubborn, angry or oppositional. In fact, they are all of those things---but for a reason. That reason is faulty sensory processing.

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Therapy: Ally to Memory Recollection?

Elizabeth Loftus Revisits False Memory Controversy

Ryan Howes

In the late 1980s and 1990s, after the growing recognition that child abuse was far more prevalent than had been believed, an increasingly vocal adult survivors’ movement began to form, determined to bring to light the previously ignored subject of child abuse. During this period, research psychologist Elizabeth Loftus emerged as the most prominent public critic of the notion that memories of childhood abuse could be recovered years later. In this interview, she reflects on her role in the memory wars of the 1990s and whether our increasing understanding of the brain has illuminated the difference between real and false memories.

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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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