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When Helping Doesn't Help

What to Do When Your Client Doesn't Want to Change

David Burns

By David Burns - What if a client's resistance to change reveals something positive, beautiful, and even healthy about them—something that we’ve overlooked? If we can learn to put unconscious resistance front and center in our clinical work, we can lessen or even eliminate our clients’ resistance altogether.

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What Makes Couples Therapy Stick?

Three Ways to Maintain Progress Outside the Consulting Room

Carolyn Daitch

By Carolyn Daitch - Successfully combating and overriding firmly ingrained behaviors requires practice. It's our job as therapists to help clients learn how and when to practice these skills, and then make sure they go home and do it.

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What Comedians Can Teach Us About Therapy

A Comic-Turned-Therapist's Guide to Dealing with Unruly Clients

Kirsten Lind Seal

By Kirsten Lind Seal - Before I became a therapist, I spent 20 years as a professional performer, during which time I was a regular at standup comedy clubs. Many of the skills I learned as a performer have proven readily transferable to therapy, namely the skill of using humor to defuse tension, create alliance, and challenge what we often call resistance in difficult clients.

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Taking Charge with Difficult Teens

...And the Four Most Common Mistakes Therapists Make

Jerome Price and Judith Margerum

By Jerome Price and Judith Margerum - How does a therapist treat a struggle between a teenager and his or her parents? Therapies that advocate support without leadership fail, giving teenagers too much control. There are four common errors that therapists make with teenagers. They are surprisingly simple to grasp, and they always make matters worse.

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Breaking Through Therapeutic Gridlock

How to Respond When Clients Resist Your Advice

Jay Lappin

By Jay Lappin - As therapists, we need to be open to feedback, even criticism, as a means of deepening the therapeutic relationship. Establishing trust by moving beyond the reflex action of offering a solution and creating a context in which the possibility for transformation is greater than the pull of old patterns is hard work both for clients and for therapists.

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The Silver Lining in Failure

Not Every Teachable Moment Has to Be a Successful One

Cloe Madanes

By Cloe Madanes - The problem with a failure is that one doesn't really understand why one failed. If one did, it wouldn't have been a failure. But I'm not giving up on my toughest client, Bob. There's one strategy I still haven't used.

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Helping Clients Access Their True Selves

Dick Schwartz on Changing Outer Dialogues by Changing Inner Dialogues

Richard Schwartz

By Richard Schwartz - As clients embody more Self, their inner dialogues change spontaneously. They stop berating themselves and, instead, get to know, rather than try to eliminate, the extreme inner voices or emotions that have plagued them. Even clients who've shown little insight into their problems are suddenly able to trace the trajectory of their own feelings and emotional histories with startling clarity and understanding.

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Treating Self-Harm

Here's a Behavioral Contract That Clients Can Stick To

Lisa Ferentz

By Lisa Ferentz - I used to think that repetitive self-injury could only be seen as pathological, and through contracts and other means tried to convince my clients that this behavior would only cause more problems. Now, I know that my job isn't to browbeat clients into change, but introduce them to healthier behaviors that bring the relief cutting often provides. Here's a little bit about the behavioral contract I use.

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Transforming Anger into Compassion

A Five-Step Process for Dealing with Angry Clients

Steven Stosny

By Steven Stosny - Some therapists find themselves getting extremely reactive when clients lose their temper. Here's what you can do to better control your anger and anxiety in the presence of an angry client.

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Loving Our Devices

When Does Attraction Turn Into Addiction?

Lauren Dockett

By Lauren Dockett - More and more therapists, regardless of how they feel about internet addiction as a diagnosis, are advising clients about the healthy use of their digital devices.

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