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Being a Provocative Guide

To Keep Clients Tuned In, Sometimes Our Work Has to Be Twice as Interesting as Their Problems

Courtney Armstrong

By Courtney Armstrong - 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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What Therapists Can Learn from Improv

Three Rules for Being More Energetic and Interactive in Sessions

Robert Taibbi

By Robert Taibbi - I started improv several years ago. It showed me how to be freer and more creative, providing a unique way of approaching relationships that's generous rather than closed, organic rather than scripted. While the theory and skills of therapy form the foundation of clinical practice, we have little foundation for the creativity that good therapy demands. Doing improv made me wonder whether applying these rules might make me more creative in my work and personal life.

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The Healing Power of Play

Helping Traumatized Kids Feel Safe and Happy Again

David Crenshaw

By David Crenshaw - 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. Instead, they must use their energy to compartmentalize the trauma, keeping it out of direct awareness. 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.

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What Talking About Fantasy Can Do for Couples Therapy

...And Four Questions to Get the Conversation Started

Tammy Nelson

By Tammy Nelson - Sexual boredom often results from the assumption by each partner that there's no longer anything new to discover about the other, or about their sex life together. I've found that a therapist can alleviate such sexual ennui by helping each partner reveal previously undisclosed erotic fantasies. This apparently simple step can lead to new ways of seeing and experiencing the partner and the self.

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The Power of Play

How to Use a Fast Road to Connection with Children

Dafna Lender

By Dafna Lender - If my experience is any indication, most beginning therapists are also offered little to no basic training in clinical work with kids. Why is this? The kinds of interventions that are most effective with children are based in play. Play is a remarkably powerful therapeutic tool, backed up by cutting-edge research, and teaching families how to apply it at home can bring about profound systemic changes.

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How Play Reduces Anxiety

Playtime Principles for Therapy with Kids and Their Parents

Lawrence Cohen

By Lawrence Cohen - Parents of young, anxious children are often unsure of how to prepare them for a potentially upsetting event. Using play, however, can heal past upsets and prepare them for upcoming transitions. Here's how a powerful session with a mother and daughter clarified the principles that would come to guide my approach.

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Treating Asperger's Syndrome in the Therapy Room

Therapy Tools for Helping Clients with AS Improve Social Skills

Richard Howlin

Adults with Asperger's syndrome (AS) often behave as if they were confused actors walking onto a stage and being the only ones who don't know the lines or the plot. Worse still, their ability to fake it---to just pick up the emotional tenor of others---is severely limited by their concrete, inflexible thinking style. People with AS aren't able to shift their attention easily or adapt to changing circumstances. Unexpected departures from routine can throw them into complete catatonia. Such was the case with one of my clients, Steven. He'd recently flunked out of college, didn't have a single friend, had no plans for the future, and seemed to have no sense of urgency or concern about his life.

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Turning Anxiety Treatment into Play

How Role-Playing Can Help Kids Face Their Anxiety

Rich Simon

Seven-year-old Emily is continually nervous and her anxiety is keeping her from enjoying summer camp, sleepovers with friends, and after-school activities. Her parents don’t know what to do, and even her therapist is worried that Emily’s anxiety is starting to define too much her integral sense of self. Treating anxiety in kids takes a creative, often playful approach, says Lynn Lyons, author of Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents.

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