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The Young and the Anxious

When Worried Clients Swing Back, What's Your Role?

Lynn Lyons

By Lynn Lyons - Lately, I’ve become aware of just how much of my practice is made up of young adults who return to therapy after leaving the nest. This pattern is also indicative of a generation of young people stuck in the transition between childhood and adulthood. Here's what I do with "long-term" clients who swing back.

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Does Prescription Medication Eliminate the Need for Therapy?

Michael Yapko on the Enduring Role of Talk Therapy

Michael Yapko

Americans have a history of valuing quick-fix solutions to difficult problems. But the simplistic psychopharmacological approach to depressive disorders underestimates the remarkable human capacity for self-transformation. We have the ability to use imagination and intelligence to change our life circumstances, our attitudes and emotions, even, to some extent, our personalities. It is the privilege of our profession to be able to help troubled people along this path, and though medications may make this journey less arduous, in the long run, therapists are indispensable for getting their clients to this destination.

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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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Mary Pipher on Leaving Our Biases outside the Consulting Room

Finding Respect for All Clients

Mary Pipher

From the moment I met the Correys in my waiting room, I was baffled about why they were together. Frank was tall, good looking and suave; Donna dowdy and sullen. Every other week for a year, I saw them, during which time I tried pretty much every trick in my therapeutic arsenal. And in spite of all my efforts, the Correys were one of my most spectacular failures. Gradually, I let my own values prejudice me against Donna. In the end, I learned that with no respect, there can be no connection. And without connection, therapy loses its meaning.

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Larger than Life

Marianne Walters Was Family Therapy's Foremost Feminist

Mary Sykes Wylie

Marianne Walters didn't invent a brilliant new therapeutic paradigm, publish a large and magisterial body of research, or establish her own unique school of clinical practice. Yet Walters probably had as great an impact on the overall clinical zeitgeist of family therapy as any of the master theory-builders and gurus. Along with her three comrades in arms---Betty Carter, Peggy Papp, and Olga Silverstein---she formed The Women's Project in Family Therapy in 1977, once called "the first, biggest, longest-running feminist road show." It was a combination feminist think tank and SWAT team, which, in public workshops all over the country, challenged the underlying sexism in some of the most basic notions of family therapy.

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Stronger Medicine

Anti-Depressants Haven't Made Therapy Obsolete

Michael Yapko

Americans have a history of valuing quick-fix solutions to difficult problems. But the simplistic psychopharmacological approach to depressive disorders underestimates the remarkable human capacity for self-transformation. We have the ability to use imagination and intelligence to change our life circumstances, our attitudes and emotions, even, to some extent, our personalities. It is the privilege of our profession to be able to help troubled people along this path, and though medications may make this journey less arduous, in the long run, therapists are indispensable for getting their clients to this destination.

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Sleepless in America

Making it Through the Night in a Wired World

Mary Sykes Wylie

Insomnia. Almost everybody has it at one time or another. Some poor souls live (or barely live) with it. It's hard to know exactly how widespread it is—prevalence rates are all over the map. As many as 30 percent of the population, or as few as 9 percent (depending on the source of the statistic, or how insomnia is defined, or what impact it has), suffer from some form of it at least some of the time. What's undisputed, however, is that sleep is as necessary to physical and mental health as air and water, and that, without it, we suffer—often severely. So, those annoying world-beaters, who brag about needing only four hours of sleep a night (the better to forge multimillion-dollar start-ups and do their Nobel Prize–winning research) are perhaps not being entirely candid.

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Lost in Electronica

Today's Media Culture is Leaving Boys at a Loss for Words

Adam Cox

My year treating high school boys taught me a lesson that still guides my work: if words are the currency of most interpersonal exchange, many boys are on the verge of social bankruptcy. When it comes to communication challenges, gender discrepancies are staggering. Boys make up 75 percent of special-education classes, are far more frequently diagnosed with syndromes ranging from ADHD to autism that involve social-learning problems, and account for nearly 80 percent of children identified as emotionally troubled. Our world is increasingly driven by communication and the need for emotional intelligence---attributes that generally don't come easily for boys---and they're clearly falling behind. In spite of the still-potent icon of the silent male in the American psyche, there are far fewer life options today---whether academic, career, or relational---that can accommodate a boy (or man) of few words.

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My Most Spectacular Failure

Voluntary Simplicity Meets Shop Til You Drop

Mary Pipher

I will never forget the Correys, who were referred to me by their family doctor in western Nebraska. Every other week for a year, I saw them, during which time I tried pretty much every trick in my therapeutic arsenal. I spent hours discussing their case with trusted colleagues and read up on their particular problems. I don't know how many nights' sleep I lost worrying about how to get these folks on the right track. And in spite of all my efforts, the Correys were one of my most spectacular failures.

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Panning for Gold

Michael White is the Ultimate Prospector

Mary Sykes Wylie

Over the past decade, Michael White has developed a worldwide following of both senior therapists and neophytes on several continents who insist he has something vitally important to say that the field needs to hear. But watching him in session is a far cry from seeing one of the recognized lions of clinical performance sweep grandly into the middle of a dysfunctional family circle and in one session transform it into a little kingdom of love and harmony, while being wildly entertaining in the process. Far from it. His pace is measured, even monotonous. Some find it maddeningly slow, the therapeutic persona respectful, solicitous, inquisitive, slightly donnish, almost deferential, the circuitous language an eccentric mix of the folksy and the politically correct.

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