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Disabling Toxic Verbiage

Four Ways to Push Pause on a Verbal Bully

Kate Cohen-Posey

By Kate Cohen-Posey - We live in an age in which using toxic verbiage against others has almost become the norm. Here's how we can help clients deal with these kinds of situations in the moment.

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The Art of Not Knowing the Answer

A Trauma Specialist Shares Her Most Therapeutic Moment

Mary Jo Barrett

By Mary Jo Barrett - My very first case was the Byford family. The father was serving a six-month sentence for domestic abuse. During a home visit several months into treatment, the daughter, Laura, announced, “Dad is getting out of jail today! And he’s coming here!” My mind went blank. Her mother looked at me. Suddenly, it was as though I passed whatever strength I had to her, and she then passed it back to me.

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Putting an End to the Blame Game

A Tool for Helping Partners See Both Sides

Alicia Muñoz

By Alicia Muñoz - Giving up being right doesn’t mean you give up your convictions. It means honoring a multiplicity of viewpoints. Rumi says, “Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there.” For couples, this garden is their relationship.

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The "Marbling" Approach to Treating Depression

Three Simple Methods for Joining Depressed Clients While Still Inviting Possibility

Bill O'Hanlon

By Bill O'Hanlon - Repeating patterns can "groove" the brain; that is, your brain gets better and faster at doing whatever you do over and over again. This includes "doing" depression, feeling depressed feelings, and talking about depression. To counter this effect, I like to use a method I call "marbling," going back and forth between investigations of depressed and non-depressed experiences and times.

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Therapy's Transformational Moments

Finding Hope in Seemingly Hopeless Times

Barry L. Duncan

By Barry Duncan - A recent consult I did illustrates the intrinsic rewards of healing involvement and intimate connection. It also taught me that anything is possible—that even the bleakest sessions can have a positive outcome if you stay with the process.

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The Nine Personality Types, According to the Enneagram

Are You The Giver, The Performer, The Observer, or Something Else?

David Daniels

By David Daniels - The typology I’ve found most helpful in organizing my own work and understanding my clients’ lifelong patterns is the Enneagram, a system of personality types. When we can witness our own habit of mind and its repetitive, limiting pattern in a nonjudgmental way with gratitude—which this system facilitates—we gain great leverage in changing our patterns.

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Lessons from Therapy with Adolescent Girls

Four Tips for Strengthening the Therapeutic Alliance

Martha Straus

By Martha Straus - For me, working with girls is what I do with the greatest interest and passion. I have wells of empathy to draw on, and can stay attuned with them more easily than with males. Our bond is implicit, and by being as fully authentic, connected, and present as I know how, I help them make it explicit. Here are four of the biggest lessons I've learned in my therapeutic work with adolescent girls.

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How to Improve Your Therapy Using Play and Emotion

Why Good Therapy Means Tapping Into the Client's Emotional Brain

Courtney Armstrong

How many times have you surprised yourself by jumping at the scary part of a movie? You know the villain in the movie isn’t real, but your emotional brain ignores this logic and leaps into action. In essence, the emotional brain is our unconscious mind, and scientists estimate that it controls about 95 percent of what we do, think, and feel at any given moment. As therapists, we have to be a provocative guide, creating experiences that go beyond the intellect to reach a deeply human place, prompting clients to believe they can relate to themselves and the world in a new way.

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A Brain Science Strategy for Overwriting Traumatic Memories

Creating Juxtaposition Experiences to Relieve Trauma Symptoms

Bruce Ecker

What we clinicians have learned in recent years about the intricacies of the brain's implicit memory systems has certainly helped us better recognize the linkage between distressing or traumatic experiences and many of the previously puzzling symptoms clients bring to our offices. But now brain science is beginning ...

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Therapy Strategies for Working with Underprivileged Youth

An Inner City School Social Worker Shares Two of His Cases

Howard Honigsfeld

Public School 48, where I’m on staff as a social worker, sits on a block between a juvenile detention center and a strip club. I became a social worker because I wanted to directly address the problems---truancy, childhood depression, and the overwhelming responsibilities of being an older child raising siblings---that were keeping them from functioning well in school. My current job is to counsel children with Special Education Services, as well as to handle the daily emotional crises that arise in a place like PS 48. A week of work can be exciting, frustrating, and often hair-raising---anything but boring.

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