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We've gathered Psychotherapy Networkers most popular posts and arranged them here by topic.

The Therapeutic Goldmine of Song, Dance, and Mindfulness

Testimonials from the 2015 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Symposium Student Scholars

John Kabat-Zinn sparked my interest when he recounted the time Oprah asked him, "Is there life after death?" His reply to her: "Oprah, I'm interested in the question, 'Is there life before death?'" Living fully is dependent on our capacity to practice mindfulness. The idea that acknowledging a feeling, even acknowledging pain, can reduce suffering is so powerful. Over time, I have realized what John Kabat-Zinn illustrated so beautifully this morning. Mindfulness is realized in a world full of human beings, people waiting to be seen and heard, and in search of ways to live more joyfully and with less suffering. We therapists have the privilege of being present for people who are doing just that. In this moment, I feel gratitude.

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Addressing Race and Culture in the Therapy Room

Testimonials from the 2015 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Symposium Student Scholars

As a family therapist, I know the power of thinking relationally, collaborating, and working across difference to find the many places where we actually share similarities. I found that at the Networker Symposium, where I had the pleasure of attending a workshop led by Christiana Awosan. Her presentation called practitioners, researchers, and educators alike to ask tough questions when working with Black couples. She invited us to consider the context that Black heterosexual men and women are coupling within, related to the experiences of slavery and racism, both as it was experienced over 250 years ago and also in how it still persists in our society today. There are truly The Colors of Tomorrow that we are living today.

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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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How Our Everyday Behavior Can Heal Trauma

Simple Therapy Techniques that Create Hope

Yvonne Dolan

As therapists, we often elicit negative emotions, believing that they must be purged before there'll be room for hope and other positive emotions. We're particularly anxious to assuage trauma survivors, whose desperate, unbearable pain seems to demand immediate relief. But favoring positive emotions and subtly trying to subdue negative ones can backfire. How do we get beyond this impasse? We can begin by looking again at the ways people have found consolation and support in the thousands of years before psychotherapy was developed. Throughout history, human beings have found rough relief and a modicum of comfort in the immediate obligations and habits of ordinary, daily life.

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Hypnotic Language in the Consulting Room

Bill O'Hanlon on the Power of Giving Permission in Therapy

Bill O'Hanlon

As therapists, we must recognize the complexity and ambivalence at the core of human experience. People run into problems when their lives are dictated by rigid beliefs that make the stories they're living out too restrictive, for example: "I must always be perfect," or "I should always smile and be happy." But permission counters these commands and prohibitions. The therapist who offers permission goes beyond accepting clients as they are and moves into encouraging them to expand their life stories and their sense of themselves.

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Where Do Therapists Stand on Marijuana Legalization?

Therapy Grapples with the Drug's Pros and Cons

Tori Rodriguez

More than 20 states have enacted laws to allow the sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and others have moved to reduce criminal penalties for possession of small amounts. But the more marijuana legalization reaches mainstream acceptance, the more the divisions of opinion within the mental health field---presumably the professionals who have the most scientifically informed perspective on the debate---become apparent.

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A Brain Science Approach to Couples Therapy

Using Brain Science in Therapy to Alter Mood States

Brent Atkinson

When clients become upset, they're in the grip of one of seven major body-brain mood states, also referred to as "executive operating systems." These are more than just passing moods. They're complex neurochemical cascades, in which hormones race through the body and brain and electrical impulses fly over familiar neural synapses, shaping what we feel, do, and think. This hormonal cascade can be lifesaving in the appropriate situation---in the face of a dangerous driver, say, or a possible mugger or rapist. But in intimate relationships, it's often toxic. In my work as a couples therapist, I train my clients to reactivate the neocortex---the inner switchmaster---in the face of strong emotion.

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Avoiding Runaway Ethics in Psychotherapy

Is Risk Management Threatening the Therapeutic Alliance?

Ofer Zur

Currently, the field is so deluged with dire warnings of imminent professional ruin that many therapists practice under a cloud of fear. At our professional meetings, in the legal columns that are now a regular feature of our journals, and at workshops and seminars, legal professionals, usually without any clinical training whatsoever, are giving their opinions about how we should practice, what we're allowed to do, and what we should never do---and scaring us to death in the process. As it turns out, this extreme self-watchfulness and rigid avoidance of anything resembling a "boundary violation" by a psychoanalytic or risk-management yardstick can do clients real harm.

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Internal Family Systems, Guidepost for Sexual Intimacy

Richard Schwartz on Better Sex through the IFS Approach

Richard Schwartz

No other area of a couple's life holds as much promise for achieving intimacy as sex. I used to instruct that couples issue a moratorium on sex and assign exercises that allowed them to show affection to each other without any sexual expectation. Not anymore. My goal now is to help partners reach the kind of soul-deep connectedness in their sexual encounters that can transform their lives and their relationship with each other. Within each of us is a complex family of subpersonalities. As a result, intimacy has two components: the knowing and revealing of one's secret parts and also the sense of awe and belonging that comes with Self-to-Self connectedness.

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Coping with Anxiety by Welcoming Stress

Reid Wilson on Mindful Stress Management

Reid Wilson

The problems we suffer with anxiety often continue not because we have symptoms, but because we resist the fact that we're experiencing symptoms---doing our utmost to block out the symptoms, rather than getting to know them a little bit. Most of our clients come to us trying to end something unpleasant, seeking both comfort and predictability in their lives. The desire for a life without stress or doubt is perfectly natural. And yet, we compound our clients' problems when we collude in their goal of simply making the unpleasantness go away. Our objective should not simply be to block their discomfort and allay their doubts, but to help reduce their suffering---ultimately, a completely different task.

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