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Therapy Strategies for Working with Underprivileged Youth

Inner-City-Schools[1]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.

Why Therapists Should Give Clients’ Marriage a Second Chance

Cracked relationshipThis wish for a permanent mate isn’t surprising, given the perennial human longing to know that someone is there for us as we age, whatever happens—and that means there are no quick, guilt-free exits. Life is complicated, and divorce is sometimes necessary, but why not, in the words of poet Dylan Thomas, “rage, rage against the dying of the light,” instead of simply moving on because the current marital house would take too much work to restore and the one down the street looks better?

VIDEO: Four Steps To Get Potential Clients To Contact You Now

Joe Bavonese On How To Make Your Website A Magnet For New Clients You have 30 seconds to let visitors to your website know that you can help them with their specific problem. Do that—according to communications expert Joe Bavonese—and …

VIDEO: The Rewards Of More Direct Contact With Potential Clients

Lynn Grodzki On An Opportunity Presented From Tough Times When times are tough, therapists turn to Lynn Grodzki. She’s a pioneer in our field widely recognized for helping clinicians build and maintain successful practices no matter what challenges tough times …

Redefining PTSD to Include Childhood Abuse

11737941_10153464388475761_6114334907289902080_n[1]As a diagnosis, PTSD is quite straightforward. A person is exposed to a traumatic event or events “that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.” But PTSD didn’t remotely account for the length and intensity of the abuse Bessel van der Kolk’s patients had suffered, their complex, heterogeneous symptoms, or the damage done to their personalities, capacity for relationship, and physical well-being. So in the late ‘80s, van der Kolk became one of the central players in the laborious spade work for getting some sort of “complex PTSD” diagnosis into the DSM-IV to be published in 1994.

Tools for Managing Effective Couples Therapy

love-be-learned[1]If we now recognize how inescapably relational and interconnected people are, why do most of us continue to work primarily with individuals—most of whom grapple with serious, persistent problems in their intimate relationships? Part of the reason, of course, is that so many clients themselves avoid couples therapy. Sometimes they resist because they aren’t motivated, or because they fear the unpleasant things their partners might say about them. Being an effective couples therapist requires us to develop skills we may not come by naturally and to spend a lot of time feeling unsure of our capabilities.

The Internal Family Systems Approach to Psychopharmacology

parts_color[1]As both a prescriber and a therapist, I believe that the chemical effect of pills is only part of their impact. The other part may seem a little weird, I warn clients, but it has to do with their thoughts, feelings, and expectations around the medications they take—in other words, their relationship with their drugs. I emphasize that for some people, more may be riding on this relationship, the source of so much hope and potential disappointment, than on any other in their life.

 

Therapy for Helping Couples Divorce with Dignity

divorce[1]At one time in my career, I’d have considered divorce as an outcome of therapy to be a failure—by the couple and by me. But over the years, I’ve learned to think of it as another opportunity to help. I’ve learned that I can help couples end their union in as thoughtful and pragmatic a way as possible. In other words, both partners can come through the experience with their dignity intact, their sanity whole, and in a greater spirit of cooperation and goodwill—attributes they’ll need as they continue to share responsibilities for their investments, their interests and their children.

Why Egalitarian America Needs Dominant Sex

controlButton[1]America seems to be a goal-oriented society that prefers explicit meanings, candor, and “plain speech” to ambiguity and allusion. But ironically, some of America’s best features, when carried too punctiliously into the bedroom, can result in very boring sex. I often suggest an alternative with my clients: “There’s so much direct talk already in the everyday conversations couples have with each other,” I tell them. “If you want to create more passion in your relationship, why don’t you play a little more with the natural ambiguity of gesture and words, and the rich nuances inherent in communication.”

Helping Struggling Parents Using the Group Therapy Model

community-group[1]There’s a deep and urgent need for parents to have a “place of their own.” A space where they can learn about themselves and their children, get active support to take the high road, and—slowly, over time—be reminded of their basic goodness and natural connection with others. With my ParentCircle therapy model, I help parents learn how to create a safe, energetic holding environment for their self-as-parent as they move, at their own pace, toward genuine and essential wholeness.

Therapy Confronts the DSM-5

ED-AL012_satel_G_20100218172114[1]Since few people argue that mental health professionals can treat people or do research without some sort of diagnostic system, we’ll have to make friends with latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. But how are ordinary clinicians across the country adapting to its specifics? As someone who’s given dozens of workshops on DSM-5 and trained thousands of therapists in its use, I’ve had a front-row seat on how psychotherapists have reacted to the changes it means for their practice.

 

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