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This 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?
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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 …
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Some marriages’ endings have broken my heart, made me look hard at my technique, and wonder what I might have done differently. But when I believed the couple, the therapy, and even the children were better served by the partners’ letting go, I’ve breathed a sigh of relief. In other words, I don’t see my job as stitching every couple together no matter what. Sometimes, in fact, my job turns out not to be forestalling the dissolution of a family, but facilitating it.
At a time when medical technology has become increasingly adept at keeping people alive, some people are voicing a feeling within a growing part of the population that the goal may not always be keeping a terminally ill person alive at all costs. But even though there’s support for the idea that, under certain circumstances, it might be more humane to help people at the end of life bring about their own death peacefully and quickly, the right-to-die effort is plagued with controversy.