By Rich Simon Back in the 1970s, as boomers like me came out of grad school and flooded the psychotherapy field, the big challenge to the mainstream tradition of psychodynamic orthodoxy was posed by the iconoclastic family therapists like Salvador Minuchin, Virginia Satir, and Carl Whitaker. Their version of therapy seemed like a thrill-a-minute joyride in comparison to the staid predictability of therapy-as-usual. Read more
By Rich Simon I’m only just now coming down into the real world from post-Symposium euphoria—a powerful, but mostly benign, emotional disorder that temporarily interferes with logical thought that reaches epidemic proportions in our offices after our annual conference each spring. But, as I recapture some of my cognitive facilities, it does occur to me that for many of us, coming to a vitalizing communal experience like the Networker Symposium induces a pronounced state of altered consciousness. Read more
By Rich Simon Last November, we put together a webcast series on clinical wisdom, featuring what we considered to be some of the wisest people in the fields of psychology and psychotherapy. Those interviewed included a Nobel laureate, a renowned Buddhist teacher and therapist, a revered pioneer in mind-body psychotherapy, a famous therapist– Read more
By Rich Simon We’ve all become so used to getting our needs for information and social life met online–email, videos, ipods, skype–that we sometimes forget how irreplaceable the actual experience of direct human-to-human contact really is. Although we’re as fond of the lulling pleasures of cocooning as the next couple, one evening a couple of weeks ago, my wife Jette and I did something very old-fashioned. Read more
Perhaps the only certainty in life if that there are no certainties, and few understand that better than those of us working in the field of psychotherapy. We’ve witnessed the surge of designer drugs being marketed directly to the public, coped with the declining number of clients pursuing long-form talk therapy, and argued with insurance companies that are becoming less and less willing to cover the number of sessions that many clients need.
By Rich Simon Most of the therapists I speak with these days—both those brand new to the profession and the old pros who still nostalgically recall the pre-Managed Care era—seem to feel a lot like Gary Lockwood, the untethered spaceman in the great, prophetic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
You remember Gary, cut loose without oxygen or supplies by the malevolent computer HAL, whirling head over heels helplessly out into space. Read more
By Rich Simon Clearly these are challenging times for psychotherapists. In university training settings, public agencies and private practices around the country, there’s more and more pressure to do briefer and briefer work and less time than ever being devoted to discussing our cases and reflecting on our craft. Even veteran practitioners used to long waiting lists are seeing more and more appointment hours yawningly empty, while newer clinicians can barely keep their financial heads above water. Read more
By Rich Simon As a young therapist in a residential treatment center during the late ‘70s, I once worked with a 15-year-old delinquent boy—incarcerated for some offense that would seem comparatively minor today—and his tumultuous family. When the boy was ten, his father (divorced from his mother and living in a different state) changed genders—a fact he first “announced” to his young son, who had come to visit, by suddenly putting on a dress and high heels soon after picking up the boy at the airport.
By Rich Simon While researchers tell us that psychopaths apparently don’t feel much anxiety, this immunity to a sense of vulnerability doesn’t extend to the rest of us. Through our lives, most of us develop what can only be called a deeply personal relationship with our anxiety—at least as close a connection as with our partners, families, and best friends, maybe closer. Read more
By Rich Simon By now, it’s a standard joke that most New Year’s resolutions made with great earnestness on January 1—often having to do with losing the weight we gained since last New Year’s—are usually history by January 2. Still, for therapists at least, it’s a natural impulse as the new year begins to reflect a bit on our lives, our relationships, and perhaps even the future of our profession. Read more