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
By Rich Simon You might think that there’s a world of difference between reaching an outstanding level of performance in skilled activities like performing surgery, being a musician, playing chess or becoming a champion basketball player, on the one hand, and achieving psychological change on the other. But while we’re all familiar with the idea that mastering complex skills requires hours, days, weeks, years of practice, including regularly facing our Read more
By Rich Simon Who of us couldn’t use some more inspiration, an occasional reminder of truths that get obscured in day-to-day life, or maybe even some telling observations that make us laugh out loud? That’s why so many therapists have made attending the Networker Symposium an annual ritual. Read more
By Rich Simon If you’re like a lot of psychotherapists today, face-to-face professional gatherings may not be your cup of tea. After all, why bother with the hassle of travel, reshuffling your appointment book, and all the other petty inconveniences of conference-going, when you can stay home seated in your comfy chair Read more
By Rich Simon There are certain movies that you just never forget and that somehow become part of your inner life. Andre Gregory’s My Dinner with Andre, starring himself and his real-life friend, playwright Wallace Shawn, was one such movie for many therapists, including me. Conceived by Andre as he was coming out of a long mid-life crisis, the movie is essentially a long dinner conversation in a posh Read more
By Rich Simon We used to think that good therapy came down to unlimited positive regard, good listening skills, and sensitive probing questions; in short, patiently encouraging insight and quietly inviting forward the client’s inner self. Now, after three plus decades of research and experimentation—in somatic work, mindfulness-based approaches Read more