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November Quandary: My Client Hasn’t Paid Me but Still Wants to Meet!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

By Chris Lyford - Carla has been seeing her therapist for almost six months. She’s been good about paying for sessions in the past, but she recently lost her job, is short on cash, and has missed her last five payments. She still wants to see her therapist weekly, but says she’s unsure when she’ll be able to pay in full. This isn't sustainable for him. Here's how five therapists say they'd respond.

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The Grandparenting Trainwreck

A Special Story from Our Family Matters Department

By Jeanne Mills - Becoming a grandparent hasn't been easy—there've been numerous slip-ups—but I've learned a few lessons well.

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A Week in the Life of a School Social Worker

Rapid-Fire Therapy, Creative Strategies, and Building Trust in an Instant

By Howard Honigsfeld - 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. A week of work can be exciting, frustrating, and often hair-raising—anything but boring.

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VIDEO: Bill Doherty on Becoming a "Citizen Therapist"

How to Have a Conversation About Politics in Therapy

In the following clip from his Symposium Keynote address, William Doherty offers an expanded vision of therapy and explains why clinicians are uniquely suited to serving as “connectors and trust-builders” to address the stress and anxiety many clients—and therapists—are feeling in the current political climate.

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Learning to Relish the Challenge

A Motivation Expert Weighs in on the Downside of Overpraise

By Ryan Howes - Should we praise children, students, clients, and ourselves for being smart people who earn top marks? According to motivation expert and bestselling author Carol Dweck, praising intelligence often creates people devoid of resilience and motivation. It’s far more important, she says, to enhance people’s ability to tackle adversity and persevere.

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Does Your Child Need Moral Guidance?

The Four Components of Conscience

By Lawrence Cohen - A great deal of parental worry comes from not realizing that the aspects of a healthy conscience develop unevenly and that the road to morality is slow and bumpy. Though you may have to dig for examples, most children have some capacity for empathy, cooperation, and kindness. 

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VIDEO: Peter Levine's Somatic Tools for Self-Soothing

Creating a Path to Client Independence

Often, traumatized clients find that they become dependent on their therapists to help them handle their extreme emotional states. But according to Peter Levine, originator of Somatic Experiencing Therapy, the key to helping clients achieve more autonomy is giving them tools that enable them to better regulate their own body states.

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The Bigger Picture

A Paradigm Shift Around Weight is Occurring in Our Field

By Judith Matz - Societal norms regarding weight, health, and eating affect every client we work with, regardless of body size. Here's how you can support people of all sizes when it comes to respecting and taking care of their bodies without inadvertently causing harm.

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A New Prescription

What Role Can Therapists Play in Addressing Chronic Pain?

By Howard Schubiner - Few people in the medical profession look at the disconnect between pain and structural abnormalities in the body. Could it be that we're attributing some of our physical pain to body disorders when the pain has an emotional source instead?

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Millennials and the Tyranny of Choice

Three Ways to Help Young Clients Work Through the Real Problem of Choosing Unwisely

By Martha Straus - After a difficult case, I decided to consult with a small group of millennials, who helped me grasp what a big deal choosing has become for this generation. Here are three adjustments I've made to help millennial clients struggling with the tyranny of choice take hold of their lives and approach differently the sense of paralysis they feel.

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Reflections from a Millennial Therapist

The Highs, Lows, and New Realities of Starting a Therapy Career Today

By Rachel Zar - I'm a millennial. And despite the negative connotation often imposed upon this generation by the media and by the generations that came before us, I don’t think it’s such a bad thing after all—especially for a therapist.

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The Decline of Connection

The Digital World is Having a Serious Impact on Our Relationships and Our Brains

By Diane Ackerman - Despite all the seeming connectedness, we’re not the most socially connected we’ve ever been. Generation by generation, our brains have been evolving new networks, new ways of wiring and firing, favoring some behaviors and discarding others, as we train ourselves to meet the challenges of a world we keep amplifying, editing, deconstructing, and recreating.

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VIDEO: Addressing Political Stress in the Consulting Room

Reevaluating What's Appropriate to Discuss in Therapy

It's no surprise that, with all the political infighting going on, many people are anxious about the direction of our country. But is there room to discuss political matters with clients, or does this constitute an ethical breach? According to therapist Bill Doherty, clinicians are not only well-equipped to discuss politics, but sometimes have a duty to do so. In the following video clip from his 2017 Networker Symposium Keynote address, Doherty explains how to get the ball rolling.

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“You Should Know What I Need”

A Simple Exercise to Help Couples Avoid the Assumption Trap

By Alicia Muñoz - Satisfying our needs is a gift our partners give us. Being responsible calls for a willingness to ask clearly and vulnerably for what we want, and to tolerate disappointment.

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Past and Future

A Family Dinner Leads to Reflecting on a Legacy

By Roberta Israeloff - To my mother, who inherited the holiday after my grandmother's death, producing the seder was nothing short of a colossal chore—a feeling she'd communicate with every pot she slammed on the stove. Now, it's my turn.

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What Basketball Taught Me About Therapy

Learning to Stay in the Game with Challenging Clients

By Barry Jacobs - Basketball has taught me many lessons. I learned about trust, relationships, and teamwork. I learned the power to regulate feelings. It would shape my clinician's game too. I developed a knack for handling male aggression, as well as physical decline and loss.

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VIDEO: Esther Perel on the New Rules of Love and Commitment

How Boomers Shaped Millennial Romance

Couples therapist Esther Perel has been recognized as one of the world’s most original and insightful thinkers about couples, sexuality, and the peculiar paradoxes besetting modern marriage in the Western world. In this clip from her Networker Symposium keynote, she talks about the complicated and contradictory needs that are shaping Millennial marriage and commitment today.

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A Look Inside MDMA-Assisted Therapy

A Trauma Specialist Straddles Two Worlds

By Marcela Ot’alora G. - As every trauma therapist knows, getting free of the debilitating symptoms of PTSD, if it happens at all, can take years. In my work on an MDMA-research project, I’ve observed close-up the profound effect psychedelic drugs can have in facilitating—and sometimes transforming—the often lengthy and difficult process of healing from PTSD.

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Embracing Emotion in Couples Therapy

Susan Johnson on Creating a Road Map Through Couples Conflict

By Susan Johnson - Neuroscientists have recently established emotion is the prime force shaping how we cope with life’s challenges. Psychotherapists are beginning to learn how to work with emotion, rather than trying to control it or creating change through purely cognitive or behavioral means.

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Esther Perel on the Paradox of Masculinity

What Does It Mean to Be a “Real” Man Today?

By Esther Perel - Feminism has given women a new narrative, but it hasn’t offered men a particularly new one that they can identify with. Ultimately, the lives of women will not change until the lives of men come along. What can therapists contribute to the current conversation about our gender politics and the meaning of masculinity and femininity today?

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The Flow of Dialogue

Three Steps to Effective Conversation

By Oren Jay Sofer - Dialogue is a lot like dancing. It takes time to learn the basics, but when we’re conversing smoothly with someone else, it can be magical. We find a flow as we shift attention back and forth, hearing one another and allowing things to settle.

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VIDEO: Dafna Lender on Harnessing Your Social Engagement System

Strategies for Building the Therapeutic Alliance More Easily

We all know therapists who seem magically able to establish a powerful sense of trust and connection with even the most distrusting clients. But are there specific behaviors common to exceptionally gifted therapists that we can study, practice, and cultivate?

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October Quandary: My Clients and I Use the Same Dating Apps!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

By Chris Lyford - A therapist recently joined a few online dating apps after finding herself newly single. She's seen several clients come up in these apps, and suspects they've seen her too. This puts her in an awkward position with these clients. Here's how five therapists say they'd tackle the situation.

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Embracing Grief in a Laundromat

Honoring a Sister's Memory

By Martha Manning - It was 4:00 a.m. and I was the only patron in one of the most broken-down laundromats in the Commonwealth of Virginia. My sister Sarah, after decades of turmoil and tumult, had died the day before—a combination of pain and painkillers.

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The Limits of Big Pharma

Psychopharmacology Has Plateaued. Does It Have a Future?

By Talia Puzantian - In the more than quarter century since the arrival of Prozac, few medications since then have represented any real expansion of our understanding of how to regulate the nervous system with chemicals. So what lies ahead for psychopharmacology? And where might the new advances come from?

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