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Confessions of a Former People Pleaser

The Radical Act of Rethinking Your Boundaries

By Alicia Muñoz - I used to view boundaries as a fancy way of dressing up rejection, incompetence, and selfishness. But after a decade of working as a couples counselor, I've learned just how much they create safety in relationships. They’re guardians of our life force, energy incubators, protectors of precious emotional resources, stokers and fuelers of self-respect.

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VIDEO: Bringing Parents into Therapy with Kids

Why Anxiety is a Family Problem

When it comes to working with kids in therapy, it's easy to overlook how critical a role parents play in ensuring the success of treatment. But when so many parents are just as anxious as their children, and many have had negative experiences with therapy in the past, what's the best course of action? In the following interview, therapist Lynn Lyons explains the first thing you need to do when working with young clients and their parents.

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More Than One Way to Heal

Black Therapists Rock Member Profile

It can be tricky doing therapy in communities where the field’s reputation is mixed. That's why Black Therapists Rock member Daphne Fuller stresses the importance of meeting clients where they are when working to help and empower people of color. Here, she shares how she does this in her own practice.

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Got the Magic Touch?

Four Behaviors of Gifted Therapists and How to Cultivate Them

By Dafna Lender - We’ve now moved past the point where we rely only on intuition to elicit trust and openness. Microbehaviors occur within fractions of a second, most of them not conscious to the sender or receiver, and some greatly contribute to inspiring feelings of safety, connection, and comfort. Here are four ways these emotional messages are transmitted.

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How to Create an Anti-Bullying Support Group

Put an End to School Bullying in Just Six Weeks

By Sue Young - When it comes to bullying, students’ knowledge of their lives in school makes even young children skilled at knowing the small but significant actions they can take to help make another child happy.

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VIDEO: The Assaulted Sense of Self

Voicelessness in Black America

What do we contribute as a profession to the "conversation about race"? As lame and ungainly as this phrase often sounds, it continues to heat up around us, and therapists can no more ignore it in their lives than they can in their offices, says therapist Ken Hardy.

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What to Do When Your Client Cries

If It's Not Broken, Don't Fix It

By Jay Efran - How can both joyful and tragic events elicit tears? This question puzzles many clinicians, including some who are considered experts in the field of emotional expression. The problem is that few of us have received explicit training in theories of emotion. And sometimes, clinicians can feel an urge to rush in and “fix things” that aren’t broken.

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VIDEO: Steve Andreas on Heading Off Resistance

What to Do in the Very First Session

Anxious clients that voluntarily come to therapy rarely say, “I came here because I have no intention of changing right now.” And yet even clients who clearly have a desire to feel better may fight change at every turn by continually saying “yes, but” or otherwise embodying therapy’s least welcome visitor—resistance. And when both client and therapist are unclear about the source of resistance, it can bring the process of treatment to a halt.

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The Golden Rule of Habit Change

Lessons on Expert Productivity

By Ryan Howes - At times, the line between stable and stuck-in-a-rut can become a bit blurry. So we turned to New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg, author of the bestseller The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business to see if he’d share how his findings may help us therapists, both personally and professionally.

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VIDEO: What's New in Trauma Treatment?

Best Practices and More

Here, Networker assistant editor Chris Lyford speaks with family therapist and trauma specialist Mary Jo Barrett about the evolution of trauma treatment and the importance of bringing families into the mix.

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Against the Odds

On the Front Lines of Inner City Social Work

By Howard Honigsfeld - As a school social worker in a South Bronx elementary school, the kids I see have a vast range of personal, social, economic, and medical issues. With so much stacked against these children, what can a school counselor do? The rewards of time, dogged persistence, and ordinary kindness in a supportive school environment can work their own kind of wonders.

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June Quandary: My Client Ghosted Me

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Sara, 26, had been attending weekly therapy three months, and had developed concrete strategies with her therapist to help her manage her depression and anxiety. He thought they'd developed a strong bond, but Sara has missed her last two sessions. Her therapist texted her after the first missed session to ask if everything was okay, but still hasn’t heard anything. He keeps worrying he might've done something wrong. Should he reach out again? Here, five therapists weigh in.

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VIDEO: David Burns on Overcoming Resistance

Exploring Why Clients Might Not Want to Change

Do you have a client who you can't seem to help, no matter what techniques you try? In this brief video, master clinician David Burns—one of the developers of CBT and an expert in treating depression and anxiety—explains why we shouldn't automatically assume that clients actually want to change the problems they initially present in treatment.

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The Evolution of Trauma Treatment

Bessel van der Kolk Shares His Hope for the Future of the Field

By Bessel van der Kolk - My hope for the field of trauma treatment is that we learn how to help people bring their imaginations more fully to bear on their possibilities. More recently, we’ve been exploring the capacity to rewire brains that are stuck in freeze and terror and develop a sense of self-compassion that enables people to integrate their dissociated self from the past into in a calm state of mind in the present.

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Neutrality Is Sabotaging Couples Therapy

How Taking Sides Gets to the Heart of Conflict

By Terry Real - My own experience as a couples therapist has taught me that we aren't doing clients a favor by soft-pedaling difficult issues. More than adopting any particular methodology of change, we can be far more direct and challenging to clients who come to us than we've previously acknowledged. By and large, people are neither fragile nor stupid. If you show them how they're getting in their own way and what behaving more skillfully looks like, they'll be grateful.

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The Gay Man in the Straight Marriage

Exploring the Uncharted Territory of a "Mixed-Orientation Marriage"

By Jeff Levy - Gay men married to women frequently describe their experiences in therapy as confusing and polarizing, facing a strong bias toward full disclosure and divorce. My work with gay and bisexual men over the past 10 years has taught me to see psychotherapy as a place to hold dynamic tensions without easy, premature resolutions.

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VIDEO: Is Therapy Really a Science?

...Or is It a Conversational Craft?

What do the masters of truly good therapy have in common? According to couples therapist Bill Doherty, they know how to balance their desire to guide therapy with their ability to empathically listen. It's this quality that drives home the truth about therapy—at its heart, this work isn't a science. It's a craft.

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When Helping Doesn't Help

What to Do When Your Client Doesn't Want to Change

By David Burns - What if a client's resistance to change reveals something positive, beautiful, and even healthy about them—something that we’ve overlooked? If we can learn to put unconscious resistance front and center in our clinical work, we can lessen or even eliminate our clients’ resistance altogether.

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Psychotherapy's Role in the Wider World

The Case for a New Kind of Self

By William Doherty - At this time of fragmentation and division, therapists need to recognize that we’re in the glue business. We know something about helping people connect, about how to form a healthy “we” out of self and other. But first our society needs us to recover our conviction and passionate intensity as a profession, our belief that we have something to offer beyond symptom reduction.

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VIDEO: What Therapists Need to Know About Polyvagal Theory

...And How to Use Safe Touch in Therapy

Polyvagal expert and therapist Deb Dana explains the science behind safe touch and how it can help with emotional healing.

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Is Antidepressant Ketamine a Game-Changer?

Despite Its Growing Popularity, Some Therapists are Cautious

By Chris Lyford - In just a few years, the number of clinics administering ketamine, an anesthetic-turned-antidepressant, has spiked rapidly. After about six ketamine infusions, 70 to 80 percent of participants with treatment-resistant depression no longer experience symptoms, and usually within hours. But despite the hype, some therapists are recommending caution.

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What Makes Couples Therapy Stick?

Three Ways to Maintain Progress Outside the Consulting Room

By Carolyn Daitch - Successfully combating and overriding firmly ingrained behaviors requires practice. It's our job as therapists to help clients learn how and when to practice these skills, and then make sure they go home and do it.

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Helping Couples Cross the Argument Impasse

A Four-Step Process

By B. Janet Hibbs - In their first therapy session, Bob tells his wife, Sandy, to stop emailing her former college boyfriend. She refuses, feeling mistrusted and controlled, and their exchange heats up. Many couples like these are at an impasse, caught up in a struggle to prove who's right. Here's how to help them get past these kinds of unwinnable arguments and resolve their differences.

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VIDEO: Helping Kids Find the Answers Inside

Here's a Fun Exercise That Gets Your Young Clients Involved

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a magic therapy wand to wave in front of our young clients and give them all the answers they need? What if this magic wand could conjure rainbow lizards and talking dogs to sit on our clients’ shoulders, bypass their defense systems, and whisper good, therapeutic advice in their ears? That’s exactly the kind of approach Charlotte Reznick uses with her young clients.

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Overcoming Standoffs with Tough Teens

...And the Three Questions You Should Ask Them in the Very First Session

By Matthew Selekman - Trying to get in the door with provocative, therapy-savvy adolescents can be a challenging task for even the most seasoned of therapists. I've developed several engagement strategies that I regularly use, singly or in combination, that have consistently helped me to establish a therapeutic alliance with even the toughest teen client.

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