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Taking Charge with Difficult Teens

...And the Four Most Common Mistakes Therapists Make

By Jerome Price and Judith Margerum - When working with teens, a therapist must become comfortable with the idea of dealing with power tactics rather than communication skills. Here are four common errors that therapists commonly make with teenagers, and how to avoid them.

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The Do's and Don'ts of Self-Disclosure

Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls

By Janine Roberts - When I've asked people who've gone to therapy what was most helpful, again and again, they've described times when their therapists shared something about their own personal struggles. Today, with the informality of our culture, both therapists and clients are likelier to step across previous professional guidelines.

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VIDEO: Esther Perel on the New Landscape of Love

What Role Do Therapists Play?

Our relational lives are undergoing a radical shift, says Esther Perel, couples therapist, bestselling author, and TED speaker. In the following video clip from her 2018 Symposium Keynote, "The Future of Modern Love," Perel explains why today's romantic landscape—and the questions we're asking ourselves about desire and couplehood—are unprecedented, and what therapists have to offer clients who come to us for guidance.

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The Young and the Anxious

When Worried Clients Swing Back, What's Your Role?

By Lynn Lyons - Lately, I’ve become aware of just how much of my practice is made up of young adults who return to therapy after leaving the nest. This pattern is also indicative of a generation of young people stuck in the transition between childhood and adulthood. Here's what I do with "long-term" clients who swing back.

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Self-Compassion for Painful Emotions

An Eight-Step Practice for Parents

By Susan Pollak - Often when we have an intense emotion, we respond to it as a call to action. We feel we have to “do” something. Yet emotions reveal important information, and they’re here for a reason. It’s good to get curious about them, to notice them, to allow ourselves to feel them in the body, rather than push them away. Here's an eight-step process for doing so.

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Working with Abusers and Their Families

Can Good and Evil Can Exist in the Same Person?

By Mary Jo Barrett - Families suffering from trauma, abuse, and neglect can begin to make the crucial distinction between a chronic state of overarousal and vigilance and "reality" only once a sense of physical and psychological safety has been established. Only after this first stage is it even possible to focus on changing dysfunctional mindsets, counterproductive behavior, and destructive family patterns.

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Why It's So Hard for Young Adults to Leave Home

...And How to Convert the Nest into a Net

By Brad Sachs - The current generation of families is confronted with what appears to be a substantial upsurge in young adults who can't seem to make the transition from home-centered adolescent to independent adult. Here's why, and what we can do about it.

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VIDEO: Crossing to Safety

A Master Clinician Shares Her Most Therapeutic Moment

Many people wonder how therapists manage to do the work they do. Of the thousands of meaningful sessions that take place in a therapist’s office, certain ones stand out. Here, therapist Courtney Armstrong shares the story of working with her most memorable client.

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Inside the Ayahuasca Experience

Gabor Maté on When Shamanism Meets Psychotherapy

By Gabor Maté - Several years ago, I began to receive inquiries about what I knew regarding the use of ayahuasca in the healing of addiction. Since then, I've developed deep respect for the collaborative power of shamanic medicine allied with the insights and practice of depth psychology. Respect may be too mild a word—awe hits closer to the mark.

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VIDEO: Continuing to See Kids for Therapy as They Age

...And Why They Need Ongoing Connection Now More Than Ever

When therapists work with anxious kids and their families, they’re often solving immediate problems, not envisioning a clinical relationship that could last for decades. But that’s what happened for brief therapist Lynn Lyons. Here, she talks about the unexpected pleasures of being there for her youngest clients as they grow into teens and young adults.

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Erotic Intelligence

Reconciling Sensuality and Domesticity

By Esther Perel - America, in matters of sex as in much else, is a goal-oriented society that prefers explicit meanings, candor, and "plain speech." I often suggest an alternative with my clients: "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."

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The Brené Brown Approach to Being Enough

The Power of Embracing Our Vulnerability

By Mary Sykes Wylie - A pervasive sense of shame makes many of us feel unworthy of human connection. Why the shame? Because in this perfectionistic culture, most of us believe we’re “not good enough." Professor and acclaimed TED speaker Brené Brown says that some people have escaped the shame trap. How? They let themselves be vulnerable.

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September Quandary: Will a No-Suicide Contract Help My Client Stay Safe?

Four Clinicians Weigh In

A new clinician is working with a client who’s expressed some suicidality at times. She's worried about him and thinks it might be a good idea to have him sign a no-suicide contract, but she's heard mixed things about them and isn't sure what to do. Here, four therapists offer their advice.

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VIDEO: Esther Perel on Speaking About Sex

Getting Comfortable in Couples Therapy

Many traditional approaches to couples therapy are built on the assumption that if you help a couple clear up the emotional issues in their relationship, sex will automatically get better. . . . But it doesn’t seem to work that way.

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Treating Children with OCD

The Essential Component

By Lynn Lyons - OCD, like other anxiety disorders, is like a cult leader, demanding acceptance of a skewed view of reality. Including parents in therapy with their kids who suffer from it demystifies the disorder and allows them to be part of a family plan to deal with it.

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Burnout Reconsidered

What Supershrinks Can Teach Us

By Scott Miller, Mark Hubble, and ⁠Françoise Mathieu - An entire industry has sprung up to address the problem of compassion fatigue, but research indicates that the most commonly proposed answer, improved self-care, doesn’t work. In fact, the study of the most highly effective clinicians suggests that burnout isn’t related to caring too much, but continuing to care ineffectively.

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Learning to Bear the Unbearable

How MDMA Works

By Bessel van der Kolk and Rich Simon - As a researcher and outspoken advocate for therapeutic innovation, Bessel van der Kolk has been as influential as anyone in shaping the landscape of trauma therapy today. He describes what’s distinctive about the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

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VIDEO: Bill Doherty on Deepening Our Therapeutic Vision

The Importance of Cultivating a New Kind of Self

At the 2016 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, Bill Doherty offered his take on how psychotherapy can reassert its cultural relevance by deepening its vision of what constitutes a meaningful life in today's world.

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Aging Courageously

…And What Many People Who Struggle with Aging Have in Common

By Joan Klagsbrun - As each of us grows older, we can try to embrace the full possibilities of aging, even alongside its challenges. In the following interview, Joan Klagsbrun, a leader in the field of Focusing-oriented therapy, explains what many people who struggle with aging have in common, and shares how a client spurred her own wake-up call about how to approach aging creatively.

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After the Affair

Two Case Studies Illustrate the Opportunities Moving Forward

By Don-David Lusterman - My goal is not merely to help these couples weather the crisis and patch things up, but to help them understand how both spouses created the marital context that made an affair possible, and how the crisis itself can be the spring board to a healthier, more satisfying relationship.

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The Perils of Empathy at Full Throttle

Four Strategies to Protect Yourself Against Vicarious Traumatization

By Babette Rothschild -  It's our gift for empathy that draws us to our work. And yet, empathy at full throttle—felt and projected 100 percent with our bodies, hearts, and minds—has its risks.

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VIDEO: Tara Brach on Facing Difficult Emotions

The Power of Deliberate Practice

Our survival brain has hundreds of strategies for resisting emotional pain. But according to Tara Brach, clinical psychologist and renowned teacher of Buddhism, resisting pain only increases our suffering.

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The Unlived Lives of Parents

A Mindful Exercise for Healing Old Wounds

By Susan Pollak - Becoming a parent gives us a chance to grow by attending to old wounds, including many that we may have forgotten. The aim is not to deny our history, but to understand it and develop a new relationship with it, bringing self-compassion to ourselves in those moments when we lose it. Here's a seven-step process that can help.

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VIDEO: Dan Siegel on the Difference Between the Mind and Brain

…And How Brain Science Can Help Us Create a Kinder World

According to neuropsychiatrist Dan Siegel, we've spent much of modern history thinking that physiological brain activity determines everything, and ignoring what goes on in the mind. In the following video clip from his Networker Symposium keynote, Siegel challenges us to help the mind rise above the brain's inborn, evolutionary vulnerabilities.

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Finding the Path Back

Couples Therapy After an Affair

By Leo Fay - Every therapist knows that the disclosure of an extramarital affair can create an explosive crisis undermining the foundation of trust necessary to sustain a relationship. In the midst of that turbulence, our job is to help couples find a pathway to a new understanding of themselves and their marriage. Here's a protocol I've found especially helpful.

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