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VIDEO: Peter Levine on the Art of Noticing

See Somatic Experiencing in Motion with This Clip from an Actual Session

Among the first to fully realize that humans have an innate psychophysiological capacity for overcoming trauma and recovering physical and emotional wholeness, Peter Levine developed Somatic Experiencing, a simple yet profoundly effective mind-body healing technique. In this video clip, he shows how simply noticing a client's body sensations can lead to therapeutic breakthroughs.

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What Therapists Can Learn from Improv

Three Rules for Being More Energetic and Interactive in Sessions

By Robert Taibbi - I started improv several years ago. It showed me how to be freer and more creative, providing a unique way of approaching relationships that's generous rather than closed, organic rather than scripted. While the theory and skills of therapy form the foundation of clinical practice, we have little foundation for the creativity that good therapy demands. Doing improv made me wonder whether applying these rules might make me more creative in my work and personal life.

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What's New in Art Therapy?

Expressive Arts Therapy Pioneer Cathy Malchiodi Weighs In

By Ryan Howes - Art therapy can help people of all ages process and recover from trauma. In the following interview, Cathy Malchiodi, President of Art Therapy Without Borders, explains her approach and talks about the growing movement to treat returning combat veterans with art and expressive art therapy.

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Inhabiting the Moment with Traumatized Teens

Three Strategies to Rewire Young Brains for Safety and Attachment

By Martha Straus - What we therapists have to offer our young clients, more than anything, is our well-regulated, fully developed adult brain, with its mature capacity for awareness, perspective, appraisal, curiosity, and forgiveness on full display. According to the approach I use, Developmental-Relational Therapy, we’re both the mechanism of change and the intervention. Here are a few strategies that can rewire the teen brain for safety and intimacy.

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Meeting Teen Clients Where They Are

Here's What They Respond To

By Janet Sasson Edgette - Most of us were never trained to talk to adolescents, and they often find most standard, shrink-wrapped attempts to "engage" them infuriating. Here's what they respond to best.

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The Retiring Rebel

Rethinking the Way We Help Clients Face the Midlife Crisis

By Tammy Nelson - Rather than thinking of midlife as an emotional unraveling, I believe it’s more helpful to reframe this stage of life in our early 50s and 60s as “second adolescence,” a time when we’re old enough to appreciate how short life is, but young enough to find new ways to enjoy it.

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Making Your Therapy Practices Stick

Four Steps to Help Clients Master Exercises Used in Session

By Donald Altman - Perhaps the most important aspect of engaging your clients with practices and handouts is to listen to their feedback. What are the challenges? What is most helpful? How clear are your instructions? Here's a four-step approach to help your clients master practices used in session.

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Jump-Starting Conversation in Family Therapy

The Difference Between Guiding and Intervening

By Mike Nichols - How do you get family members to talk together productively? Enactments can be among the most valuable tools for getting a family's communication going. But cultivating these conversations—and making sure not to overmanage them—is harder than it sounds.

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Kinship Without Connection

A Special Feature from Our Family Matters Department

By Mark Matousek - One ordinary day last year, an email appeared from someone I didn’t know, a Jim who lived in Phoenix. It explained that his mother had found a book of mine online, realized I was looking for her ex-husband, and passed the book along to her son. Jim had read the book, done the math, and deduced that we had the same missing father. We agreed to meet three weeks later.

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Can Open Relationships Work?

How to Know When They're Right (or Not) and How to Set Ground Rules

By Rick Miller - Even for healthy couples, opening up a relationship in a way that’s not destructive is hard work and requires a great deal of communication around what is and isn’t acceptable. Yet even with these guidelines established, helping couples navigate this territory is a challenge. Here are some best practices.

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Trapped in a Wall-Less Prison

Bridging the Racial Gulf by Listening to Untold Stories

By Ken Hardy - I’ve spent the last four decades of my life working with young people who live their lives hidden in the shadows of invisibility as far as white society is concerned. Too many therapists charged with helping them fail to see the untold stories in their lives of family dysfunction, poverty, and racial oppression. And no real conversation about race can begin until, as a society, we’re willing to listen to those stories.

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New to Therapy? Let Instinct Be Your Guide

Doing Therapy Well Requires a Certain Kind of Freedom

By Frank Dattilio - Often, therapy trainees in supervision feel more secure approaching every clinical encounter strictly "by the book," and are frequently so afraid of making mistakes that they stifle their own capacity for therapeutic intuition and emotional connection with their clients. Sometimes freeing their therapeutic imagination requires bold steps.

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Six Ways to Find Comedy in Even the Darkest Moments

Shaking Your Clients Loose from Their Tragic Stances

By Frank Pittman - Therapy, in order to shake people loose from their tragic stances and bounce them into the human comedy, is at its best when it is funny, when the tragic family story being acted out is rewritten to provide a happy ending. I urge therapists to keep these simple guidelines in mind as they go through their day.

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Therapists Talk Gun Violence

Brainstorming Ways to Make a Difference

By Ron Taffel and Lauren Dockett - Therapists are often at the center of cultural conversations around large-scale shootings. At the 2018 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, they came together to discuss ways to prevent further gun violence in their communities and schools. Here's what happened.

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Family Therapy as We Know It Needs to Change

To Reach Troubled Adolescents, Look to the "Second Family"

By Ron Taffel - When it comes to treating troubled adolescents, family therapy has not kept pace with several decades of massive social upheaval. The world of an adolescent is now so powerfully defined by systemic forces other than home—the peer network, pop culture, school and neighborhood ethos—that working with the family alone is rarely powerful enough to effect change.

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When Your Client Won't Commit to Change

How to Accept Opposition and Still Get Results

By David Johnson - In my several decades of practice, one skill that’s served me well in this field is my ability to leave work at the office. But every once in a while, I see clients whose situation intrigues, moves, or confounds me in a way that keeps them in my thoughts in between sessions, even if I’m often not sure what it is about them that continues to haunt me. Such was the case with Matthew.

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What to Say When Clients Push Your Buttons

How to Spot, Confront, and Correct Self-Defeating Patterns

By Wendy Behary - There are ways to deliver profoundly effective, on-the-spot responses during difficult encounters—ways that can mobilize you and restore the receptive, flexible, and empathically attuned you. I've chosen a small sample of a long list of examples that colleagues and trainees have shared with me over the years, including my own personal favorites.

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Erv Polster on How Aging Changes Therapy

Learning to Embrace the Flow of Relationship

By Erv Polster - As each of us grows older, we can try to embrace the full possibilities of aging, even alongside its challenges. In the following interview, Erv Polster, a prime mover of Gestalt Therapy, delves into a little-acknowledged element of older people’s inner lives, shares what aspects of his own aging process have had the biggest impact on his approach to psychotherapy, and reflects on life after ending his practice.

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The One Thing That's Missing from Attachment Theory

Challenging a Therapeutic Cornerstone

By Jerome Kagan - One of the strongest articles of faith among psychotherapists is the intuitively attractive proposition that the security of early attachments to parents has a profound influence on adult mental health. However, when I examine the evidence for this belief as a research psychologist, rather than as a clinical practitioner, a different, less clear-cut picture emerges.

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VIDEO: Tara Brach on Awakening from the Cybertrance

Dealing with the Challenges to Mindfulness in a Digital World

It should come as no surprise that, in our culture, immersion in cyber activities far outpace the interest in mindfulness. But how do you deal with the trance-like quality of immersion in the digital world? Find out in this video with Tara Brach.

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Why Don't Diets Work? CBT's Judith Beck Has the Answer

A Five-Step Process for Mastering Dieting Skills

Judith Beck - Why is it so hard to stick to a healthy eating plan and a reasonable exercise regimen? From the viewpoint of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), when it comes to changing behavior, especially long-term, habitual patterns, getting yourself to do something different, even when you know it's good for you, depends largely on what you tell yourself: that is, on your thinking.

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When Money Comes Up in Therapy

Two Ways to Make Your Fee Policies Clear and Easy to Talk About

By Lynne Stevens - Most therapists were never coached about how to reconcile the closeness of the therapeutic encounter with the fact that therapy is also a business. It has taken me years to understand that therapy is not separate from the exchange of money. I am in this profession because I care and have skills and knowledge that can help, and I also need to make a living.

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What Can Therapists Learn from The Minimalists?

Expert Joshua Millburn Explains What It Really Means to Let Go

By Ryan Howes - How does minimalism correlate with wellness? Why do we crave stuff, yet feel relief when we let it go? We therapists can easily identify the pathology of hoarding, but can we also see the benefits of embracing minimalism? To find answers to those kinds of questions, we caught up with Joshua Millburn, co-founder of The Minimalists.

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Raising Boys Right

How to Help Closed-Off Young Men Cross the Communication Divide

By Adam Cox - As we raise and support the next generation of boys, it's vital that we give them the tools to be full participants in society by helping them find the words to define themselves and relate to others. To do so, therapists and parents alike must explore new means of engaging silent youngsters, going beyond the business-as-usual inquiries about thoughts and feelings.

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Approaching Food Differently

Treating Binge Eating from a Non-Diet Perspective

By Sandra Wartski - Although binge eating disorder is the most common type of eating disorder, many people suffering with it don’t get the help they need because of their embarrassment about their bodies and eating habits. The approach to treating it is similar to other eating-disorder work, but we need to be especially vigilant about addressing issues of self-agency and keeping the focus more on wellness than weight.

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