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The Essence of Healing

Jack Kornfield on What Our Profession Can Do for Humanity

By Jack Kornfield - There’s something so remarkable about seeing the beauty in another human being. It brings about more possibility for change than almost anything else that we can do. And out of this quality of presence comes healing.

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How Much Are We Really in Control?

Retraining the Knee-Jerk Brain

By Brent Atkinson - Conscious understanding and effort aren’t the mighty forces we assume they are. Our automatic urges and inclinations are much stronger than most of us ever imagined. Even so, there's something we can do to retrain the emotional brain.

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Thinking Outside the Box

Giving Stuck Clients a Therapy Experience Like They've Never Had Before

By Cloe Madanes - There are times when clients are so deeply stuck, not just in the unhappy circumstances of their pain, but in the unshakable sense that nothing they do will make any difference, that they need a little benign shaking up.

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VIDEO: Valeria Chuba on Male Sexuality in the Age of #MeToo

Is Male Sexuality Inherently Violent?

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, men are reevaluating the way they approach courtship, relationships, gender roles, and love. Their therapists must switch gears as well. In the following video, Networker senior writer Lauren Dockett speaks with Valeria Chuba, clinical sexologist and certified intimacy coach, on how male sexuality is strongly connected to masculinity in our culture, and why male sexuality isn't inherently violent.

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Athletes Get Real About Mental Health

What’s Behind the Recent Slew of Confessional Essays?

By Lauren Dockett - A growing list of professional athletes have begun going public with personal mental health concerns all on their own. They contain unflinchingly honest details from members of an elite segment of society who have historically been sent up as untouchable heroes. But why are these athletes opening up in this way, and why are they doing it now?

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The Power of Peer Groups

Escaping the Isolation of Private Practice

By Eleanor Counselman - Peer supervision groups provide a welcome respite from the isolation of private practice and an informal, nonevaluative setting after years of formal supervision, particularly for young therapists. They offer valuable guidance on difficult cases and tough ethical dilemmas to therapists at any level of experience. And they’re free!

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Loving Wholeheartedly

Fraught Parent-Child Relationships Can be an Opportunity for Personal Growth

By Leonard Felder - Every now and then, we're lucky enough to meet someone who feels driven to let go of old emotional baggage and find the kind of freedom that comes with being able to love wholeheartedly, without inner reservation. When that person is a client, they're a great lesson to us in our own lives.

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The Stories That Bind Us

A Special Feature from Our Family Matters Department

By Janine Roberts - When I was eight years old, I reached into Mom's jewelry drawer and found a folded piece of paper that read: “I want to die here in the meadow. The lupine and Indian paintbrush around me.” Not long ago, my granddaughter was born. She taught me anew how we want to connect and be seen—something Mom needed from me.

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The Art of Not Trying Too Hard

For Some Clients, Our Best Efforts Might Be Having the Opposite Effect

By Steven Shapiro - What stands in the way of connecting effectively? Sometimes difficulty stems, paradoxically enough, from trying too hard! Many clients, even if they're highly motivated, have only limited tolerance for emotional connection, interpersonal closeness, and sympathetic concern. Here are three guidelines that may help you form a solid alliance with your hard-to-reach clients.

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Reframing the "Burden" of Caretaking

Why Accepting Help is Empowering for Those Receiving and Giving

By Barry Jacobs - For those who've spent their lifetimes taking pride in giving generously to others, suddenly being on the receiving end of care because of illness or age-related infirmity can be tormenting. For many, rejecting help is regarded as a measure of one's courage and determination in battling family crises brought on by old age or disease. Here are some ways of overcoming this common tendency to refuse help.

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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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