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The Transgender Journey

What Role should therapists play?

By Jean Malpas - Many parents confront new definitions of gender as pioneers, some never having heard the word transgender or cisgender before, all of them hacking their way through a wilderness of confusion, panic, and shame. As we work together, they slowly begin to understand---and act on---what we’ve found to be three essential elements of healing.

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VIDEO: Attuning to Reluctant Teens

Getting Through to Shut-Down Kids

Most therapists are aware of the perils of trying to connect with teenage clients. Teens are often brought to therapy against their will by adults, which can make them especially unwilling to let therapists in. And don’t talk to them like kids--they’re too old for that. But don’t bore them with stereotypical “therapist talk” either--they’re expecting that. So how do therapists relate to teens without seeming patronizing, clueless, or invasive? Therapist Dan Hughes explains...

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The Power of Community in Healing Trauma

Therapy in the Aftermath of the Paris Terrorist Attacks

By Chris Lyford - In the aftermath of terrorist attacks, such as the one in Paris, clinicians are increasingly aware that the most effective way of preventing or minimizing post-terror trauma isn’t some set of therapeutic techniques, but the power of community to help people feel connection and support.

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Practice at the Intersection of Psychotherapy and Coaching

Using Coaching Techniques to Encourage, Challenge, and Motivate Your Therapy Clients

By Lynn Grodzki - A new style of working has emerged that integrates the in-depth understanding of traditional therapy with the experience of being instructed, pushed, and challenged identified with coaching. But can a clinician effectively encompass both styles with the same client?

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VIDEO: Helping Trauma Survivors Find a New Normal

How to Help Clients Do More than Just Recover

There’s no question that helping clients return to a basic functional level should be the main goal with trauma survivors. But what if clients could not only eliminate traumatic stress, but also come away from treatment feeling more resilient and with a fuller sense of self? Lisa Ferentz explains her concept of Post-Traumatic Growth.

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The Negative Habits That Create Unhappiness

A Guide to the Self-Saboteur and Why They Behave the Way They Do

By Cloe Madanes - Most of us claim we want to be happy—to have meaningful lives, enjoy ourselves, experience fulfillment, and share love and friendship with other people. Strangely enough, however, some people act as if they just want to be miserable, and they succeed remarkably at inviting misery into their lives, even though they get little apparent benefit from it. So if you aspire to make yourself miserable, what are the best, most proven techniques for doing it?

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Creating Therapeutic Changes That Last

Why Changing Clients' Habits is Key to Making Therapy Stick

By Steven Stosny - With the exception of saints and literary characters, enduring change rarely happens as the result of being knocked off our feet by a spiritual or psychological whack upside the head. Perdurable change is gradual and mundane. It occurs by extending, supplementing, and altering the habits that shape perspectives and drive behavior. First comes the hard work; then comes the epiphany.

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How Therapy Reached the New Age of Trauma Treatment

Janina Fisher on Helping Trauma Clients Access Their Bodies, Resources, and Resilience

By Janina Fisher - In this new age of trauma treatment, we aim to help our clients find the light---or at least to find their bodies, their resources, and their resilience. Of course, listening to and witnessing the clients’ experiences remain central to the treatment process, but we now focus on much more than the traumatic events in their histories, knowing these events don’t define who they truly are.

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The Remarriage Triangle

Working with Later-Life Recouplers and their Grown Children

By Patricia Papernow -  Later-life recoupled families are appearing more and more often in therapists’ offices. Although divorce rates have dwindled in the United States over the last two decades, they’re soaring among people over 50, along with rates of remarriage. However, these later-life recouplers face many of the same challenges that younger stepfamilies do, complicated by the long-standing networks of relationships that come with this life stage.

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Strengthening Trauma Therapy by Bringing in the Family

Mary Jo Barrett on the Healing Potential of Families in Trauma Treatment

By Mary Jo Barrett - Mostly, I think we avoid family therapy because families can be so exhausting, creating an atmosphere of great emotional volatility, which requires us to be on our toes all the time. But the therapy experience takes on an entirely different dimension when family members learn to be healing agents for each other. Clients, especially those who’ve been traumatized, often feel disconnected from themselves and somehow separate and cut off from other people.

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Righting Psychotherapy's Reputation in the Media

Bessel van der Kolk and the New York Times

By Kathleen Smith - It’s no secret that psychotherapy has had an image problem in the media. Real and fictional clinicians on TV and in the movies are regularly portrayed as jargon-spouting caricatures, or are often shown to break ethical codes without blinking, displaying more personal problems than their clients. But a bigger part of the problem may be that, on the whole, therapists haven’t done a particularly good job explaining what we do or how it works.

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A Therapist Struggles with the Clinical Choices He's Made

Reflections on a Marriage Therapy with a Transitioning Spouse

By David Treadway - Sometimes I’ve been instrumental in helping couples stay married when perhaps they’d have been happier if they’d gotten divorced. Other times, it’s been the reverse. Obviously, we all know that’s it not our job to tell our clients what’s right for them: rather, we need to create the right conditions for them to discover the answers for themselves. Frequently, however, our own reactivity shapes the messages we send and how profoundly we can influence---in unconscious and unpredictable ways---the unfolding of some couples’ lives. I feel that way about my work with Glen and Julie over a 14-year span.

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VIDEO: Using Yoga to Calm the Revved-Up Client

The Yoga Breath’s Universal Application

Brain science has revealed how deep breathing can calm our overactive nervous system, clear our distressed mind, and restore us to a balanced emotional state, says Amy Weintraub, a recognized leader in the practice of yoga and a presenter at this year’s Psychotherapy Networker Symposium
So how do you introduce these techniques in session to an anxious client who may be averse to the idea of yoga? Hear Amy explain. . .

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Treating Happiness as a Metric Rather than a Goal

Does Mild Unhappiness Make Us More Focused and Successful?

By Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener - There’s a clear and nearly universal assumption that happiness is desirable and, being so metaphorically shiny, we should all be trying to stockpile it. As experts in the field, we know the surprising truth. The tendency is to overlook the fact that happiness itself is sometimes harmful. Here are several often overlooked research results about a happy mindset that sound a warning.

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The Rise of Distance Therapy

What Does New Technology Mean for the Future of Therapy?

By Kathleen Smith. We no longer live in a world in which we can so clearly partition ourselves off from the electronic information grid. Many occupations no longer require a clearly defined workplace or a physical presence. Why should psychotherapy be any different?

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New Choices for New Times

Giving Our Field a Boost

By William Doherty - Lately, psychotherapy seems to be suffering the same fate as many other professions that have declined in their cultural support and public clout. A big part of our problem is that our clinical models have assumed a level of universal truth about human functioning that transcends culture and history, but when the culture changes, then the model becomes outdated. What to do? Here’s a road map to a future of relevance.

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Is Mood Science a New Way to Treat Depression In Therapy?

What Low Mood Can Teach Us About Treating Depression

Depression has been a tough nut to crack, but we haven’t focused much on what’s at the center of that nut: mood. Understanding the forces that are seeding low mood in the depression epidemic can help us better understand how to achieve better therapeutic outcomes.

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How Mindfulness is Changing Our Relationship with Ourselves

Jon Kabat-Zinn on the Healing Capacity of Mindfulness in the Modern World

Jon Kabat-Zinn is an expert when it comes to exploring the connection between the intensely private experience of living a meditative life and responding to the vast deluge of global and social problems we collectively face. In the following interview, he explains what it means to be mindful and why it’s becoming increasingly relevant in our modern world.

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VIDEO: Susan Johnson on Attachment Issues in the Bedroom

How to Help Couples Have "Hold Me Tight" Conversations

Susan Johnson, couples therapist and author of Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships, will be a keynote speaker at this year's Networker Symposium. Here, she talks about how creating emotionally valuable experiences in therapy helps keep struggling couples engaged and better able to see their partner's point of view, and communicate better outside of therapy and in the bedroom.

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Getting Unhooked

Optimizing Connection with Teenage Clients by Understanding Your Own Attachment Style

For a child to develop, adults need to “loan” them their adult regulatory system. But being a self-aware, engaged, and compassionate therapist isn't automatic. To play our part, we must first foster our own capacity to self-regulate before we can demand it of a terrified or furious teen. Attachment is a two-way street: it’s not just about them.

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The Mindfulness Explosion

The Perils of Mainstream Acceptance

The explosive growth of mindfulness in America has inevitably triggered a backlash—a low, rumbling protest, particularly from Buddhists, who're disturbed by how much meditation in America appears to have been individualized, monetized, corporatized, therapized, taken over, flattened, and generally coopted out of all resemblance to its noble origins in an ancient spiritual and moral tradition.

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VIDEO: Rick Hanson on Overcoming the Brain’s Negativity Bias

Creating Lasting Change

Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and author of Buddha's Brain, will be a keynote speaker at this year's Networker Symposium. Here, he talks about our brain's negativity bias and how to help our clients overcome it. After all, our job as therapists is to help our clients make lasting changes by changing the brain.

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The Case for Porn

Can Pornography Actually Help our Relationships?

Porn is polarizing. Porn is confusing. Porn can be alarming. For therapists, porn can push us out of our comfort zone and trigger negative countertransference. One thing is for sure: porn is everywhere, and it’s here to stay. So what do therapists have to say about it?

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Breaking the Cycle of Depression

Bill O'Hanlon on the "Marbling" Technique for Working with Depressed Clients

Depressed clients repeat the same thoughts, activities, feelings, and experiences again and again, as if entranced. Good depression treatment is largely about awakening them from this bad trance.

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The Risk-Taker’s Advantage

Are Today's Parents Too Overprotective?

There’s now consensus among social scientists that children in developed countries have never been safer. But the new normal is a growing pattern of overprotection that I’ve seen emerging as one of the thorniest clinical issues for therapists because it can look so reasonable. Rather than insisting that parents change their behavior and supervise their children less, I focus on how they can give their kids opportunities to experience the manageable amounts of risk and responsibility needed for success.

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