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Breaking the Isolation of Caretaking

Three Ways to Help Clients Cope with the Challenges of Alzheimer’s

By Nancy Kriseman - The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5.2 million Americans affected by dementia are over the age 65, which makes the vast majority members of what’s called the traditionalist generation. Understanding this generation’s entrenched values and how they can affect their coping and your intervention can facilitate better outcomes. It’s important never to underestimate how validating and normalizing the caretaker’s experience can foster resilience and inspire hope.

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VIDEO: Diane Poole Heller on the Hidden Capabilities of Trauma Survivors

Watch as a Traumatized Client Taps Into a Wellspring of Healing in an Actual Session

Think all traumatized clients are shut-down and energy-sapped? Think again. In this clip from her Networker Symposium Keynote, "Creating a Corrective Emotional Experience," trauma specialist Diane Poole Heller shares a clip from an actual session, where she guides a client in tapping into a hidden wellspring of energy that leaves them feeling refreshed, happy, and safe.

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Is Parental Authority a Thing of the Past?

Fostering Parent Circles Can Demystify the Challenges of Raising Kids

By Ron Taffel - American parents today face a perfect storm of cultural and social circumstances that undermine the very foundations of parental authority. In response, mothers and fathers are beginning to see therapists as irrelevant and to challenge the entire social, educational, and economic context of childrearing.

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The 2016 Election Is Raising Ethical Concerns for Therapists

Is There a Place for Politics in Therapy?

By Chris Lyford - It's almost a cardinal rule that therapy and politics don’t mix. However, concerned about the stakes in this year’s presidential election, some therapists are wondering whether they have a professional, and even moral, obligation to bring politics into the consulting room.

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Turning Off the Inner Anger Switch

Using Brain Science to Invest Men in Anger Management

By Ron Potter-Efron - Over the past 30 years, I've spent nearly 25,000 hours counseling angry men. For many, anger is the only weapon they've ever had against feelings of powerlessness. But what I've found is that these men are fascinated by information about how anger develops in the brain, and how they're capable of literally using their own brains to calm down.

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VIDEO: Susan Johnson on the Power of Emotion

The Secret Ingredient in Good Therapy

Emotion is the most important motivating force bringing clients to our offices in the first place. Nevertheless, therapists are often strangely queasy in the presence of strong emotion. In this clip from her 2013 Symposium keynote address, Susan Johnson offers a vivid picture of how we can take full therapeutic advantage of the emotional force field to propel the process of change.

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A New Appreciation for Human Resilience

Rich Simon on Embracing Vulnerability as Strength

By Rich Simon - Clearly, therapists must always respond with empathy, understanding, and attuned clinical expertise to clients’ suffering. But in their urgency to relieve pain, therapists must not overlook the rich possibilities for health and growth within every person, without which even the most skilled clinician in the world can do nothing. In the end, all clients must, to some extent, be their own healers.

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The Essential Tasks of Brief Therapy

Meeting Treatment Goals in Just Eight Sessions

By Robert Taibbi - We all know the essential tasks of the first session in any kind of therapy: building rapport and a sense of collaboration, assessing and diagnosing, and formulating and offering a preliminary treatment plan. The tasks in brief therapy aren't different, but they're done in less time--meaning that therapists need to get to work immediately, and there's little leeway for mistakes.

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Understanding the Roots of Political Differences

How Political Leanings Boil Down to Moral Beliefs and Group Loyalties

By Ryan Howes - Perhaps you've had the experience of getting lost in a political argument in which you became exasperated that people on the other side couldn't see what was so obvious, despite your best efforts to reason with them. In the following interview, author Jonathan Haidt explains why politics is ultimately about our stance on fundamental moral beliefs and group loyalties--things that aren't usually influenced by facts, figures, or rational policy debate.

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Psychotherapy's Duty to the Wider World

Reflections on the Challenges and Rewards of Volunteer Work

By Jeffrey Kottler - Who has time to change the world when we already have our hands full trying to make a living and get through the obstacle course of a normal work week? It's not impossible. I now spend several months each year working in remote regions of Nepal, helping lower-caste girls, who are at the greatest risk of being forced into early marriage or trafficked into sex slavery. It's when I'm here that I feel most alive, and at least for the few months after I return, I feel a new clarity and focus about what's most important.

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Mind-Body Medicine in Motion

How One Therapist is Using Meditation to Help Suffering Populations Heal

By James Gordon - Recently, I was invited to Dharamsala by the Men Tsee Khang Institute, a school of traditional Tibetan medicine, to give a talk on the scientific basis of the mind–body connection and the techniques of self-care that are particularly effective with war- and disaster-traumatized populations. Here's what followed.

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Conversational Skill, the Common Denominator in Good Therapy

Are Specialization and Clinical Complexity Really Necessary?

By Jay Efran and Rob Fauber - Over psychotherapy’s history, the search for new therapy techniques and fancier gimmicks has led the field lurching down one blind alley after another. But therapy is undeniably a form of conversation, not a medical treatment. It can never be fully scripted or manualized, and its value hinges on a few basic principles that have been known for a long time.

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Appreciating the Strengths and Contributions of Introverts

Author Susan Cain Explains the Link Between Solitude and Creativity

By Ryan Howes - More often than not, we tend to give preference to the people we see as more social, gregarious, and comfortable in the limelight and in crowds. But according to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, maybe it’s time the world came to appreciate the strengths and contributions of the 50 percent of Americans who are introverts.

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How to Help Clients Break Their Obnoxious Habits

Using Hypnosis to Reinforce New Behaviors

By Ronald Soderquist - Sometimes there’s no need for a detailed assessment of a client’s entire life history and their family relationships, especially when the desired outcome is changing an automatic habit like nose-picking.

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The Unlikely Case for Exposure Therapy

Calling Up Qualities of Strength and Resilience in Anxious Clients

By Reid Wilson - The only way for anxious clients to incorporate corrective information was for them to access the intense arousal associated with that specific fear and then linger in that state long enough, without blocking or muting their thoughts or feelings, to learn at a primal level that they’re safe. This summons qualities of strength and resilience in clients that therapists often miss.

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Helping Clients Accept Loss and Find a "Good" Bye

Practical Interventions Using Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's Grief-Stage Model

By David Kessler - Although many people experience common responses to loss, the stages—Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance—were never meant to tuck messy emotions into neat packages. Still, the stages can provide a practical framework to help us identify what clients may need in their journey toward healing. Here, we explore two of these stages: denial and acceptance.

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VIDEO: Diane Ackerman on the Wonders of a Changing World

Opportunities and Challenges Facing Therapists in the Human Age

Poet, essayist, naturalist, teacher, polymath, and all-around creative genius, Diane Ackerman has for decades been writing extraordinarily rich, scientifically informed, and compulsively readable books of astonishing variety. In the following video clip, she describes the advancements, challenges, and insights for therapists in the new "Human Age."

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Becoming a More Entrepreneurial Therapist

Marketing Your Therapy Practice in the Age of the Educated Consumer

By Lynn Grodzki - The expectation of a full caseload of long-term clients who don’t question the length or expense of treatment belongs to a former age. Like it or not, therapists who wish to stay in business need to grasp the difference between the patients of yesterday and the educated mental health consumers of today.

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Treating OCD Without Co-Compulsing

When Traditional Therapy Won't Work

By Martin Seif and Sally Winston - It’s now clear that much of what therapists do for people suffering from OCD actually worsens the problem. Providing empathic reassurance, rational disputation, and coping skills to manage anxiety only serves to refuel the obsession. So how do you avoid the dead end of co-compulsing with your clients?

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Connecting Emotions to a Felt Body Sense

Using the Body to Help Clients Break Old Habits and Stuck Patterns

By Daniel Leven - Many therapists remain so focused on understanding the thoughts and feelings in clients’ minds that they forget about the pivotal information to be gleaned by paying more attention to clients’ bodies. The three-step somatic process below can be used with just about any therapeutic approach, and it will help you directly access the important information that lives within clients’ immediate physical experience.

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An Eccentric in Therapy

A Storytelling Piece on Looking for Therapy in the Wrong Place

By Bruce Jay Friedman - Stranded in Manhattan on a holiday weekend, Nat Solomon, a visiting academic from Detroit, decided to treat himself to an off-Broadway play. Solomon couldn't take his eyes off the actor who played the psychiatrist. Never before had he seen such compassion in a therapist's face. "On a night that you're not performing," he told the actor after the show, "I'd ask you to simply sit for me, much as you do in the play, and listen."

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Mindfulness Meets Internal Family Systems

Helping Clients Move from Acceptance to Transformation

By Richard Schwartz - Many therapeutic attempts to integrate mindfulness help clients notice negative emotions from a place of separation and extend acceptance toward them. But what if it were possible to transform this inner drama, rather than just keep it at arm’s length? The goal of Internal Family Systems (IFS) is to build on this important first step of separating from and accepting these impulses, and then take a second step of helping clients transform them.

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How to Help Couples Move Past an Extramarital Affair

The Importance of Finding Meaning, Recommitting, and Achieving Sexual Recovery

By Barry McCarthy - Recovery from an extramarital affair asks a lot of partners. They must not only process painful feelings, repair the rupture of trust, and share their deepest vulnerabilities, but also take steps to build a new, resilient bond, both emotionally and sexually. Allocating the right amount of time to deal with the affair and determining when partners are ready to focus on the present and future marital bond is a struggle for both clinicians and couples.

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The Uninvited Guest

A Master Clinician Shares Her Most Memorable Therapeutic Moment

By Hedy Schleifer - 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. In the following storytelling piece, couples therapist Hedy Schleifer shares a memorable moment from her own work.

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The Free Therapy Movement of Give an Hour

Therapists Extend Their Reach to Veterans in Need

By Chris Lyford - Since its founding in 2005, the Give an Hour organization has created a nationwide network of nearly 7,000 social workers, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, couples therapists, and substance-abuse counselors who’ve committed one hour a week to doing free counseling with members of the military and their families.

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