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How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime

Pediatrician and TED Speaker Nadine Burke Harris on Treating the "Whole Person"

By Ryan Howes - Several years ago, pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris had a eureka moment when she discovered the adverse childhood experiences study (ACEs), which helped her realize her young patients with the most stubborn physical ailments were coping with all kinds of traumas.

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May Quandary: Is It Ever Okay to Break Confidentially If I Know My Client Is Dating an Abuser?

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

By Chris Lyford - Diedre was widowed about three years ago, but was excited to tell her therapist about a man she's started dating. She's very happy. As her therapist heard more, he realized this is the same man another client used to date, who slowly became controlling and abusive. Should Diedre's therapist share this info? Five therapists weigh in.

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The World of Gender Fluidity

Understanding Gender-Variant Clients

By Margaret Nichols - As cultural attitudes about gender variance have undergone a profound shift, much of what therapists believed about what it means to be transgender is now hopelessly outdated. But how do people know that they’re the wrong gender? And what does that kind of knowing mean for our assumptions about males and females as “opposite sexes”?

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VIDEO: Helping Teen Clients Make Good Decisions

...And What to Do When They Talk About Risky Behavior

Networker’s Lauren Dockett talks with teen therapist Britt Rathbone about navigating the tricky issues of confidentiality, risky behavior, and improving teen judgment and self-control.

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Does Neuroscience Matter?

The Biological Power of the Talking Cure

By Louis Cozolino - Some therapists bristle at the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy, calling it irrelevant or reductionistic. But it's hard to grasp how the brain could be irrelevant to changing the mind. Knowing about neuroscience is invaluable for therapists, not because it offers specific new techniques or clinical theories, but because it provides a deeper understanding of the biological power of the "talking cure."

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VIDEO: Building Inner Strength with Brain Science

Cultivating Positivity and Virtue in Yourself and Your Clients

Weaving together insights from evolutionary biology, modern neuroscience, positive psychology, and mindfulness practices, neuropsychologist Rick Hanson claims the difficulty at the core of human experience is our perpetual struggle to overcome the negativity bias wired into our brains. Here, he explains how understanding the brain can help therapists and their clients grow inner strengths.

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When Three Threatens Two

Must Parenthood Bring Down the Curtain on Romance?

By Esther Perel - Sex makes babies. So it is ironic that the child, the embodiment of the couple's love, so often threatens the very romance that brought that child into being. But the brave and determined couple who maintains an erotic connection is, above all, the couple who values it. They know that it's not children who extinguish the flame of desire: it's adults who fail to keep the spark alive.

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Words That Haunt

Helping Couples Work Through Old Character Attacks

By Ellen Wachtel - I used to believe that if a couple was getting along and behaving in a loving way to one another, hurtful and even cruel words would naturally fade into the background. But I’ve frequently seen couples in which hurt spouses may forgive their partner for the harsh words spoken in anger, but nonetheless remain haunted by some biting comment that continues to sting long after the argument is over.

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Confronting Technostress

We're Being Smothered in Data. Here's What Therapists Can Do About It.

By Margaret Wehrenberg - Perhaps no endemic workplace condition causes more anguish among employees than the culture of contrived urgency, the ginned-up atmosphere of crisis, in which everything—every project, every report, every meeting—is an urgent priority, superseding all the other urgent priorities before it in the long queue.

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The Millennial Question

Are Today's Young Adults on the Brink of Crisis?

By Chris Lyford - After an interview about Millennials with leading TED speaker and business consultant Simon Sinek went viral, with more than 6 million views on YouTube, some therapists started to ponder its core message—that Millennials are facing a mental health crisis of mammoth proportions.

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VIDEO: What Therapy and Surgery Have in Common

Crafting the Right Language for the Right Outcome

Choosing the right words to open and close therapy sessions is one of the most important skills a clinician can master. But very few of us were taught how to do it. In this short video clip, Bill Doherty explains how to jump start therapy from the very first minute of the very first session.

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I’m Funny and I Faint

A Story of Vulnerability and Possibility

By Lynn Lyons - Believe me, I like boundaries. My office is attached to the back of my house, and the rules surrounding that are made clear to my clients. But how can I teach my young worriers (and the older ones, too) to relish the uncertainty of human connection if I’m unwilling to connect genuinely with them?

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Five Things Seasoned Therapists Wish They'd Known

. . . And the One Question You Should Always Ask Your Clients

By Chris Lyford - Whether they’ve been practicing for three months or three decades, therapists are continuously honing their craft. But much of what we learn through trial and error, and hours upon hours sitting across from clients, we were never taught in grad school. So we asked some seasoned therapists to pass on the lessons they wish someone had told them when they were first starting out.

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VIDEO: Helping Clients Envision Personal Transformation

...While Still Validating Their Pain

How do you help clients access resourceful states when they’re feeling hopeless and helpless? In this short video, trauma specialist Courtney Armstrong explains.

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Helping Children Conquer the OCD "Worry Hill"

A Child-Friendly Approach to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

By Aureen Pinto Wagner - While CBT is widely considered the treatment of choice for children with OCD, effectiveness is contingent on overcoming a formidable obstacle: children's reluctance to engage in exposure therapy because they think that facing their fears without performing rituals will be too scary and impossible. Here's a fun yet effective approach that tackles this problem.

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April Quandary: My Teenage Client’s Parents Say He’s Depressed, But He Disagrees!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

By Chris Lyford - Fourteen-year-old client Tyler’s parents brought him to therapy because they say he rarely engages with classmates or teachers, isn’t interested in extracurriculars, and heads straight to his room after school to play video games. They worry he’s depressed, but he’s mostly responsive in therapy and insists he’s happy. Here's how five therapists say they'd proceed.

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Learning to Manage the OCD Bully

A Story of One Woman’s Journey for Help

By Diane Cole - An OCD sufferer describes the frustrating stops and starts and misdirections of her circuitous search for help in escaping the maze of her family of origin and the deep-seated tropes in her own brain.

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VIDEO: What Therapists Need to Know About Working with LGBTQ+ Clients

How We Think About Gender and Sexuality is Changing at "Warp Speed"

Today’s LGBTQ+ community has exploded in size, and therapists working in progressive, urban communities will likely see clients whose approach to sex, gender, and relationships diverges from the mainstream. In this short video clip, sex therapist and author Margie Nichols explains what this means for your work.

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Disabling Toxic Verbiage

Four Ways to Push Pause on a Verbal Bully

By Kate Cohen-Posey - We live in an age in which using toxic verbiage against others has almost become the norm. Here's how we can help clients deal with these kinds of situations in the moment.

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Getting "Ghosted" by Clients

Four Stories from Therapists, and What They Learned from Their Experience

By Chris Lyford - We've all seen it happen. Maybe some of us are even guilty of it ourselves: Sometimes it's easier to simply ignore people than respond when they reach out. But this disappearing act, or "ghosting" as it's become commonly known, also happens to therapists quite often. Here, four clinicians share their stories.

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Young and Restless

A Special Story from Our Family Matters Department

By Dick Anderson - When you’re young, a car isn’t just a car—it can be a freedom machine.

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Fully Present Sex

How Mindfulness Can Heighten Desire, Arousal, and Satisfaction

By Lauren Dockett - When sex becomes fraught or painful, fear and worries can overtake this important source of pleasure. But clinicians and clients are embracing a nonmedical solution: mindfulness practices that cultivate sexual self-understanding, desire, and pleasure in the bedroom—and the effects are mind-blowing.

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Submit to Clinician's Quandary!

Let Us Know How YOU Would Tackle This Sticky Situation in Your Practice...

Even the best therapists rely on advice from peers. In the spirit of building community, we're introducing Clinician's Quandary, a new forum where you can weigh in on how you'd handle a particular clinical quagmire. Here's this month's Quandary.

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VIDEO: Breaking Rigid Thinking Around Intimacy

A Three-Part Solution for Couples Therapy

Sex therapist Suzanne Iasenza talks about a three-part process that helps couples free themselves from the rigid narratives about sex that keep them from exploring what really brings them pleasure.

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Do We Still Need Attachment Theory?

Jerome Kagan, Daniel Siegel, and Salvador Minuchin Weigh In

By Mary Sykes Wylie - In the world of psychotherapy, few models of human development have attracted more acceptance in recent years than the centrality of early bonding experiences to adult psychological well-being. What on earth could ever be wrong with emphasizing early bonding, connection, and relationship as the foundation of all good therapy? According to some critics, attachment-based therapy neglects a vast range of important human influences.

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