As we put the finishing touches on this issue, I can’t help but notice the contrast between our staff’s early brainstorming sessions on it and the actual magazine that’s on its way to the printer. It happens every time: once we land on a theme that intrigues us, we begin to talk with therapists who have some expertise on the topic, and those conversations expand our original concept. Then, as we begin to collect first drafts and do some reporting ourselves, we have more aha moments, which means the theme keeps evolving, sharpening, deepening. It’s an exhilarating, though occasionally exhausting, process. Luckily, we have deadlines!
This readiness to revise and reimagine may be even more central to therapists’ work. It starts at the micro level. Every clinician knows that they need to stay open and fluid in their moment-to-moment responses to clients, not only because each client shows up differently every time they walk into your office, but also because they keep changing over the course of a session—and so do you. And there’s the bigger picture, of course. In response to the tumultuous times we’re living in, the particular culture we’re working within, and the evolution of therapeutic knowledge, it can be useful—even exciting—to reconsider and possibly reconceive elements of clinical practice.
In this issue, we investigate how and why therapists around the country—and around the world—are reimagining their work. This rarely means starting from scratch; it’s more about conducting careful, creative experiments that push the edges of the ways they’ve been working, allowing them to discover more useful—and often more expeditious—ways of helping clients.
One author accomplishes this by ingeniously melding two well-established approaches, while another applies a new framework to help clients consider an age-old ethical dilemma. Other writers challenge long-held wisdom about how to best treat particular clinical conditions. We enlarge our lens beyond the United States, too, showing how an evidence-based model of couples therapy is applied differently—and usefully—in two countries that hold relational values and gender expectations very different from our own.
The key, all these authors demonstrate, is to preserve what works while always staying open to new insights, tweaks, and amplifications that might further boost our effectiveness with clients. As one writer observes, “Being an expert in your method is only one part of the secret sauce.” It might well be a vital ingredient. But it’s rarely the whole recipe.
Editor in Chief
Livia Kent, MFA, is the editor in chief of Psychotherapy Networker. She worked for 10 years with Rich Simon as managing editor of Psychotherapy Networker, and taught writing at American University as well as for various programs around the country. As a bibliotherapist, she’s facilitated therapy groups in Washington, DC-area schools and in the DC prison system. In 2020, she was named one of Folio Magazine’s Top Women in Media “Change-Makers.” She’s the recipient of Roux Magazine‘s Editor’s Choice Award, The Ledge Magazine‘s National Fiction Award, and American University’s Myra Sklarew Award for Original Novel.