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Who Do You Think You Are?

The Enduring Mystery of Temperament

Marian Sandmaier • 5/5/2009

Clinicians have long considered theories that emphasize inborn predispositions as antiquated and even reactionary. but the work of researchers like Jerome Kagan and startling developments in fields like behavioral molecular genetics are making therapists think again.

Magazine Article

Family Matters

Time Traveler - An empty nest can portend a freer life

Marian Sandmaier • 5/1/2008

Life in the empty nest can be humbling, exhilarating, and occasionally, just plain weird.

Magazine Article

The Secret Lives of Clients

Probing the Alchemy between Client and Clinician

Marian Sandmaier • 3/2/2004

What really makes therapy work? Clinicians invest prodigious amounts of time and energy trying to find out--comparing notes with colleagues, poring over journals, attending workshops, reflecting on their own recent sessions. But how often do therapists go to the source—their own clients—for wisdom on this vital question?

Magazine Article

Flying Lessons

Discovering Another Way of Being

Marian Sandmaier • 3/2/2004

In a single, unforeseen moment, a self-lacerating young woman takes a risk and discovers, deep in her bones, why we're a live.

Magazine Article

The Breakthrough

Waking Up to Life in a Mind-Body-Spirit Group

Marian Sandmaier • 5/22/2000

On the day I understood that something had to change, I was sitting in a newspaper editorial meeting, feeling the slight, probing pressure behind my right eye that signaled the onset of a migraine headache. Stay cool, I firmly told myself. You can handle this. "Handling this" meant doing what I had been doing for the past 18 years or so of persistent migraines--dosing myself with drugs and resolutely pretending to be fine.

Magazine Article

Healing the Family's Oldest Rifts

Adult Children and Their Parents

Marian Sandmaier • 7/7/1998

Somewhere in the middle of our lives, when we imagine we have finally achieved the proper balance of closeness and autonomy vis-a-vis our parents, or have accepted that we never will, many of us find ourselves at our parents' doorsteps again as they age and begin to need our help.

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Growing Up Transgender

Parents and Their Transgender Children Find a Healing, Validating Community

Marian Sandmaier • 4/7/2019

By Marian Sandmaier - Until very recently, most families with transgender children had never met another family like theirs. Now, parents and children from the trailblazing Ackerman Institute’s Family & Gender Project talk about their experience of joining a healing community that offers acceptance and a validating mirror of their own experience.

Daily Blog

Helping Traumatized Communities Become Their Own Healers

After Decades, a 77-Year-Old Therapist and His Global Program Show No Signs of Slowing Down

Marian Sandmaier • 2/2/2019

By Marian Sandmaier - For almost 25 years, Jim Gordon and his team at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine has worked in war zones, refugee camps, and communities struck by natural disasters and mass shootings, both in the United States and internationally. And still doing this work at 77, he has no plans to slow down.

Daily Blog

We Need to Talk About Depression Recurrence

Talking About Staying Well After Therapy May Be Lifesaving

Marian Sandmaier • 7/13/2018

By Marian Sandmaier - Virtually all clinicians make clear to departing clients that they’re welcome to return to therapy at any point. But for clients with recurrent depression, that may not be enough. I propose that before termination, therapists talk with clients candidly about the possibility of another episode of suffering down the line.

Daily Blog

Facing a Parent's Decline

Helping Grown Children and Aging Parents Learn to Nurture Each Other

Marian Sandmaier • 1/25/2018

By Marian Sandmaier - Nearly all therapists will soon be working with substantial numbers of aging families, whether or not they ever consciously choose to. The question at hand, then, is how can this juncture in the family life cycle be transformed from an emphasis on adjusting to loss and disappointments to a focus on growth and possibility?

Daily Blog

The Tony Robbins Experience

What’s the Takeaway for Therapists?

Marian Sandmaier • 1/8/2018

By Marian Sandmaier - Tony Robbins, who will give a special session at the 41st annual Networker Symposium in March, is a pop psychology phenom. Over the last four decades, his work in the area of emotional growth and healing has influenced millions of people. But can therapists learn anything useful from him?

Daily Blog

How to Locate Your "Felt Sense"

Eugene Gendlin's Six Steps to Focusing

Marian Sandmaier • 8/6/2017

By Marian Sandmaier - On a hot August morning in 2012, I sat with 25 strangers in a former Capuchin monastery overlooking New York’s Hudson River. We were there to spend a week learning about a therapeutic process known as Focusing. I couldn’t have known then that this deceptively simple practice would alter my life.

Daily Blog

Sorting Through the Bewildering World of Therapeutic Apps

Left to Our Own Devices

Marian Sandmaier • 11/7/2016

By Marian Sandmaier - Today, we’re entering a new and fast-expanding universe of emotional self-help—one populated by smartphone apps. They offer tools for everything from depression, social anxiety, and binge eating to phobias, postpartum problems, and substance abuse recovery. Since solace-by-app is here to stay, how might clinicians become a meaningful part of this mental health game changer, in ways that might benefit both themselves and their clients?

Daily Blog

Temperament: A Factor of Nature or Nurture?

How Therapists Can Help Us Accept and Break Free from Our Dispositions

Marian Sandmaier • 1/19/2016

New investigations are beginning to shed new light on a question that's hounded psychotherapy for more than a century: what's the relationship between nature and nurture, and what does it mean for the human project of change? As we come to understand more about the complex process of temperament development, therapists may be able to better help clients master one of life's trickiest balancing acts---making peace with one's inborn nature while knocking against its boundaries, in search of a larger self.

Daily Blog
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Open Book

Leaning toward the Light: Mary Pipher Turns Her Gaze Inward

Marian Sandmaier • 7/8/2022

In her new memoir, Mary Pipher refuses to dumb down what it takes to create a rewarding life.

Magazine Article

Family Matters

Hanging Out with Dick Van Dyke: A Lesson in Stepping Up

Marian Sandmaier • 9/7/2021

An encounter with a superstar teaches a young woman about courage.

Magazine Article

Celebrating the Creative Journey

A Writer's Remembrance

Marian Sandmaier • 3/2/2021

Even for seasoned writers, being edited by Rich wasn't an easy process, but it led them to the murky, half-buried thing waiting below the surface—the thing that actually mattered.

Magazine Article

The Therapy Beat

Can Therapists Help Parents Raise Antiracist Kids?

Marian Sandmaier • 8/26/2020

If ever there was a moment to talk with children about racism and antiracism, it’s now. But how, exactly?

Magazine Article

Facing the Challenge

Psychotherapy Responds to the Pandemic

Marian Sandmaier • 5/1/2020

If ever a conference devoted to “The Art of Healing in an Anxious Time” was needed, this is that time. At the 2020 Virtual Symposium, some of the field’s leaders offered both practical guidance and personal perspective on how to put what we know about trauma, mindfulness, and emotional connection to work as we confront a crisis few of us imagined possible.

Magazine Article

Clinician's Digest

Are Mental Health Days for Students a Good Idea?

Marian Sandmaier • 3/5/2020

Spearheaded by high school students and supported by some influential adults, a movement is underway to mandate a limited number of mental health days as part of a public school’s official sick-day policy.

Magazine Article

Clinician's Digest

A Controversial Study on Abortion Offers Surprising Findings

Marian Sandmaier • 9/4/2019

Whatever one’s position on abortion, it’s hard to dispute that the debate has ramped up radically over the last year.

Magazine Article

When Therapy Changes the Therapist

Five Tales of Self-Discovery

Marian Sandmaier • 5/6/2019

Although it’s not usually acknowledged, change in the consulting room goes both ways. Even as they help clients wrestle with their issues, it’s the rare therapist who hasn’t experienced his or her own eureka moments. Five therapists share their tales of personal transformation.

Magazine Article

Always on Call

When Disaster Strikes, Jim Gordon Gets to Work

Marian Sandmaier • 12/26/2018

Wherever people have been uprooted and stripped raw by the devastating force of war, sudden violence, or natural disaster, you’re likely to find Jim Gordon at work. For 25 years, he’s been bringing the tools of mind–body healing to trouble spots around the globe. His goal? To make himself unnecessary.

Magazine Article

In the Shadow of Depression

How Can We Manage to Stay Well?

Marian Sandmaier • 7/6/2018

Most clinicians know that if a person has suffered one bout of serious depression, he or she is much more vulnerable to another one. But most therapists still don’t address a vital question with their clients—how can they stay well once their most recent bout of misery has ended and they’ve left therapy?

Magazine Article
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Marian Sandmaier is a freelance book editor living in Merion Station, Pennsylvania. She's a features editor for the Psychotherapy Networker.