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Rediscovering the Mystery

For John O'Donohue, Therapy Is a Journey into the Unknown Self

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1/2/2009

As the pressure grows to do even briefer, more technical, symptom-focused, standardized treatments, poet, philosopher, and former priest John O'Donohue believes that therapy should be about awakening the human capacity for divine imagination.

Magazine Article

Visionary or Voodoo?

Daniel Amen's Crusade Has Some Neuroscientists Up in Arms

Mary Sykes Wylie • 12/30/2008

What's made Daniel Amen such a lightning rod within the world of academic neuroscience and psychiatry?

Magazine Article

Cyberspaced

Hanging Out With the In Crowd on Myspace.com

Mary Sykes Wylie • 11/26/2008

Hanging out with the in crowd on MySpace.com.

Magazine Article

Breaking Through

Poet David Whyte Invites Us to the Edge of Discovery

Mary Sykes Wylie • 11/1/2008

Poet David Whyte offers an idiosyncratic fusion of verse, myth, story, and personal charisma, demonstrating to audiences all over the world that psychology doesn't go far enough in making us face the "dangerous truths" of life.

Magazine Article

Sleepless in America

Making it Through the Night in a Wired World

Mary Sykes Wylie • 10/18/2008

If a vast conspiracy were afoot to create an entire civilization of insomniacs, it would operate pretty much the way our society does now. In a nonstop, globalized economy, sleep is a useless occupation, taking up precious time that might better be spent on producing, buying, and selling.

Magazine Article

The Accidental Therapist

Jay Haley Didn't Set Out to Transform Psychotherapy

Mary Sykes Wylie • 11/1/2007

Although he influenced a generation of therapists with his strategic methods, Jay Haley was always more at home as an observer of behavior than as an interviewer.

Magazine Article

Maestro in the Consulting Room

At 83, Salvador Minuchin is Still Reflecting on Clinical Wisdom

Mary Sykes Wylie • 5/1/2005

At 83, family therapy pioneer Salvador Minuchin, the most dazzling therapeutic practitioner of his generation, continues his search for clinical wisdom.

Magazine Article

Mindsight

Dan Siegel Offers Therapists a New Vision of the Brain

Mary Sykes Wylie • 9/1/2004

The publication of his first book earned him an audience with the Pope. Since then, psychiatrist Daniel Siegel has continued to demonstrate a visionary's ability to show how the physical matter of the brain creates the life of the mind, heart, soul, and spirit that's the glory of our species.

Magazine Article

Beyond Talk

Using Our Bodies to Get to the Heart of the Matter

Mary Sykes Wylie • 6/1/2004

From early on, we're taught to regard all hat stuff below our heads as somehow distinct from our "real" selves. But growing numbers of therapists are becoming convinced that the body may know more, know it more directly, and express it more honestly than the often muddled and avoidant mind.

Magazine Article

The Limits of Talk

Bessel Van der Kolk Wants to Transform the Treatment of Trauma

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1/2/2004

For more than 20 years, Bessel van der Kolk has been in the forefront of research in the psychobiology of trauma and in the quest for more effective treatments. Now he's touched off an intense debate about the role of scientific evidence in finding ways to alleviate suffering and the future of the traditional talking cure itself.

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The Brené Brown Approach to Being Enough

The Power of Embracing Vulnerability

Mary Sykes Wylie • 7/17/2020

A pervasive sense of shame makes many of us feel unworthy of human connection. Why the shame? Because in this perfectionistic culture, most of us believe we’re “not good enough." Professor and acclaimed TED speaker Brené Brown says that some people have escaped the shame trap. How? They let themselves be vulnerable.

Daily Blog

Do We Still Need Attachment Theory?

Jerome Kagan, Daniel Siegel, and Salvador Minuchin Weigh In

Mary Sykes Wylie • 4/30/2019

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.

Daily Blog

How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Rose to Power

...And the Transformative Session That Inspired Its Creator

Mary Sykes Wylie • 4/19/2019

By Mary Sykes Wylie - Cognitive behavioral therapy is arguably the most successful therapy ever developed. But where did this streamlined, efficient, practical therapy come from that would prove such a good match for our fast-paced, high-tech civilization?

Daily Blog

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Revisited

CBT Isn't as Manualized as You Think, Says Judith Beck

Mary Sykes Wylie • 3/29/2019

By Mary Sykes Wylie - Today, cognitive behavioral therapy is among the most widely practiced and promulgated approach in the world. But for all its mantle of scientific rigor and official approval, many therapists find CBT's "lab therapy" hard to love, if not downright dislikable. In the following interview, renowned CBT clinician Judith Beck explains how the method works, and why it's gotten a bum rap.

Daily Blog

A Look Back at the Evolution of Trauma Treatment

Are Clinicians Still Turning a Blind Eye to a Key Factor?

Mary Sykes Wylie • 11/24/2016

By Mary Sykes Wylie - In the 1970s, no sooner had the definition of PTSD been signed, sealed, and delivered, than many clinicians began to realize that the new diagnosis by no means encompassed the experience of all traumatized clients. In the case of trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, many of his traumatized clients shared one other feature: they all reported histories of childhood abuse.

Daily Blog

The Mindfulness Explosion

The Perils of Mainstream Acceptance

Mary Sykes Wylie • 2/8/2016

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.

Daily Blog

How to Embrace Mindfulness More Fully

Finding Happiness By Learning to Pause in an Age of Distraction

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1/28/2016

Now, more than ever, we tend to greet every minute with demands such as: "I want this. I don't want this. I want more of this. I want less of that." We have ideas about what our minutes should or should not be. But if we are lucky, occasionally we experience a sparkling moment when we break out of our trance of self and are fully present. Sometimes these lead to epiphanies, which present us with aha moments of new understanding. Or our thoughts simply may be "Isn't this wonderful?" or "Isn't life amazingly rich and complicated?"

Daily Blog

What the Financial Crisis Reveals About Our Psyche and Values

Confronting our Definitions of Wealth in the Therapy Room

Mary Sykes Wylie • 10/21/2015

The current economic crisis may be no more than a rather large bump in the golden road of endlessly self-renewing American prosperity. Still, it's hard not to have a sense of foreboding that, this time, things really are different. Perhaps this is a good time to revisit some of our basic assumptions about wealth---what it means to us as Americans, how it defines us as a people, how it influences the way we think about ourselves, about freedom, success, and happiness, about what we really want from life, and what the American Dream really means to us.

Daily Blog

Can Childhood Trauma Lead to Adult Obesity?

How One Study Exposed the Connection Between Early Life Abuse and Weight Gain

Mary Sykes Wylie • 9/24/2015

During the mid-1980s, Vincent Felitti, founder of Kaiser Permanente's Department of Preventive Medicine, began directing a new obesity-treatment program. But within a year or two, Felitti and his colleagues began having a very unusual problem. Virtually none of the patients were fat as children. They'd gained their weight abruptly, usually in response to a difficult life event. But the shocking news was that the interviews revealed an unsettling pattern of childhood sexual abuse, trauma, family suicides, brutality, and other evidence of severely dysfunctional family relationships.

Daily Blog

Putting SPECT Brain-Imaging Under the Microscope

Why is Daniel Amen's Method for Treating Psychiatric Disorders So Controversial?

Mary Sykes Wylie • 5/6/2015

Psychiatrist Daniel Amen argues that a brain-imaging method called SPECT is an invaluable tool for understanding and treating psychiatric disorders. SPECT has been used in a huge number of research studies on almost every conceivable psychiatric and neurological condition, as well as some nonpsychiatric studies. So what is it about Amen and his mission to get therapists to use brain imaging, and SPECT in particular, as an aid to diagnosis and treatment that makes him such a lightning rod?

Daily Blog
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Turns in the Road

Highlights from the Networker Journey

Mary Sykes Wylie, Dusty Miller, Esther Perel, Frank Pittman, Fred Wistow, Gary Greenberg, Katy Butler, Laura Markowitz, Molly Layton, Rich Simon, Ron Taffel • 1/1/2017

Out of all the hundreds and hundreds of articles that have appeared in the Networker over the past four decades, we’ve chosen a small sampling that captures the magazine’s most journalistic side, conveying not so much the eternal verities of our profession, but the sense of reading a first draft of the field’s history. Among other things, you’ll find therapeutic methods that, as exciting as they seemed at the moment, didn’t stand the test of time as well as initial forays into discussing complex issues we’re still struggling with today. We’ve also added in a few examples of writing so immediate and compelling that they have an air of timelessness. Prepare yourself for an interesting journey.

Magazine Article

Living Brave

From Vulnerability to Daring

Mary Sykes Wylie, Rich Simon • 8/30/2016

With millions of people having seen her TED talks and read her books, researcher and bestselling author Brené Brown is a phenomenon. But aside from her talents as a speaker, teacher, and writer, why is she such a runaway hit? Haven’t therapists been writing about her professional specialty—the malign impact of shame—for decades? Perhaps her vast appeal has to do with how she’s turned the concepts of shame and vulnerability on their heads.

Magazine Article

From Attachment to Creativity

Highlights from the 2016 Symposium

Mary Sykes Wylie • 5/6/2016

At a time in which our society seems immersed in a toxic stew of fear and anger, this year's Symposium provided a celebration of human values and ideas that seem to be vanishing from our public discourse. Here's a taste of a few of its particularly stellar moments.
  • "Our Trichotillomania of the Soul" by Rich Simon
  • "The Path of Surprise and Discovery" by David Whyte
  • "The View from Black America" by Kenneth Hardy
  • "The Dance of Sex" by Susan Johnson
  • "The Wisdom of Mad Men" by William Doherty
  • "How Hard Times Can Open the Heart" by Rick Hanson

Magazine Article

The Unspeakable Language of Sex

Why Are We Still so Tongue-Tied?

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1/11/2016

If you’re like most couples therapists, you know how to help partners communicate more clearly, handle conflict with less uproar, and connect more emphatically. But 50 years after the so-called sexual revolution, many therapists are still unsure about how and when to talk about sexual issues. In our obsession with pop sexuality, we’ve vastly overestimated the power of sexual acts while vastly underestimating the feelings associated with them.

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Community Mental Health Today

Encompassing the Big & the Small

Mary Sykes Wylie • 11/18/2015

The promise of the community mental health movement of the 1960s, providing high-quality psychological and social services to poor families, remains unfullled. But today, two professionals bring together both a grasp of broader social issues and a store of practical clinical wisdom to offer complementary perspectives on how to best help poor communities.

Magazine Article

The State of Our Art

Do Our Old Ways Fit the New Times?

Mary Sykes Wylie • 3/1/2015

While the number of people in psychotherapy keeps declining, surveys reveal that potential clients would still rather talk to a therapist than fill a prescription. So what’s going on? We asked six of the field’s most outspoken leaders to offer their views.

Magazine Article

The Mindfulness Explosion

The Perils of Mainstream Acceptance

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1/1/2015

By replacing the exotic aura of spirituality with the language of science and a down-to-earth self-help approach, mindfulness has brought practices once considered New Age hokum into mainstream acceptance. But as it increasingly becomes a product to be sold in the marketplace, does it risk losing something vital to its transformative power?

Magazine Article

The CBT Path Out of Depression

Two Perspectives on How It Works

Mary Sykes Wylie • 11/12/2014

While widely acknowledged to be the most empirically supported therapy ever invented, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often criticized for being too rigid and mechanical. Not so, say two of its foremost practitioners.

Magazine Article

Falling in Love Again

A Brief History of Psychoactive Drugs

Mary Sykes Wylie • 7/11/2014

Over the last 150 years, we’ve seen waves of mass infatuations with psychotropic drugs—antidepressants being the latest. While all these drugs are different, their story arc seems to follow a predictable course.

Magazine Article

The Book We Love to Hate

Why DSM-5 Makes Nobody Happy

Mary Sykes Wylie • 3/7/2014

From small insignificant beginnings in 1952, when almost nobody read it, DSM has become a kind of sacred literary monster. Today, it’s the most detested and certainly the most debated mental health classification scheme ever devised.

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Mary Sykes Wylie, Ph.D., is the senior editor of the Psychotherapy Networker.