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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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.

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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 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.

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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?"

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Marianne Walters and the Women's Therapy Movement

How One Woman Brought Feminist Insight into Clinical Practice

Mary Sykes Wylie • 4/8/2015

Marianne Walters didn't invent a brilliant new therapeutic paradigm, publish a large and magisterial body of research, or establish her own unique school of clinical practice. Yet Walters probably had as great an impact on the overall clinical zeitgeist of family therapy as any of the master theory-builders and gurus. Along with her three comrades in arms---Betty Carter, Peggy Papp, and Olga Silverstein---she formed The Women's Project in Family Therapy in 1977, once called "the first, biggest, longest-running feminist road show." It was a combination feminist think tank and SWAT team, which, in public workshops all over the country, challenged the underlying sexism in some of the most basic notions of family therapy.

Daily Blog

Assessing the State of Psychotherapy

Is Today's Therapy Losing Out to Science and Psychopharmacology?

Mary Sykes Wylie • 3/13/2015

The bad news was made official in 2010, though everybody in the head-shrink business had long suspected as much: psychotherapy was in decline, or even in freefall. You might think this trend represents people’s preferences for the quick fix of a pill, rather than a slog through talk therapy, but you’d be wrong: surveys have consistently shown that depressed and/or anxious people and their families would rather talk to a real, live, human therapist than fill a prescription. So in what appears to be the twilight of the psychopharm gods, why aren’t therapy practitioners rising up, throwing off their chains, and reconquering lost mental health territory?

Daily Blog

The Rise of Therapy's Positive Psychology Movement

Martin Seligman Injects Thinking Positively into the Therapy World

Mary Sykes Wylie • 2/24/2015

How did Martin Seligman come to be known as the "father" of something called positive psychology, a movement that could change the face of psychotherapy as we know it? With his scientific study of what makes people happy and good, Seligman overturned therapy's culture of victimology, obsessed with the study of what's wrong with people---with their emotional lives, their relationships, their physical brains, and why they fail and feel bad. If people could be taught to feel bad, Seligman supposed, perhaps they could also be taught to feel good.

Daily Blog

Bridging Mind and Body in Trauma Treatment

How Bessel van der Kolk Pioneered a New Trauma Therapy

Mary Sykes Wylie • 2/11/2015

Bessel Van der Kolk first became aware of the world of trauma in 1978, when he decided to go work for the Veterans Administration, not to study PTSD (it hadn't been recognized yet as a formal diagnosis), but to get the government benefits to pay for his own psychoanalysis. While there, he discovered the reality of PTSD---and the beginnings of a stunning, nationwide phenomenon. Since then, the trauma field has gone from obscurity to become one of the most innovative and supported specialties in mental health. Trauma researchers have set off an explosion of knowledge about psychobiology and the interaction of body and mind. And van der Kolk, as much as anyone else in the field, has defined the current framework for understanding trauma.

Daily Blog

Mindfulness Enters American Health and Science

How Jon Kabat-Zinn Started a Mindful Revolution

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1/30/2015

In 1979, a 35-year-old MIT-trained molecular biologist had a vision of what his life’s work—his “karmic assignment”—would be. He’d bring the ancient Eastern disciplines he’d followed for 13 years—mindfulness meditation and yoga—to chronically sick people right here in modern America. What’s more, he’d bring these practices into the very belly of the Western scientific beast. Not exactly a modest scheme. But Jon Kabat-Zinn, the originator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), would manage to pull it off. Since then, mindfulness has spilled out of the healthcare/psychotherapy world and into the rest of society. But the explosive growth of mindfulness in America has also inevitably triggered a backlash.

Daily Blog

Revisiting Our Relationship with Insomnia

Why Our Trouble Sleeping Is More Normal Than We Think

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1/28/2015

Insomnia. Almost everybody has it at one time or another. Some poor souls live (or barely live) with it. It's hard to know exactly how widespread it is—prevalence rates are all over the map. But some researchers are drawing the conclusion that midnight or early-morning insomnia is possibly more "natural" than the pattern of eight hours straight sleep that we've come to expect, but often fail to achieve. Perhaps, the implication is, we ought to accept the reality of those hours awake and cultivate a better attitude toward the inevitable---we should accept and make friends with those wakeful hours in the middle of the night.

Daily Blog

The Explorative Narrative Therapy of Michael White

Embracing Storytelling in the Consulting Room

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1/14/2015

Watching Australian therapist Michael White's loosely called “narrative therapy" in session is a far cry from seeing one of the recognized lions of clinical performance, but in recent years, he has developed a worldwide following of both senior therapists and neophytes alike. He almost never asserts anything, rarely utters a declarative sentence, just patiently asks questions, hundreds of questions, often repeating back the answers and writing them down. At the same time, there is a startling tenacity about the process, a kind of polite but unshakable insistence on participation, a refusal to let people off the hook. He simply will not give up.

Daily Blog

John O'Donohue and the Poetics of Therapy

Rekindling Creative Therapy through Poetry

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1/8/2015

John O'Donohue has begun to build up a small but devoted following in the therapy world. At a time when the pressure is on to do ever briefer, more technical, symptom-focused, "evidence-based," standardized therapies, and to rationalize every moment of a clinical encounter, he reminds us what a noble, even sacred, calling therapy can be. What's more, O'Donohue's musings lead us to reflect on the same old questions mystics and spiritual guides have asked throughout the ages: Who are we? Where have we come from? Why are we here? What do we truly want?

Daily Blog

Larger than Life

Marianne Walters Was Family Therapy's Foremost Feminist

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1/7/2015

Marianne Walters didn't invent a brilliant new therapeutic paradigm, publish a large and magisterial body of research, or establish her own unique school of clinical practice. Yet Walters probably had as great an impact on the overall clinical zeitgeist of family therapy as any of the master theory-builders and gurus. Along with her three comrades in arms---Betty Carter, Peggy Papp, and Olga Silverstein---she formed The Women's Project in Family Therapy in 1977, once called "the first, biggest, longest-running feminist road show." It was a combination feminist think tank and SWAT team, which, in public workshops all over the country, challenged the underlying sexism in some of the most basic notions of family therapy.

Daily Blog

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Redefines Mental Health

How Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis Started a Psychotherapy Revolution

Mary Sykes Wylie • 12/26/2014

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is arguably the most successful therapy ever developed. In only about 40 years, it’s gone from the almost accidental innovations of two disenchanted psychoanalysts to the most widely practiced and promulgated approach in the world. Independently coinvented by Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, CBT is brief, usually 16 sessions or fewer, thus much cheaper than that once-famous other brand, psychodynamic therapy. But where did this streamlined, efficient, practical therapy come from? And what made it so revolutionary?

Daily Blog
Page 2 of 4 (37 Items)

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.

Magazine Article

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.

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