The Story of Family Therapy's Unabashed Founding Father
Jay Haley was an unlikely candidate to become a founder of the early family therapy movement. An outsider to the field, he had no formal training in psychology or psychotherapy. But as someone who translated the abstruse concepts of cybernetics—the rules, sequences, and feedback loops that guide self-regulating machines—into the lingua franca of family therapy, Haley helped give the field its organizing principles.
How Veterans Forced Mental Health to Confront the New Trauma
Before the 1970s, almost no mental health authorities imagined, much less expected and prepared for, traumatic reactions to war to emerge years after the conflict ended. But after they returned stateside, almost 50 percent of Vietnam veterans began breaking down, months or even years later. By the late 1970s, it had become obvious to many therapists that the old diagnostic system had fatal flaws. DSM-II seemed to have been written for a world in which serious trauma virtually never occurred. While the veterans were struggling for recognition on one front, another campaign was being waged---which included some of the same people---on another, to get traumatic stress back into the DSM.
Making it Through the Night in a Wired World
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. As many as 30 percent of the population, or as few as 9 percent (depending on the source of the statistic, or how insomnia is defined, or what impact it has), suffer from some form of it at least some of the time. What's undisputed, however, is that sleep is as necessary to physical and mental health as air and water, and that, without it, we suffer—often severely. So, those annoying world-beaters, who brag about needing only four hours of sleep a night (the better to forge multimillion-dollar start-ups and do their Nobel Prize–winning research) are perhaps not being entirely candid.
For John O'Donohue, Therapy Is a Journey into the Unknown Self
Poet John O'Donohue's introduction to the therapy field came through his unlikely friendship with neuropsychiatrist Daniel Siegel, known for his book The Developing Mind and his pathbreaking efforts to help therapists develop an understanding of how the brain develops and changes in response to human relationships. Recalls Siegel, "It seemed to me that he described, in a beautifully poetic way, the human mind in a state of inner coherence or neural integration--which is my subject--and how both solitude and relationship can act in tandem to bring a sense of mental and emotional wholeness."
Michael White is the Ultimate Prospector
Over the past decade, Michael White has developed a worldwide following of both senior therapists and neophytes on several continents who insist he has something vitally important to say that the field needs to hear. But watching him in session is a far cry from seeing one of the recognized lions of clinical performance sweep grandly into the middle of a dysfunctional family circle and in one session transform it into a little kingdom of love and harmony, while being wildly entertaining in the process. Far from it. His pace is measured, even monotonous. Some find it maddeningly slow, the therapeutic persona respectful, solicitous, inquisitive, slightly donnish, almost deferential, the circuitous language an eccentric mix of the folksy and the politically correct.
Jay Haley Didn't Set Out to Transform Psychotherapy
Jay Haley, who died earlier this year at the age of 83, was an unlikely candidate to become a founder of the early family therapy movement. An outsider to the field, he had no formal training in psychology or psychotherapy. Yet, if you ask family and brief therapists who most inspired them, chances are his name will be among the first mentioned, and if you ask which figure inspired the best arguments about therapy, you'll probably get the same result.
How a Diagnosis Battled Its Way into the DSM
During Vietnam, there were proportionately far fewer reported cases of trauma on the actual battlefield than there'd been in previous wars. The primary reason seems to have been that soldiers had one-year rotations and knew that if they could just hold themselves together for 12 months--often with a little help from their friends, marijuana and heroin--they'd be free. But after they returned stateside full of relief and happy to be alive, many of them--up to 50 percent according to the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey of 1988--began breaking down, months or even years later. Why?
A History of Psychoactive Drugs
Over the last 150 years or so, we’ve seen successive waves of mass infatuations with psychotropic drugs—morphine, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, tranquilizers, and antidepressants. While all these drugs are different, the story arc they follow—their rise, triumph, ascendancy, and gradual decline or sudden collapse—does follow a roughly predictable course.
Broadening Our Understanding of Trauma
Back in the late 1970s, a motley crew of Vietnam War vets, sympathetic psychiatrists, antiwar activists, and church groups undertook a crusade to have a hastily assembled new diagnosis almost completely void of scientific research included in the DSM-III.
Does Body-Oriented Therapy Increase the Risk of Transference and Countertransference Responses?
Therapeutic skeptics still cite the possibility of stirring up intense transference and countertransference responses as a compelling reason not to use more body-oriented approaches. But therapists who work somatically maintain that transference and countertransference are no more a problem for highly trained and skilled body psychotherapists than for well-trained talk therapists.