...Or is It a Conversational Craft?
What do the masters of truly good therapy have in common? According to couples therapist Bill Doherty, they know how to balance their desire to guide therapy with their ability to empathically listen. It's this quality that drives home the truth about therapy—at its heart, this work isn't a science. It's a craft.
The Case for a New Kind of Self
By William Doherty - At this time of fragmentation and division, therapists need to recognize that we’re in the glue business. We know something about helping people connect, about how to form a healthy “we” out of self and other. But first our society needs us to recover our conviction and passionate intensity as a profession, our belief that we have something to offer beyond symptom reduction.
Crafting the Right Language for the Right Outcome
Choosing the right words to open and close therapy sessions is one of the most important skills a clinician can master. But very few of us were taught how to do it. In this short video clip, Bill Doherty explains how to jump start therapy from the very first minute of the very first session.
Strategies for Improving Your Therapeutic Conversation Skills
By Bill Doherty - In this era of medical necessity and evidence-based therapies, it's easy to lose sight of the basic truth that psychotherapy is a special form of conversation: we heal not through prescriptions and procedures, but through talking and listening. What if we think of therapy as a conversational craft that we hone over a career with our clients and with a community of conversational healers?
Divorced Couples Are Saying Something Important about Regret
By William Doherty - When I began my therapy practice, I was strictly neutral about divorce. It was the clients’ decision, not mine. But eventually, I was propelled out of my denial about the seriousness of divorce. We have a hundred ways to ask “What would be right for you?” and hardly any to ask “What would be right for others in your life?”
Reevaluating What's Appropriate to Discuss in Therapy
It's no surprise that, with all the political infighting going on, many people are anxious about the direction of our country. But is there room to discuss political matters with clients, or does this constitute an ethical breach? According to therapist Bill Doherty, clinicians are not only well-equipped to discuss politics, but sometimes have a duty to do so. In the following video clip from his 2017 Networker Symposium Keynote address, Doherty explains how to get the ball rolling.
Getting Off the Therapeutic Plateau
By William Doherty - Why do we get stuck in "Groundhog Day therapy"—cases in which we spin our wheels from session to session? Before lurching on to alternative treatment strategies, the key to progress is recognizing the need to shift the therapist–client relationship.
Taking Your Work Beyond the Consulting Room
Most therapists would consider themselves agents of change for their clients. But can (and should) they become voices for change in the larger community? What about when it comes to weighing in on political matters? According to therapist Bill Doherty, clinicians have the capability—and sometimes a duty—to speak up.
Learning to Separate Our Hopes for Our Clients from Their Goals for Themselves
By William Doherty - Are therapists more like shamans or family doctors? Explorers of human depths or more like Siri on your iPhone, just directing you from one place to another? I'm a skeptic about whether any clinical approach is good at getting clients consistently to the promised land of transformation. Maybe therapy is better understood as being about breakthroughs—small, medium, and large—rather than about transformation.
One Therapist Hits the Road with the Better Angels to Find Out
By William Doherty - After the 2016 Presidential election, I discovered a new professional mission—to work on healing the divide among ordinary Americans—or in couples therapy terms, to prevent a long-term civic divorce. Through an organization called Better Angels, I decided to embark on a bus tour to see what I could learn about shifting the standoff between Red and Blue America.