A Therapist's Journey through Key Cultural Moments in Our Field's History
By William Doherty - What follows is my take on the last 40 years of psychotherapy, reflecting the attitudes common within my generation of therapists. But beyond describing my own experience, it’s an attempt to offer the perspective that time and reflection make possible about what I now see as the intimate relationship between what goes on within the seeming sanctuary of therapists’ offices and the hurly-burly of the wider culture.
Bill Doherty Makes the Case for a Connected/Committed 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.
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, and not much different from career choices and deciding whether to stay or leave a job. 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?”
...It's 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.
Bill Doherty on Crafting the Right Language for the Right Therapy 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 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?
The Necessity of Cultivating the Integrated, Relational, and Committed Self
In his dinner address at the 2016 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, Bill Doherty offered his take on how psychotherapy can reassert its cultural relevance by deepening its vision of what constitutes a meaningful life in today's world. In this clip, he explains how therapists can do this by embracing what he calls the integrated, relational, and committed Self.
Strategies for 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.
Giving Our Field a Boost
By William Doherty - Lately, psychotherapy seems to be suffering the same fate as many other professions that have declined in their cultural support and public clout. A big part of our problem is that our clinical models have assumed a level of universal truth about human functioning that transcends culture and history, but when the culture changes, then the model becomes outdated. What to do? Here’s a road map to a future of relevance.
William Doherty on the Merits of Discernment Counseling
This wish for a permanent mate isn’t surprising, given the perennial human longing to know that someone is there for us as we age, whatever happens---and that means there are no quick, guilt-free exits. Life is complicated, and divorce is sometimes necessary, but why not, in the words of poet Dylan Thomas, “rage, rage against the dying of the light,” instead of simply moving on because the current marital house would take too much work to restore and the one down the street looks better?