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My Nightmare Client, My Greatest Gift

Sometimes Our "Worst" Clients Are Our Best Teachers

Martha Straus • 1/6/2018 • 1 Comment

By Martha Straus - My young client, Brian, can reduce even confident mid-life adults to an infantile puddle, one provocative comment at a time. He's a therapist's nightmare. But he’s also the universe's gift to me. He measures my commitment to the work, to him, to my ideas about therapy, to my best self.

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A Special Daughter's Special Night

A Personal Essay from our Family Matters Department

Richard Holloway • 1/1/2018 • 1 Comment

By Richard Holloway - My daughter is beautiful: she has long, flowing, blonde hair, blue eyes, elegant features, and stands about 5’ 10” tall. She’s now 18, a senior, and this June will be her graduation. It’s a prospect I greet with mixed emotions. She’s autistic and has difficulty with everyday interactions and expressing herself coherently. So in the winter of her junior year, even though the prom was just around the corner, we never imagined she’d go. (A personal essay from our Family Matters department)

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Why We Shouldn't Be Neutral about Divorce

Divorced Couples Are Saying Something Important about Regret

William Doherty • 12/29/2017 • 6 Comments

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?”

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Recovering from Depression with a New Perspective

A Therapist Shares the Story of His Battle with Chronic Pain

Kevin Anderson • 12/28/2017 • 6 Comments

By Kevin Anderson - This is the story of one of the most turbulent storms in my personal and professional life. While I entered the adult world of marriage, family, and a psychotherapy career relatively smoothly, I couldn’t so easily get rid of my perfectionism and sense of unworthiness. But after the storm, I learned there’s something about healing from deep emotional suffering that feels like death and rebirth—the kind that asks us to be open to changing our contract with life.

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VIDEO: Martha Straus on the Power of Predictability with Kids

The Cornerstone of a Strong Therapeutic Alliance

Martha Straus • 12/27/2017 • No Comments

Familiarity and predictability aren't always the best course of action when we're trying to encourage our clients to change, but there are times when they can provide much-needed comfort. According to Martha Straus, an expert in working with kids and teens, young people are among those who need this familiarity the most, especially when they've experienced attachment trauma. In the following clip, she explains how regular appointments and check-in phone calls serve a healing purpose.

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How to Foster a "Good Divorce"

Eight Ways to Helps Kids and Parents Reorganize Amidst Pain and Chaos

Maria Isaacs • 12/21/2017 • No Comments

By Maria Isaacs - The fundamental goal of a good divorce is simple yet challenging: children must experience their parents as a working partnership that reliably nurtures and protects them, regardless of how estranged the parents may be from each other. Here are eight ways to help this process along.

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Discovering the Real Life of Teens

The Key to Translating Youth Culture to Mystified Parents

Ron Taffel • 12/12/2017 • No Comments

By Ron Taffel - What I've discovered, after talking with hundreds of teens, is that with their friends, they're almost a different species than when they're in the alien company of adults. If parents want to reclaim a connection with their children, they'll have to pay deep and respectful attention to a culture many of them abhor.

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Has Helicopter Parenting Gone Too Far?

The Truth About Risk and Responsibility

Michael Ungar • 12/5/2017 • No Comments

By Michael Ungar - What I'm finding through my clinical work and research is that families that bubble-wrap their children may prevent their healthy maturation. Helping parents look back and explore their own narratives challenges the need for excessive control of their child. The parent's role shifts from emphasizing protection to becoming a facilitator of experiences that build capacity, common sense, and positive relationships.

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VIDEO: Janet Edgette on Engaging Kids who Hate Therapy

How to Talk to Kids in a Way They Understand

Janet Sasson Edgette • 11/29/2017 • 4 Comments

In this brief video, Janet Edgette, author of Adolescent Therapy That Really Works, offers concrete tips for approaching young clients who are apprehensive about therapy.

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Inside the Mind of a Child with Asperger's

Using the "Social Stories" Exercise to Help Children with Asperger's Fit In

Diane Yapko • 11/24/2017 • 1 Comment

By Diane Yapko - Aaron, who has Asperger's syndrome (AS), has great difficulty intuitively understanding the intentions or feelings beneath the literal meanings of words. To him, the world is a baffling place. But teachers and parents who understand how AS affects children can use small behavioral interventions throughout the day to help them learn new skills and adapt their own rigid desires and expectations in order to be more flexible and likeable to peers.

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