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Finding Strength in the Symptom

Breaking Free from the Limits of Our Medical Treatment Model

Courtney Armstrong • 3 Comments

By Courtney Armstrong - As therapists, we’re taught to be master detectives, methodically investigating our clients’ symptoms in search of the source of their pain. But if we spend too much time preoccupied with them, we’re likely to miss important clues to their hidden strengths. I’ve learned that turning a symptom into a client’s ally can transform the whole experience of therapy for both the therapist and client.

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Being a Provocative Guide

To Keep Clients Tuned In, Sometimes Our Work Has to Be Twice as Interesting as Their Problems

Courtney Armstrong • 1 Comment

By Courtney Armstrong - The more we learn about the emotional brain, the clearer it becomes: to have real therapeutic impact, we need to create experiences that help clients learn to relate to themselves and the world in entirely new ways.

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Crossing to Safety

A Master Clinician Shares Her Most Therapeutic Moment

Courtney Armstrong • 1 Comment

By Courtney Armstrong - Many people wonder how therapists manage to do the work they do. Of the thousands of meaningful sessions that take place in a therapist’s office, certain ones stand out. In the following storytelling piece, Courtney Armstrong shares a memorable moment from her own work.

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Turning Panic into Power

Hidden Strengths Can Be the Key to Healing Trauma

Courtney Armstrong • 4 Comments

By Courtney Armstrong - As therapists, we’re taught to be master detectives who methodically investigate our clients’ symptoms in search of a “culprit”—the source of their pain. But if we spend too much time preoccupied with symptoms, we’re likely to miss important clues to hidden strengths, which can transform the experience of psychotherapy.

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A New Appreciation for Human Resilience

Rich Simon on Embracing Vulnerability as Strength

Rich Simon • No Comments

By Rich Simon - Clearly, therapists must always respond with empathy, understanding, and attuned clinical expertise to clients’ suffering. But in their urgency to relieve pain, therapists must not overlook the rich possibilities for health and growth within every person, without which even the most skilled clinician in the world can do nothing. In the end, all clients must, to some extent, be their own healers.

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How to Improve Your Therapy Using Play and Emotion

Why Good Therapy Means Tapping Into the Client's Emotional Brain

Courtney Armstrong • No Comments

How many times have you surprised yourself by jumping at the scary part of a movie? You know the villain in the movie isn’t real, but your emotional brain ignores this logic and leaps into action. In essence, the emotional brain is our unconscious mind, and scientists estimate that it controls about 95 percent of what we do, think, and feel at any given moment. As therapists, we have to be a provocative guide, creating experiences that go beyond the intellect to reach a deeply human place, prompting clients to believe they can relate to themselves and the world in a new way.

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Using Play in Therapy to Solve Emotional Problems

Why Creative Strategies are the Therapist's Best Tool

Courtney Armstrong • No Comments

How many times have you surprised yourself by jumping at the scary part of a movie? It isn’t enough to be a kind, supportive guide on clients’ journeys. We have to be a provocative guide, creating experiences that trigger their curiosity and desire to know more. Human behavior and motivation are driven mostly by the emotional brain---the brain centers that mediate “primitive” emotions and instincts and respond to sensory-rich experiences, not intellectual insights.

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Creating Adventure And Play In Therapy

How to Vitalize Your Therapeutic Style

Courtney Armstrong • No Comments

The more we learn about the emotional brain, the clearer it becomes: to have real therapeutic impact, we need to create experiences that help clients learn to relate to themselves and the world in entirely new ways.

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Letting the Body Lead

Ann Randolph on Truly Embodied Emotion

Rich Simon • 15 Comments

Much of therapy taps into emotions through words—talking through behavioral and emotional problems, recounting past events, or discussing aspirations. But for some clients, talking and thinking too much about their problems is a problem in and of itself.

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Psychotherapy as Experiential Drama

Jeffrey Zeig on Bridging the Gap between Knowing and Realizing

Rich Simon • 4 Comments

In our own lives and in our work with clients, we often find that simply knowing what we need to do isn’t enough.

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