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Do We Still Need Attachment Theory?

Jerome Kagan, Daniel Siegel, and Salvador Minuchin Weigh In

Mary Sykes Wylie

By Mary Sykes Wylie - In the world of psychotherapy, few models of human development have attracted more acceptance in recent years than the centrality of early bonding experiences to adult psychological well-being. What on earth could ever be wrong with emphasizing early bonding, connection, and relationship as the foundation of all good therapy? According to some critics, attachment-based therapy neglects a vast range of important human influences.

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How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Rose to Power

...And the Transformative Session That Inspired Its Creator

Mary Sykes Wylie

By Mary Sykes Wylie - Cognitive behavioral therapy is arguably the most successful therapy ever developed. But where did this streamlined, efficient, practical therapy come from that would prove such a good match for our fast-paced, high-tech civilization?

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Revisited

CBT Isn't as Manualized as You Think, Says Judith Beck

Mary Sykes Wylie

By Mary Sykes Wylie - Today, cognitive behavioral therapy is among the most widely practiced and promulgated approach in the world. But for all its mantle of scientific rigor and official approval, many therapists find CBT's "lab therapy" hard to love, if not downright dislikable. In the following interview, renowned CBT clinician Judith Beck explains how the method works, and why it's gotten a bum rap.

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The Brené Brown Approach to Being Enough

The Power of Embracing Our Vulnerability

Mary Sykes Wylie

By Mary Sykes Wylie - A pervasive sense of shame makes many of us feel unworthy of human connection. Why the shame? Because in this perfectionistic culture, most of us believe we’re “not good enough: not thin enough, rich enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, promoted enough” to be worthy of love. But research by professor and acclaimed TED speaker Brené Brown shows that some people have escaped the shame trap. How? They let themselves be vulnerable.

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A Look Back at the Evolution of Trauma Treatment

Are Clinicians Still Turning a Blind Eye to a Key Factor?

Mary Sykes Wylie

By Mary Sykes Wylie - In the 1970s, no sooner had the definition of PTSD been signed, sealed, and delivered, than many clinicians began to realize that the new diagnosis by no means encompassed the experience of all traumatized clients. In the case of trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, many of his traumatized clients shared one other feature: they all reported histories of childhood abuse.

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The Mindfulness Explosion

The Perils of Mainstream Acceptance

Mary Sykes Wylie

The explosive growth of mindfulness in America has inevitably triggered a backlash—a low, rumbling protest, particularly from Buddhists, who're disturbed by how much meditation in America appears to have been individualized, monetized, corporatized, therapized, taken over, flattened, and generally coopted out of all resemblance to its noble origins in an ancient spiritual and moral tradition.

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How to Embrace Mindfulness More Fully

Finding Happiness By Learning to Pause in an Age of Distraction

Mary Sykes Wylie

Now, more than ever, we tend to greet every minute with demands such as: "I want this. I don't want this. I want more of this. I want less of that." We have ideas about what our minutes should or should not be. But if we are lucky, occasionally we experience a sparkling moment when we break out of our trance of self and are fully present. Sometimes these lead to epiphanies, which present us with aha moments of new understanding. Or our thoughts simply may be "Isn't this wonderful?" or "Isn't life amazingly rich and complicated?"

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What the Financial Crisis Reveals About Our Psyche and Values

Confronting our Definitions of Wealth in the Therapy Room

Mary Sykes Wylie

The current economic crisis may be no more than a rather large bump in the golden road of endlessly self-renewing American prosperity. Still, it's hard not to have a sense of foreboding that, this time, things really are different. Perhaps this is a good time to revisit some of our basic assumptions about wealth---what it means to us as Americans, how it defines us as a people, how it influences the way we think about ourselves, about freedom, success, and happiness, about what we really want from life, and what the American Dream really means to us.

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Can Childhood Trauma Lead to Adult Obesity?

How One Study Exposed the Connection Between Early Life Abuse and Weight Gain

Mary Sykes Wylie

During the mid-1980s, Vincent Felitti, founder of Kaiser Permanente's Department of Preventive Medicine, began directing a new obesity-treatment program. But within a year or two, Felitti and his colleagues began having a very unusual problem. Virtually none of the patients were fat as children. They'd gained their weight abruptly, usually in response to a difficult life event. But the shocking news was that the interviews revealed an unsettling pattern of childhood sexual abuse, trauma, family suicides, brutality, and other evidence of severely dysfunctional family relationships.

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Putting SPECT Brain-Imaging Under the Microscope

Why is Daniel Amen's Method for Treating Psychiatric Disorders So Controversial?

Mary Sykes Wylie

Psychiatrist Daniel Amen argues that a brain-imaging method called SPECT is an invaluable tool for understanding and treating psychiatric disorders. SPECT has been used in a huge number of research studies on almost every conceivable psychiatric and neurological condition, as well as some nonpsychiatric studies. So what is it about Amen and his mission to get therapists to use brain imaging, and SPECT in particular, as an aid to diagnosis and treatment that makes him such a lightning rod?

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