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Adjusting the Unconscious

What if a Few Basic Principles Could Make Change Far Easier?

Steve Andreas • 4/10/2017 • 2 Comments

By Steve Andreas - What if there were a few basic principles and methods that make therapeutic change far simpler and easier than most people think is possible? Not only is this possible, but there’s already a coherent body of knowledge and practice to guide us in eliciting change in the moment, confirmed by longer-term follow-up in the real world. Here are seven practical principles for making sense out of the case study that follows.

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Breaking the Cycle of Depression

Bill O'Hanlon on the "Marbling" Technique for Working with Depressed Clients

Bill O'Hanlon • 2/3/2016 • No Comments

Depressed clients repeat the same thoughts, activities, feelings, and experiences again and again, as if entranced. Good depression treatment is largely about awakening them from this bad trance.

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Hypnotic Language in the Consulting Room

Bill O'Hanlon on the Power of Giving Permission in Therapy

Bill O'Hanlon • 3/12/2015 • No Comments

As therapists, we must recognize the complexity and ambivalence at the core of human experience. People run into problems when their lives are dictated by rigid beliefs that make the stories they're living out too restrictive, for example: "I must always be perfect," or "I should always smile and be happy." But permission counters these commands and prohibitions. The therapist who offers permission goes beyond accepting clients as they are and moves into encouraging them to expand their life stories and their sense of themselves.

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Jay Haley Takes Family Therapy to Task

The Story of Family Therapy's Unabashed Founding Father

Mary Sykes Wylie • 12/17/2014 • No Comments

Jay Haley was an unlikely candidate to become a founder of the early family therapy movement. An outsider to the field, he had no formal training in psychology or psychotherapy. But as someone who translated the abstruse concepts of cybernetics—the rules, sequences, and feedback loops that guide self-regulating machines—into the lingua franca of family therapy, Haley helped give the field its organizing principles.

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The Accidental Therapist

Jay Haley Didn't Set Out to Transform Psychotherapy

Mary Sykes Wylie • 9/6/2014 • No Comments

Jay Haley, who died earlier this year at the age of 83, was an unlikely candidate to become a founder of the early family therapy movement. An outsider to the field, he had no formal training in psychology or psychotherapy. Yet, if you ask family and brief therapists who most inspired them, chances are his name will be among the first mentioned, and if you ask which figure inspired the best arguments about therapy, you'll probably get the same result.

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Letting Go of Hatred

Case Study: How to Help Clients Change Unconscious Responses

Steve Andreas • 8/15/2014 • 3 Comments

Simply telling a client to let go of it—without showing them how to do it—is a conscious instruction that will only result in frustration, compounding the presenting problem. Luckily, the boundary between what’s unconscious and conscious is quite permeable. With appropriate questioning, it’s possible to elicit the unconscious process that causes the trouble, which typically has a fairly simple structure involving images, sounds, and thoughts in a particular configuration. Once this structure is identified, the therapist can guide a client through a specific process to quickly transform it.

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The Art of Evoking Felt Experience

Psychotherapy Networker • 3/2/2014 • 1 Comment

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What Does a Client Really Want from Therapy?

Stephen Gilligan on the First Step Toward a Creative Breakthrough

Rich Simon • 2/27/2014 • 4 Comments

When a client comes in for their first session, the natural way to start is by asking them what they want to accomplish in therapy. But the way they answer isn't always helpful in moving the treatment forward.

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