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VIDEO: Is Therapy Really a Science?

...Or is It a Conversational Craft?

William Doherty, William Doherty

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.

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Creating Adventure And Play In Therapy

How to Vitalize Your Therapeutic Style

Courtney Armstrong, Courtney Armstrong

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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The Mentor Who Changed My Therapy Practice

…And How Two Little Words Changed Everything

Chris Lyford, Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - While therapeutic skill is the product of years of practice and self-determination, most clinicians need a mentor: someone who takes them under their wing and inspires them to be a better therapist. The five clinicians whose stories you’re about to read all agree on one thing: seeing how their mentors practice left an indelible mark on their personal and professional development that still resonates today.

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The Labels We Use

When It Comes to Addiction, Sometimes a Diagnosis is a Client's Best Motivator

Margaret Wehrenberg, Margaret Wehrenberg

By Margaret Wehrenberg - The labels we use to describe clients’ behaviors have important therapeutic implications. Sometimes using the word addiction and explaining its neurological basis can help clients focus on the consequences of their behavior. But how do we parse the tenuous line between addiction and habit?

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The Challenges of Working with Suicidal Teens

Best Practices for When Work Becomes Dramatic and Unpredictable

Matthew Selekman, Matthew Selekman

By Matthew Selekman - Working with self-harming teens often seems like riding a runaway roller coaster, which keeps threatening to go off the rails altogether. To succeed, you have to be highly flexible and able to turn on a dime, as the circumstances demand.

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The Case for Alcoholics Anonymous

What Attendees Want You to Know

Mark Schenker

By Mark Schenker - Several features of AA make it ideal as an adjunct to therapy. No therapist alone can provide the kind of group support that AA makes available 24 hours a day. The process of change that occurs in AA can open up a tremendous amount of relevant clinical material, and the clinician, when properly oriented, can help resolve roadblocks and resistance that the patient encounters in pursuit of recovery.

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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, 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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Can Childhood Trauma Lead to Adult Obesity?

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

Mary Sykes Wylie, 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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The Evolution of Modern Sex Therapy

Katy Butler, Katy Butler, Katy Butler

Twenty years after the sexual revolution, in the most sexually explicit culture in the world, a surprisingly large number of people continue to have difficulties with the sexual basics. Psychoanalytic therapy had little to offer them beyond symbolic explorations of their upbringings and "Oedipal" conflicts. But modern sex therapy consists mainly of counseling and "homework" in which new experiences are tried and new skills practiced.

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Revolution on the Horizon

DBT Challenges the Borderline Diagnosis

Katy Butler, Katy Butler, Katy Butler

DBT was no walk in the park: it required team treatment, including weekly individual therapy, a year-long "skills training" class, telephone coaching and supportive supervision for the therapist. But it offered clients and therapists alike a way out of chaos--a systematic clinical package that integrated the technical and analytical strengths of behaviorism, the subtleties of Zen training, the warmth and acceptance of relationship-centered therapies and the often undervalued power of psychoeducation.

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