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When Therapy Takes a Personal Toll

A Therapist Working with Abusers Reaches a Crossroads

Michelle Cacho-Negrette • 10/17/2017 • No Comments

By Michelle Cacho-Negrette - I made my first appointment with Gloria one autumn afternoon. I needed a still point, a peaceful promontory in the ocean of loud, unrepentant excuses I heard daily from the men I treated in a batterer-intervention program, men who committed unspeakable violence against those they claimed to love.

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Transforming Anger into Compassion

A Five-Step Process for Dealing with Angry Clients

Steven Stosny • 10/5/2017 • No Comments

By Steven Stosny - Some therapists find themselves getting extremely reactive when clients lose their temper. Here's what you can do to better control your anger and anxiety in the presence of an angry client.

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The New Anatomy of Emotion

How Brain Science Can Teach Couples Emotional Literacy

Brent Atkinson • 10/5/2017 • 1 Comment

By Brent Atkinson - Even among couples who do make progress in therapy, a disheartening chunk relapse. Why? A lack of emotional literacy. Good clinicians help couples effectively calm their anger and fear circuits as well as stimulate the more vulnerable, connection-generating states. The therapist acts as a kind of neural chiropractor, making regular, finely tuned adjustments to each partner's out-of-sync brain.

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Coping and Learning After a Client's Suicide

A Therapist Reflects on What He Might Have Done Differently

Frank Pittman • 9/7/2017 • 2 Comments

By Frank Pittman - I've been in full-time private practice for almost 30 years. In that time, three patients in my practice killed themselves. Each suicide has left me shell-shocked and questioning my therapeutic attitudes and methods. I did not expect Adam to be one of my casualties.

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The Final Shot

A Therapist's Creativity Unifies a Fractured Group of Inner City Boys

Ken Hardy • 8/4/2017 • No Comments

By Ken Hardy - While working as a family therapist at a boys' school in the Philadelphia suburbs, I learned to use basketball to capture their attention and imagination, and ultimately bring all of us closer together.

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How to Engage an Angry Teen

A Paradoxical Approach to Creating a Therapeutic Alliance

Victor Shklyarevsky • 5/23/2017 • No Comments

By Victor Shklyarevsky - "Making nice" is doomed to failure when working with too many troubled teens who might otherwise be helped. From the very first moments of the initial session, our goal is to match the teens' negative intensity: to take what such rude and dismissive clients so readily dish out and give back the same. This kind of mirroring allows them to experience the therapist as someone who can meet them where they are emotionally.

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From the Mind's Story to the Body's

Learning to Sit with Physical Sensations Brought on by Conflict

Molly Layton • 5/2/2017 • 1 Comment

By Molly Layton - Even with two people sitting quietly, an interpersonal space isn't an empty space—it's alive with a peculiar quality. These days, in certain intractable situations, I keep discovering how much getting couples to focus on the immediacy of their bodily sensations can change the entire flow and direction of what takes place in my office.

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Busting the Myths of the ODD Child

The Surprising Technique That Turns Opposition on Its Head

James Levine • 4/29/2017 • 1 Comment

By James Levine - Children diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) inspire many myths. School personnel and even parents believe that these children enjoy frustrating others and are impossible to teach. But children with chronically oppositional behavior typically are unaccustomed to articulating their needs, wants, and experiences in problem-solving ways. Here's how a collaborative approach to therapy can make all the difference.

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What Makes Couples Therapy Techniques Stick?

Three Ways to Replicate Progress Outside the Consulting Room

Carolyn Daitch • 4/18/2017 • No Comments

By Carolyn Daitch - We not only have to teach our clients how to interrupt old coping mechanisms, generated by fear and anger, but also how to integrate new coping skills permanently into their response repertoire. Successfully combating and overriding firmly ingrained behaviors in this manner requires practice, and it's our job as therapists to help clients learn how and when to practice these skills, and then make sure they go home and do it.

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What to Say When Clients Push Your Buttons

How to Spot, Confront, and Correct Self-Defeating Patterns

Wendy Behary • 3/2/2017 • 1 Comment

By Wendy Behary - There are ways to deliver profoundly effective, on-the-spot responses during difficult encounters—ways that can mobilize you and restore the receptive, flexible, and empathically attuned you. I've chosen a small sample of a long list of examples that colleagues and trainees have shared with me over the years, including my own personal favorites.

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