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August Quandary: How Do I Get Clients to Engage in Work Between Sessions?

Five Clinicians Weigh In

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - A therapist recommends exercises like journaling prompts and guided mediations that she feels would benefit her clients between sessions. Although they seem interested when she introduces the idea, they always “forget” or can’t find the time to follow through. She's unsure how to proceed. Here, five therapists share what they'd do.

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Transforming Anger into Compassion

A Five-Step Process for Dealing with Angry Clients

Steven Stosny

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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Treating Self-Harm

Here's a Behavioral Contract That Clients Can Follow

Lisa Ferentz

By Lisa Ferentz - I used to think that repetitive self-injury could only be seen as pathological, and through contracts and other means tried to convince my clients that this behavior would only cause more problems. Now, I know that my job isn't to browbeat clients into change, but introduce them to healthier behaviors that bring the relief cutting often provides.

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Moving in Our Own Way

A Catatonic Client Teaches a Dance Therapist What It Means to Connect

Jody Wager

By Jody Wager - I'm a dance and movement therapist. All my life, I’ve loved to move, to feel a sense of expansiveness and connection unfurl throughout my body. So imagine my surprise as a young intern when my supervisor assigned me to work with a man diagnosed with catatonia.

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What to Do When Your Client Cries

If It's Not Broken, Don't Fix It

Jay Efran

By Jay Efran - How can both joyful and tragic events elicit tears? This question puzzles many clinicians, including some who are considered experts in the field of emotional expression. The problem is that few of us have received explicit training in theories of emotion. And sometimes, clinicians can feel an urge to rush in and “fix things” that aren’t broken.

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Stealthy Change, Healthy Change

Three Ways to Practice Presence

Donald Altman

By Donald Altman - Helping clients make changes isn't always easy. How can we stealthily introduce change through mindfulness? It may not be as daunting as it sounds. Here are three easy-to-use practices for getting started.

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June Quandary: My Client Ghosted Me!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - Sara, 26, had been attending weekly therapy three months, and had developed concrete strategies with her therapist to help her manage her depression and anxiety. He thought they'd developed a strong bond, but Sara has missed her last two sessions. Her therapist texted her after the first missed session to ask if everything was okay, but still hasn’t heard anything. He keeps worrying he might've done something wrong. Should he reach out again? Here, five therapists weigh in.

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VIDEO: David Burns on Overcoming Resistance

Exploring Why Clients Might Not Want to Change

David Burns

Do you have a client who you can't seem to help, no matter what techniques you try? In this brief video, master clinician David Burns—one of the developers of CBT and an expert in treating depression and anxiety—explains why we shouldn't automatically assume that clients actually want to change the problems they initially present in treatment.

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When Helping Doesn't Help

What to Do When Your Client Doesn't Want to Change

David Burns

By David Burns - What if a client's resistance to change reveals something positive, beautiful, and even healthy about them—something that we’ve overlooked? If we can learn to put unconscious resistance front and center in our clinical work, we can lessen or even eliminate our clients’ resistance altogether.

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Overcoming Standoffs with Tough Teens

...And the Three Questions You Should Ask Them in the Very First Session

Matthew Selekman

By Matthew Selekman - Trying to get in the door with provocative, therapy-savvy adolescents can be a challenging task for even the most seasoned of therapists. I've developed several engagement strategies that I regularly use, singly or in combination, that have consistently helped me to establish a therapeutic alliance with even the toughest teen client.

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