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How to Get Clients to Do Their Homework

Step 1: Don't Call It "Homework"

Bill O'Hanlon • 1/16/2018 • No Comments

By Bill O'Hanlon - The best way to ensure clients' cooperation is to make the assignments relevant for them. Task assignments are designed to bring about changes in the presenting problem. We try to make sure they are relevant to clients by having a mutually agreed upon definition of the problem being addressed and then collaboratively designing tasks that relate to it. In fact, when the tasks derive from a collaborative relationship, they often don't feel like tasks at all.

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Breaking Through Therapeutic Gridlock

How to Respond When Clients Resist Your Advice

Jay Lappin • 1/9/2018 • 1 Comment

By Jay Lappin - As therapists, we need to be open to feedback, even criticism, as a means of deepening the therapeutic relationship. Establishing trust by moving beyond the reflex action of offering a solution and creating a context in which the possibility for transformation is greater than the pull of old patterns is hard work both for clients and for therapists.

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My Nightmare Client, My Greatest Gift

Sometimes Our "Worst" Clients Are Our Best Teachers

Martha Straus • 1/6/2018 • 1 Comment

By Martha Straus - My young client, Brian, can reduce even confident mid-life adults to an infantile puddle, one provocative comment at a time. He's a therapist's nightmare. But he’s also the universe's gift to me. He measures my commitment to the work, to him, to my ideas about therapy, to my best self.

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The Silver Lining in Failure

Not Every Teachable Moment Has to Be a Successful One

Cloe Madanes • 1/4/2018 • 1 Comment

By Cloe Madanes - The problem with a failure is that one doesn't really understand why one failed. If one did, it wouldn't have been a failure. But I'm not giving up on my toughest client, Bob. There's one strategy I still haven't used.

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Could You Connect with This Client?

A Guide to Doing Couples Therapy When One Partner Won't Open Up

Kathryn Rheem • 12/26/2017 • 1 Comment

By Kathryn Rheem - Probably no aspect of couples work is more critical, or more difficult, for therapists than engaging a distant, emotionally shutdown partner. Since the feelings being avoided are often regarded as terrifying, humiliating, and deeply threatening, doing this work is a delicate therapeutic balancing act. It requires moving forward with both gentleness and persistence, without being deflected by clients’ profound unwillingness to become engaged.

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VIDEO: Richard Schwartz on Healing Our Wounded Inner Parts

The Originator of IFS on Helping Clients Awaken Self-Healing

Richard Schwartz • 12/13/2017 • 2 Comments

Internal Family Systems (IFS) has allowed therapists to awaken the capacity for deep self-healing within even their most troubled clients. In this video clip from his 2015 Symposium keynote, Richard Schwartz, the originator of IFS, explains the transformative power of connecting with our wounded inner parts.

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The Core of Couples Therapy

Why Homework is So Important, and Six Ways to Make Sure Your Clients Do It

David Treadway • 12/11/2017 • 2 Comments

By David Treadway - Over the years, the couples in my practice who’ve actually done homework exercises have reported communicating better and being more affectionate and more supportive of each other than couples who haven’t. To make sure I’m successful in motivating them, I use these six techniques.

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What Works in Anxiety Treatment

Four Techniques Your Clients Can Use Anywhere, Anytime

Margaret Wehrenberg • 12/7/2017 • 2 Comments

By Margaret Wehrenberg - The rewards of teaching people how to use deceptively simple anxiety-relief techniques are great. While clients in this culture have been indoctrinated to want and expect instantaneous relief from their discomfort at the pop of a pill, we can show them we have something better to offer.

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Making Therapy's Epiphanies Stick

Creative Memory Techniques to Help Clients Retain Insights and Skills

Danie Beaulieu • 11/30/2017 • No Comments

By Danie Beaulieu - Back in the routine of their daily lives, it's all too easy for our clients to return to old patterns without stopping to examine their actions and reactions in light of what they've recently learned. Fortunately, some creative memory techniques can reduce the need to repeat ourselves with our clients. Once you get used to them, you'll be amazed at how simply and effectively you can apply them.

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The Power of Permission

Why Giving Up the Need to See Clients Change Can Actually Produce Results

Bill O'Hanlon • 11/28/2017 • 1 Comment

By Bill O'Hanlon - People run into problems when their lives are dictated by rigid beliefs that make the stories they're living out too restrictive. Permission counters these commands and prohibitions. At the most basic level, we must discover how to perform the balancing act of simultaneously giving up the need to see clients change while holding open the possibility of change.

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