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Assessing the State of Psychotherapy

Is Today's Therapy Losing Out to Science and Psychopharmacology?

Mary Sykes Wylie

The bad news was made official in 2010, though everybody in the head-shrink business had long suspected as much: psychotherapy was in decline, or even in freefall. You might think this trend represents people’s preferences for the quick fix of a pill, rather than a slog through talk therapy, but you’d be wrong: surveys have consistently shown that depressed and/or anxious people and their families would rather talk to a real, live, human therapist than fill a prescription. So in what appears to be the twilight of the psychopharm gods, why aren’t therapy practitioners rising up, throwing off their chains, and reconquering lost mental health territory?

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How Mindfulness Makes Therapy a Sacred Space

Jack Kornfield on Practicing Mindfulness in the Therapy Room

Rich Simon

What exactly is it that mindfulness helps bring into focus that our other theories and methods of therapeutic practice haven’t already addressed? For an answer to that question, we asked Jack Kornfield---Buddhist teacher, psychotherapist, and someone who’s been at the forefront of those helping Westerners grasp Eastern spiritual concepts and practices since the 1970s. In this interview, he describes how ritual---what he calls the experience of the sacred---and a concern with the larger mystery of our lives can deepen the therapeutic encounter.

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Positive Psychology Revisits Depression Therapy

Martin Seligman and the Positive Thinking Movement

Richard Handler

Americans spend $76 billion a year on antidepressants and additional millions on talk therapy for depression. But Positive Psychology, as popularized by former American Psychological Association president and bestselling author Martin Seligman,

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Redefines Mental Health

How Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis Started a Psychotherapy Revolution

Mary Sykes Wylie

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is arguably the most successful therapy ever developed. In only about 40 years, it’s gone from the almost accidental innovations of two disenchanted psychoanalysts to the most widely practiced and promulgated approach in the world. Independently coinvented by Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, CBT is brief, usually 16 sessions or fewer, thus much cheaper than that once-famous other brand, psychodynamic therapy. But where did this streamlined, efficient, practical therapy come from? And what made it so revolutionary?

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Are You There for Me?

Understanding the Foundations of Couples Conflict

Susan Johnson

On the first day of a clinical placement in my doctoral program during the early 1980s, I was assigned to a counseling center and told by the director that because of unexpected staffing problems, I'd be seeing 20 couples a week. I'd never done any couples therapy, but I did have considerable experience as a family and individual therapist with emotionally disturbed adolescents--a tough, challenging group of clients if ever there was one! So my first thought when given this new assignment was, "After what I've done, how hard can this be?" I plunged in and almost immediately was appalled by how hard it actually could be!

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Supershrinks

What's the secret of their success?

Scott Miller, Mark Hubble, and Barry Duncan

Trying to identify specific interventions that could be reliably dispensed for specific problems has a strong commonsense appeal. No one would argue with the success of the idea of problem-specific interventions in the field of medicine. But the evidence is incontrovertible. Who provides the therapy is a much more important determinant of success than what treatment approach is provided.

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Defiance vs. Compliance—Two Faces Of The Reactant Client

John Norcross on Different Approaches that Work with Each Extreme

Rich Simon

Reactance is a personality characteristic that manifests as one of two extremes—defiance and opposition at one end of the spectrum, and compliance and dependency on the other.

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