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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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How Commitment Really Works

The Two Most Common Mistakes Struggling Couples Make

Gay Hendricks • 12/19/2017 • 1 Comment

By Gay Hendricks - Therapists who understand and apply two concepts about commitment—that the results you get reveal the actual commitment you've made, and to make a change in a relationship, each participant must take 100 percent responsibility for the current situation—can eliminate a great deal of energy-draining work in the treatment of couples.

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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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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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Doing Away with the "Blank Slate"

What Happened When One Therapist Decided to Self-Disclose

Jay Efran • 11/14/2017 • 1 Comment

By Jay Efran - These days, I rarely hesitate to share my frank reactions with clients, most of whom, I have come to realize, are far hardier than we were taught to believe. If the setting is right, even brutal honesty can advance the therapeutic cause. Over the years, I have discovered a very handy therapeutic mantra to consider whenever the work bogs down, "When you find yourself stuck, try the truth."

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Family Therapy Pioneer Salvador Minuchin on the Therapist's Self

Reflections on a Life, Legacy, and Growing Older

Salvador Minuchin • 11/11/2017 • 6 Comments

By Salvador Minuchin - A maverick and a visionary in the '60s and '70s, Salvador Minuchin transformed the very idea of what a therapist was supposed to be—a brash interventionist willing to make people change regardless of what they were feeling, or even knew they were feeling. Beyond that, he put forth a brand new model of psychotherapy—family therapy. In the following article, he reflects on his journey as a therapist and what clinicians need to do in order to master their craft.

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Therapy Needs More Than Just "Big Moments"

The Two Elements That Hold the Key to Change

David Waters • 10/20/2017 • 1 Comment

By David Waters - I used to get very excited when I thought that clients were about to embark on what I called a project—a course of action that crystallized a problem into a unifying undertaking. But however valuable creativity can be in setting up the conditions in which transformation may take place, change itself requires repetition and commitment to altering habits.

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The Case for the Older Therapist

Five Therapeutic Lessons That Only Come with Age and Practice

Walter Lowe • 10/12/2017 • 1 Comment

By Walter Lowe - Time and practice, practice, practice count as much or more than formal instruction in becoming an expert at therapy or just about anything else—medicine, law, carpentry, fire-fighting, or violin-playing. The longer you've been at it, the more deeply knowledgeable and skilled at the work you're likely to be.

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The Power of Play

How to Use a Fast Road to Connection with Children

Dafna Lender • 10/12/2017 • No Comments

By Dafna Lender - If my experience is any indication, most beginning therapists are also offered little to no basic training in clinical work with kids. Why is this? The kinds of interventions that are most effective with children are based in play. Play is a remarkably powerful therapeutic tool, backed up by cutting-edge research, and teaching families how to apply it at home can bring about profound systemic changes.

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