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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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What's Really Behind a Good (or Bad) Decision?

A Simple Practice for Retraining the Emotional Brain

Brent Atkinson • 1/12/2017 • 1 Comment

By Brent Atkinson - Conscious understanding and effort aren’t the mighty forces we assume they are. Our automatic urges and inclinations are much stronger than most of us ever imagined. Even so, there's something we can do to retrain the emotional brain.

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What to Do When Your Therapy Clients Cry

Understanding the Emotional Neutrality of Tears

Jay Efran • 8/11/2016 • 1 Comment

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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Using Play in Therapy to Solve Emotional Problems

Why Creative Strategies are the Therapist's Best Tool

Courtney Armstrong • 6/17/2015 • No Comments

How many times have you surprised yourself by jumping at the scary part of a movie? It isn’t enough to be a kind, supportive guide on clients’ journeys. We have to be a provocative guide, creating experiences that trigger their curiosity and desire to know more. Human behavior and motivation are driven mostly by the emotional brain---the brain centers that mediate “primitive” emotions and instincts and respond to sensory-rich experiences, not intellectual insights.

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Couples Therapy in the Age of Viagra

Effective Therapy for When Erectile Dysfunction Strikes

Barry McCarthy • 1/6/2015 • No Comments

Adolescent and young-adult men learn that erections are easy, automatic, and most important, autonomous. The Viagra media blitz both feeds and amplifies this male performance standard. Indeed, for men, the largest factor causing inhibited sexual desire is fear of erectile failure. But by a certain age, men need to learn what most women already know: good, satisfying, pleasurable sex, particularly in midlife and beyond, is more a matter of intimate teamwork than of physical hydraulics.

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When the Pursuit of Happiness Backfires

Beware of What You Wish For

Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener • 10/3/2014 • 1 Comment

Happy people are more likely to be social, exploratory, inventive, and healthy. It’s a short logical jump from there to the idea that happiness provides an evolutionary advantage. It’s no wonder that happiness is often touted as a panacea. In fact, happiness seems so valuable that it’s sometimes difficult to imagine that it has any downsides. But the pursuit of happiness often backfires, ending in unhappiness.

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Beyond Viagra

Why the Promise of Cure Far Exceeds the Reality

Barry McCarthy • 9/18/2014 • 1 Comment

Contrary to media myths, movies, and male braggadocio, sex is seldom 100-percent successful, especially as men age. The most important fact for our sex-saturated society to accept is that 5 to 15 percent of all sexual experiences among well-functioning couples are dissatisfying or dysfunctional. In other words, contrary to the cultural myth of ecstasy all the time as the norm, almost all happy, sexually fulfilled couples experience lousy sex occasionally.

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The Art of Therapeutic Conversation

Jay Efran and Mitchell Green • 9/9/2014 • 1 Comment

The growing emphasis on treatment manuals and empirically validated methods is a step in the wrong direction. Yes, the public needs to be protected from quacks, and managed care organizations certainly want some assurance that their money is being spent wisely. In the final analysis, however, the effectiveness of a client-therapist pairing is a function of their collaborative dialogue--a process that resists standardization. Undoubtedly, one can specify general principles and guidelines, and therapy can be anchored in a contract that defines roles and sets boundaries. However, therapy also requires a certain creative ambiguity that can't be reduced to stock exercises or "bottled" like an antidepressant.

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Attachment Work with Cut-Off Kids

Today’s Video: Becoming Part of the Young Client’s Story

Rich Simon • 7/29/2014 • 1 Comment

When Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy developer Daniel Hughes first started working with children who struggled with serious behavioral and emotional problems, he knew something was missing in his approach. Daniel found the answers he was looking for in Attachment Theory—or at least most of them. Attachment Theory told him plenty about the symptoms and behaviors of his clients, but there were no instructions he could immediately apply to working with kids and families. He had to experiment and think outside the box to develop his own attachment-informed way of doing therapy.

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Creating Adventure And Play In Therapy

How to Vitalize Your Therapeutic Style

Courtney Armstrong • 6/16/2014 • No Comments

The more we learn about the emotional brain, the clearer it becomes: to have real therapeutic impact, we need to create experiences that help clients learn to relate to themselves and the world in entirely new ways.

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