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Something's Missing from Family Therapy

Twenty-Five Years Later, a Poignant Message from the Late Betty Carter Still Resonates

Betty Carter

By Betty Carter - In order to understand the particularity of almost any couple's personal experience, we need to adjust our lens to include not only their private domestic encounters, but the much larger political and social struggle about the politics of relationships beyond the walls of home.

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Can You Keep a Secret?

A Story of How One Therapist Changed Her Mind About Keeping Secrets

Evan Imber-Black

By Evan Imber-Black - Decades ago, a family walked into one therapist's office and utterly destroyed her beliefs about keeping secrets.

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VIDEO: Esther Perel on the Legacy of Salvador Minuchin

From the Symposium's Celebration of a Family Therapy Visionary

Esther Perel

A maverick and a visionary in the ’60s and ’70s, Salvador Minuchin put forth a brand new model of psychotherapy—family therapy. In the following video clip from the 2017 Symposium dinner event celebrating Minuchin's work, couples therapist Esther Perel shares her memories of working alongside Minuchin when she was just beginning work as a young therapist.

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Why We Shouldn't Be Neutral about Divorce

Divorced Couples Are Saying Something Important about Regret

William Doherty

By William Doherty - When I began my therapy practice, I was strictly neutral about divorce. It was the clients’ decision, not mine. But eventually, I was propelled out of my denial about the seriousness of divorce. We have a hundred ways to ask “What would be right for you?” and hardly any to ask “What would be right for others in your life?”

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The Art of Not Knowing the Answer

A Trauma Specialist Shares Her Most Therapeutic Moment

Mary Jo Barrett

By Mary Jo Barrett - My very first case was the Byford family. The father was serving a six-month sentence for domestic abuse. During a home visit several months into treatment, the daughter, Laura, announced, “Dad is getting out of jail today! And he’s coming here!” My mind went blank. Her mother looked at me. Suddenly, it was as though I passed whatever strength I had to her, and she then passed it back to me.

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Therapy's Transformational Moments

Finding Hope in Seemingly Hopeless Times

Barry L. Duncan

By Barry Duncan - A recent consult I did illustrates the intrinsic rewards of healing involvement and intimate connection. It also taught me that anything is possible—that even the bleakest sessions can have a positive outcome if you stay with the process.

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Therapy with a Storyteller's Mindset

Learning to "Enter the Scene" with Clients

David Seaburn

By David Seaburn - Both doing psychotherapy and the writing of fiction are about stories. The essence of the art of both pursuits is the openness to the possibility that, no matter how small, no matter how fleeting, things might not only be different, but, perhaps, better.

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What Comedians Can Teach Us About Therapy

A Comic-Turned-Therapist's Guide to Dealing with Unruly Clients

Kirsten Lind Seal

By Kirsten Lind Seal - Before I became a therapist, I spent 20 years as a professional performer, during which time I was a regular at standup comedy clubs. Many of the skills I learned as a performer have proven readily transferable to therapy, namely the skill of using humor to defuse tension, create alliance, and challenge what we often call resistance in difficult clients.

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VIDEO: My First Client, My Greatest Teacher

Sue Johnson Shares a Story of Personal and Professional Transformation

Susan Johnson

In the following video from her 2018 Networker Symposium storytelling piece, couples and family therapist Sue Johnson shares a therapeutic moment that stands out from all others, one that left her with a deepened sense of what it means at the core to be a therapist.

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When Siblings Become Caregivers

Three Ways to Defuse Confrontation

Barry Jacobs

By Barry Jacobs - Nothing reveals the fault lines in sibling relationships like the seismic shift caused by an aging parent's sudden decline. Brothers and sisters can quickly become locked in conflict about what's best for Mom and Dad. Here's how to help them forget their old rivalries and cooperate with one another.

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