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How I Came to Rethink Children’s Challenging Behaviors

Doing Away with the Blame Game

Mona Delahooke

By Mona Delahooke - What’s at the root of children’s aggressive, defiant, and oppositional acts? And how can we better help the children who exhibit these behaviors? Polyvagal Theory shows that the drive to avoid threat and secure safety is what guides human behavior. As such, what we often label as “bad” behaviors are actually fight-or-flight behaviors.

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The Five Dimensions of Good Anxiety Treatment

An Interview with Anxiety Researcher David Barlow

Ryan Howes

By Ryan Howes - Author David Barlow is widely considered the dean of anxiety researchers. In the following interview, he shares his thoughts on the nature of anxiety and what research has revealed about the most effective treatments for it.

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What Makes Couples Therapy Stick?

Three Ways to Maintain Progress Outside the Consulting Room

Carolyn Daitch

By Carolyn Daitch - Successfully combating and overriding firmly ingrained behaviors requires practice. It's our job as therapists to help clients learn how and when to practice these skills, and then make sure they go home and do it.

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Disabling Toxic Verbiage

Four Ways to Push Pause on a Verbal Bully

Kate Cohen-Posey

By Kate Cohen-Posey - We live in an age in which using toxic verbiage against others has almost become the norm. Here's how we can help clients deal with these kinds of situations in the moment.

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Four Strategies for Working with Vets

...And the One Question You Should Never Ask Them

Alison Lighthall

By Alison Lighthall - Despite good intentions, therapists working with combat veterans face several challenges. To start with, engaging combat veterans in counseling of any kind. The first session may afford your only opportunity to ease the suffering of the veterans you encounter. You have to make every interaction with them count. Here's a blueprint for making it happen.

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Everyday Heroism

Philip Zimbardo Reflects on His Work on Human Connections and Positive Change

Ryan Howes

By Ryan Howes - Social psychologist Philip Zimbardo may be most well-known for his notorious Stanford Prison Experiment. More recently, however, he's pivoted his work to focus on human connections and positive change. He founded a clinic that helps clients push past self-imposed limits around shyness and established a program that frames heroism as a continual, everyday choice.

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Mind-Body Medicine in Motion

How One Therapist is Using Meditation to Help Suffering Populations Heal

James Gordon

By James Gordon - Recently, I was invited to Dharamsala by the Men Tsee Khang Institute, a school of traditional Tibetan medicine, to give a talk on the scientific basis of the mind–body connection and the techniques of self-care that are particularly effective with war- and disaster-traumatized populations. Here's what followed.

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Accessing Emotional Discomfort with Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

What Neuroscience and Attachment Teach Us About Healing Stress in the Body

Janina Fisher

The more we learn about the brain, the more apparent it becomes that, if we're to guide people in the process of change, we need to pay at least as much attention to the body and nervous system---theirs and ours---as to words, emotions, and meaning-making---which, until recently, have been the major focus of therapy. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, a body-centered talk-therapy approach, allows us to navigate tumultuous transferential relationships and therapeutic impasses in creative, satisfying, and often moving ways.

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A Brain Science Approach to Couples Therapy

Using Brain Science in Therapy to Alter Mood States

Brent Atkinson

When clients become upset, they're in the grip of one of seven major body-brain mood states, also referred to as "executive operating systems." These are more than just passing moods. They're complex neurochemical cascades, in which hormones race through the body and brain and electrical impulses fly over familiar neural synapses, shaping what we feel, do, and think. This hormonal cascade can be lifesaving in the appropriate situation---in the face of a dangerous driver, say, or a possible mugger or rapist. But in intimate relationships, it's often toxic. In my work as a couples therapist, I train my clients to reactivate the neocortex---the inner switchmaster---in the face of strong emotion.

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Dealing with Trauma Anxiety on the Spot

The Mechanics of Fight-or-Flight Responses in Trauma Clients

Babette Rothschild

My approach to trauma work is rooted in an experience I had in college. A friend asked me to teach her to drive---in a new car my father had just given me. Sitting in the passenger seat next to her as she prepared to turn on the ignition, I suddenly panicked. I quickly realized that before I taught her how to make that powerful machine go, I had to make sure that she knew how to put on the brakes. I apply the same principle to therapy, especially trauma therapy.

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