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Using Conversation in Therapy

Following the Spark to Create Connection

Ron Taffel

By Ron Taffel - As a field, we've been unconscious of the nature of the conversation that energizes our models and techniques. Without it, treatment can be a textbook exercise lacking the power to make clients feel a truly alive and personal connection with their therapist.

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Approaching Alzheimer's Proactively

What Therapists Can Do to Lessen Its Impact

Robert Hill

By Robert Hill - Since our population is aging, memory decline is something older clients are increasingly bringing to therapists. We have to help these clients understand that memory is like any other bodily ability: it shows the signs of natural aging. And while no pill can restore memory to its youthful proficiency, people actually have more control over memory loss than they think.

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The Therapist Who Saved Me

Learning to Explore the Stories I Never Told Anyone

Stephen Lyons

By Stephen Lyons - I spent my first weeks in therapy recounting my recently-ended marriage: the spreading contagion of lies, fights, and broken promises. I'd never told these stories to anyone, ever. Each scene seemed a searing indictment of my abilities as a husband and father. But Sara simply listened, asked questions I'd never asked myself. Her role as a protective friend startled me into action.

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Avoiding Runaway Ethics in Psychotherapy

Is Risk Management Threatening the Therapeutic Alliance?

Ofer Zur

Currently, the field is so deluged with dire warnings of imminent professional ruin that many therapists practice under a cloud of fear. At our professional meetings, in the legal columns that are now a regular feature of our journals, and at workshops and seminars, legal professionals, usually without any clinical training whatsoever, are giving their opinions about how we should practice, what we're allowed to do, and what we should never do---and scaring us to death in the process. As it turns out, this extreme self-watchfulness and rigid avoidance of anything resembling a "boundary violation" by a psychoanalytic or risk-management yardstick can do clients real harm.

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Ethics of the Greater Therapeutic Alliance

Do Dual Relationships Really Threaten Psychotherapy?

Arnold Lazarus

I believe that some elements of our ethical codes have become so needlessly stringent and rigid that they can undermine effective therapy. Take, for example, the almost universal taboo on "dual relationships," which discourages any connection outside the "boundaries" of the therapeutic relationship, such as lunching or socializing. These "boundary crossings," are rarely harmful and may even enhance the therapeutic connection. My experience with Mark and Sally was one such boundary crossing.

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The Best Practices of Highly Effective Therapists

How Leaders in Psychotherapy Ensure Success

Scott Miller, Mark Hubble, and Barry Duncan

That therapists differ in their ability to affect change is hardly a revelation. But we also recognize that some practitioners are a cut above the rest. With rare exceptions, whenever they take aim, they hit the bull's-eye. Nevertheless, since researcher David F. Ricks coined the term supershrinks in 1974 to describe a class of exceptional therapists—practitioners who stood head and shoulders above the rest, little has been done to further the investigation of supershrinks, and pseudoshrinks—those whose clients experience poor results.

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Ending Therapy: The Importance of Planned Termination

How to Ease the Transition Out of the Therapy Relationship

Rich Simon

Of course, all good therapists want to bring their clients to a place where they've met their therapy goals and achieved the necessary growth to feel comfortable ending the therapy relationship. But therapists and clients may not always be operating on the same timetable.

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