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August Quandary: How Do I Get Clients to Engage in Work Between Sessions?

Five Clinicians Weigh In

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - A therapist recommends exercises like journaling prompts and guided mediations that she feels would benefit her clients between sessions. Although they seem interested when she introduces the idea, they always “forget” or can’t find the time to follow through. She's unsure how to proceed. Here, five therapists share what they'd do.

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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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Five Things Seasoned Therapists Wish They'd Known

. . . And the One Question You Should Always Ask Your Clients

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - Whether they’ve been practicing for three months or three decades, therapists are continuously honing their craft. But much of what we learn through trial and error, and hours upon hours sitting across from clients, we were never taught in grad school. So we asked some seasoned therapists to pass on the lessons they wish someone had told them when they were first starting out.

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February Quandary: My Clients Are Asking Personal Questions!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - A therapist works from his home office, which means clients sometimes observe elements of his personal life. He's had clients ask about his electric car in the driveway, his dog, and where his kids go to school. He's gently asked these clients if they can stay on topic, but worries about seeming callous. Here are five creative examples of how other therapists have dealt with this.

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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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My Father's Ranch

A Daughter Wrestles with Bittersweet Memories and a New, Looming Threat

Alicia Muñoz

By Alicia Muñoz - Sometimes family legacies can stir up complicated feelings and outright conflict.

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Judith Beck on the CBT Approach to Depression

...And Her Response to Therapists Who Think It's Too Structured and Restrictive

Judith Beck

By Judith Beck - In the following interview with CBT pioneer Judith Beck, she explains the basics of the cognitive therapy approach to depression, including its step-by-step process, why homework is so important, and how good CBT therapists confront the possibility of relapse from the very first session.

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We Need to Talk About Depression Recurrence

Talking About Staying Well After Therapy May Be Lifesaving

Marian Sandmaier

By Marian Sandmaier - Virtually all clinicians make clear to departing clients that they’re welcome to return to therapy at any point. But for clients with recurrent depression, that may not be enough. I propose that before termination, therapists talk with clients candidly about the possibility of another episode of suffering down the line.

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Myths and Realities of the Asperger's Experience

Normalizing and Mobilizing Clients and Their Families

Richard Howlin

By Richard Howlin - Adults with Asperger's syndrome often behave as if they were confused actors walking onto a stage and being the only ones who don't know the lines or the plot. One of my initial goals in therapy is to help them realize the role their brain plays in their everyday practical and social understanding. Then, we embark on a step-by-step process of skill training, life planning, and helping clients integrate their unusual and obsessive talents into a productive life.

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Making Your Therapy Practices Stick

Four Steps to Help Clients Master Exercises Used in Session

Donald Altman

By Donald Altman - Perhaps the most important aspect of engaging your clients with practices and handouts is to listen to their feedback. What are the challenges? What is most helpful? How clear are your instructions? Here's a four-step approach to help your clients master practices used in session.

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