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Celebrating Black Therapists

How an Online Community Broke the Networking Mold

Chris Lyford, Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - In the two years since its founding, Black Therapists Rock, an online community of black therapists, has gained more than 22,000 members. It's a resource, they say, where they can network, get advice about challenging cases, and meet potential mentors. But it’s also a place where many black therapists finally discover—often for the first time in a decades-long career—a sense of camaraderie with other professionals like them.

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The New Community

Searching for Professional Connection in a Fragmented World

Chris Lyford, Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - Therapists are hungry for community. And no wonder. It’s no mystery that in the field of mental health care, schedules and work can be emotionally demanding. With reported rates of loneliness and feelings of isolation rising nationally, are therapists any better off?

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The Three Marriages

Poet David Whyte on Our Work and Purpose

David Whyte, David Whyte

By David Whyte - Human beings are creatures of belonging, and our sense of belonging and not belonging is lived out by most people through three principal dynamics.

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High Lonesome

Braving the Quest for True Belonging

Brené Brown, Brene Brown

By Brené Brown - High lonesome is a type of music in the bluegrass tradition that captures the mood of isolation many people feel today, as we turn away from one another and toward blame and rage. Our challenge as a nation is to reclaim human connection and true belonging even as, more and more, we sort ourselves into antagonistic tribes. But to do that, we’ll need to choose courage over comfort.

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An Awareness of the Soul

What Does It Mean to Really Get in Touch with Yourself?

Michael Ventura, Michael Ventura

By Michael Ventura - When I was 5 years old, I experienced something that made me feel viscerally, mentally, emotionally, and inescapably connected to everything and everyone around me, while feeling what I can only describe as a sense of privacy so deep and unassailable that "loneliness" doesn't begin to describe it. Thirty-five years later, I felt it again.

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Putting Divorce on the Table in Couples Therapy

How to Tell When Splitting Up is the Best Option for a Failing Marriage

Terry Real, Terry Real

Some marriages' endings have broken my heart, made me look hard at my technique, and wonder what I might have done differently. But when I believed the couple, the therapy, and even the children were better served by the partners’ letting go, I’ve breathed a sigh of relief. In other words, I don’t see my job as stitching every couple together no matter what. Sometimes, in fact, my job turns out not to be forestalling the dissolution of a family, but facilitating it.

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The Rebirth of Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

How Marsha Linehan Revolutionized Therapy with DBT

Katy Butler, Katy Butler, Katy Butler

For decades, most clinicians who had a choice avoided borderline clients, while agency staff (who couldn't) went through the motions with a sense of futility. Therapy consisted of guarding against "manipulation" and mining the borderline's reactions to the therapist for clues to her fragmented inner world. It was hard on clients---and on therapists as well. Then, in 1991, a behavioral psychologist and Zen student at the University of Washington named Marsha Linehan introduced an alternative. Her treatment was called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT.

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My Most Spectacular Failure

Voluntary Simplicity Meets Shop Til You Drop

Mary Pipher, Mary Pipher

I will never forget the Correys, who were referred to me by their family doctor in western Nebraska. Every other week for a year, I saw them, during which time I tried pretty much every trick in my therapeutic arsenal. I spent hours discussing their case with trusted colleagues and read up on their particular problems. I don't know how many nights' sleep I lost worrying about how to get these folks on the right track. And in spite of all my efforts, the Correys were one of my most spectacular failures.

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Rediscovering the Myth

For John O'Donohue, Therapy Is a Journey into the Unknown Self

Mary Sykes Wylie, Mary Sykes Wylie

Poet John O'Donohue's introduction to the therapy field came through his unlikely friendship with neuropsychiatrist Daniel Siegel, known for his book The Developing Mind and his pathbreaking efforts to help therapists develop an understanding of how the brain develops and changes in response to human relationships. Recalls Siegel, "It seemed to me that he described, in a beautifully poetic way, the human mind in a state of inner coherence or neural integration--which is my subject--and how both solitude and relationship can act in tandem to bring a sense of mental and emotional wholeness."

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When the Pursuit of Happiness Backfires

Beware of What You Wish For

Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener

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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