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Transforming Anger into Compassion

A Five-Step Process for Dealing with Angry Clients

Steven Stosny

By Steven Stosny - Some therapists find themselves getting extremely reactive when clients lose their temper. Here's what you can do to better control your anger and anxiety in the presence of an angry client.

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VIDEO: The Biggest Threat to Remarried Boomers

Helping Partners Deal with Stepfamilies

Patricia Papernow

Successfully combining families as part of remarriage is always challenging. But it's especially hard when older re-couplers have adult children, who may or may not be onboard with the new marriage, and extended networks of decades-long relationships that need to be included in the picture.

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Treating Self-Harm

Here's a Behavioral Contract That Clients Can Follow

Lisa Ferentz

By Lisa Ferentz - I used to think that repetitive self-injury could only be seen as pathological, and through contracts and other means tried to convince my clients that this behavior would only cause more problems. Now, I know that my job isn't to browbeat clients into change, but introduce them to healthier behaviors that bring the relief cutting often provides.

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VIDEO: Steve Andreas on Heading Off Resistance

What to Do in the Very First Session

Steve Andreas

Anxious clients that voluntarily come to therapy rarely say, “I came here because I have no intention of changing right now.” And yet even clients who clearly have a desire to feel better may fight change at every turn by continually saying “yes, but” or otherwise embodying therapy’s least welcome visitor—resistance. And when both client and therapist are unclear about the source of resistance, it can bring the process of treatment to a halt.

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VIDEO: David Burns on Overcoming Resistance

Exploring Why Clients Might Not Want to Change

David Burns

Do you have a client who you can't seem to help, no matter what techniques you try? In this brief video, master clinician David Burns—one of the developers of CBT and an expert in treating depression and anxiety—explains why we shouldn't automatically assume that clients actually want to change the problems they initially present in treatment.

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When Helping Doesn't Help

What to Do When Your Client Doesn't Want to Change

David Burns

By David Burns - What if a client's resistance to change reveals something positive, beautiful, and even healthy about them—something that we’ve overlooked? If we can learn to put unconscious resistance front and center in our clinical work, we can lessen or even eliminate our clients’ resistance altogether.

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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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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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Taking Charge with Difficult Teens

...And the Four Most Common Mistakes Therapists Make

Jerome Price and Judith Margerum

By Jerome Price and Judith Margerum - How does a therapist treat a struggle between a teenager and his or her parents? Therapies that advocate support without leadership fail, giving teenagers too much control. There are four common errors that therapists make with teenagers. They are surprisingly simple to grasp, and they always make matters worse.

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Breaking Through Therapeutic Gridlock

How to Respond When Clients Resist Your Advice

Jay Lappin

By Jay Lappin - As therapists, we need to be open to feedback, even criticism, as a means of deepening the therapeutic relationship. Establishing trust by moving beyond the reflex action of offering a solution and creating a context in which the possibility for transformation is greater than the pull of old patterns is hard work both for clients and for therapists.

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