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A Polyvagal Primer

A Three-Part Exercise That Taps Into the Nervous System to Create Safety and Trust

Deb Dana

By Deb Dana - The three elements of our autonomic nervous system—ventral, sympathetic, and dorsal—act as our largely subconscious surveillance system, working in the background to read subtle signals of safety or threat. That’s why I help clients create a clear map of their own autonomic nervous systems, so they become aware of their patterns of response to ease and distress.

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VIDEO: What to Do When Your Client Cries

Making Tears Your Therapeutic Ally

Jay Efran

Many times, when clients cry, clinicians feel an urge to rush in and “fix things” that aren’t broken, which can actually make things worse. Watch as Jay Efran explains his strategy for working with a crying client.

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The Trigger Warning Controversy

Are We Promoting a Culture of Avoidance?

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - According to some critics, an overly protective approach to presenting college course materials deemed too triggering—in books, lessons, and lectures—could soon be coming to a university near you. Are they a boon to student mental health, or just promoting a culture of avoidance?

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How to Develop a Safety Plan with Suicidal Clients

A Process of Inquiry That Promotes Empathic Connection

Douglas Flemons

By Douglas Flemons - Suicide assessment is a high-stakes process infused with uncertainty. However, even the best scales can be unreliable when they’re completed in the midst of an emotional crisis. Rather than outsourcing your decision-making to an instrument, it's important that therapists learn how to conduct a conversational evaluation that builds on their therapeutic skills.

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VIDEO: Diane Poole Heller on the Hidden Capabilities of Trauma Survivors

Watch as a Traumatized Client Taps Into a Wellspring of Healing in an Actual Session

Diane Poole Heller

Think all traumatized clients are shut-down and energy-sapped? Think again. In this clip from her Networker Symposium Keynote, "Creating a Corrective Emotional Experience," trauma specialist Diane Poole Heller shares a clip from an actual session, where she guides a client in tapping into a hidden wellspring of energy that leaves them feeling refreshed, happy, and safe.

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Connecting Emotions to a Felt Body Sense

Using the Body to Help Clients Break Old Habits and Stuck Patterns

Daniel Leven

By Daniel Leven - Many therapists remain so focused on understanding the thoughts and feelings in clients’ minds that they forget about the pivotal information to be gleaned by paying more attention to clients’ bodies. The three-step somatic process below can be used with just about any therapeutic approach, and it will help you directly access the important information that lives within clients’ immediate physical experience.

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Creating a Safe Space for Men in Therapy

Using a Men's Group Therapy Model to Cultivate Emotional Intimacy

Robert Garfield

I have been running therapeutic men’s groups---we call them “friendship labs”---for the past 18 years. We’ve found that groups are particularly appealing for men who experience traditional individual or couples approaches as being too alien or off-putting. There’s something comforting about being part of a group of guys dealing with similar issues, who are there to ask for and give support to each other. This seems to echo Henry Ford’s praise for close male relationships: “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”

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