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A Week in the Life of a School Social Worker

Rapid-Fire Therapy, Creative Strategies, and Building Trust in an Instant

Howard Honigsfeld

By Howard Honigsfeld - Public School 48, where I’m on staff as a social worker, sits on a block between a juvenile detention center and a strip club. A week of work can be exciting, frustrating, and often hair-raising—anything but boring.

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From Trauma to Recovery and Wholeness

A Trauma Survivor Shares Her Story and Explains What Our Field Has Yet to Learn

Dusty Miller

By Dusty Miller - As a systems therapist, incest survivor, and recovering alcoholic, I've lived through several stages of our culture's attempt to come to terms with child sexual abuse—as a victim in the silent 1950s; as a therapy client in the oblivious 1960s and 1970s; and as a psychotherapist in the 1980s and 1990s. We clinicians are still feeling our way toward a middle path.

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The Art of Facing an Impossible Task

A Social Worker Finds Inspiration in a Father-Daughter Memory

Hope Payson

By Hope Payson - When I was about 10 years old, I climbed into the cab of my father's truck to join him for an evening of snowplowing. I basked in the rare opportunity to be alone with a man I didn't know well. Decades later at work, I recall that snowplow ride. I'm sitting across from a human blizzard of a woman—someone barely two steps away from drugs that have buried her family alive.

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On the Front Lines of Crisis Work

What Keeps a Clinician Going in High-Stakes Therapy?

Gary Weinstein

By Gary Weinstein - I've been doing crisis work for nearly 30 years. I've confronted a number of forks in my professional road, opportunities to take a less demanding route. But I've chosen to continue on this path, accompanying others who've been suddenly, often brutally, cast out of life's safety zones. The reasons I stay aren't simple, and they continue to shift and surprise me.

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Confronting Racism as a Social Disease

Deborah Peterson Small on the Need to Hone Our Therapeutic Focus

Deborah Peterson Small

When you talk about mental health and racism, bear two things in mind. One is the obvious harm that racism causes to the black and brown people who are the objects of racial discriminatory behavior, but the other part---never really talked about---is the harm that comes to white people from living in a racist society and the way in which it distorts their perspectives of themselves. It doesn’t matter so much how people acquired the condition of racism. Instead, the relevant questions are how we contain it and how we prevent it from being passed on to the next generation.

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Therapy Strategies for Working with Underprivileged Youth

An Inner City School Social Worker Shares Two of His Cases

Howard Honigsfeld

Public School 48, where I’m on staff as a social worker, sits on a block between a juvenile detention center and a strip club. I became a social worker because I wanted to directly address the problems---truancy, childhood depression, and the overwhelming responsibilities of being an older child raising siblings---that were keeping them from functioning well in school. My current job is to counsel children with Special Education Services, as well as to handle the daily emotional crises that arise in a place like PS 48. A week of work can be exciting, frustrating, and often hair-raising---anything but boring.

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Rebranding Therapy for the Modern Day

Leaving the DSM Behind, Boosting Creativity, and Reinvigorating Your Clinical Work

William Doherty

Psychotherapy as we know it came out of the particular cultural milieu of the mid- to late-20th century. But the culture has moved on, and we haven’t adapted very well. As a result, we’re suffering the same fate as many other professions that have declined in their cultural support and public clout. Many of us are practicing in another century for another culture. It’s still unclear what we have to offer in a world that’s both hyperconnected and fragmented. What to do? Here’s a road map to a future of relevance.

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Couples Therapy, Brainspotting, and Truth in Love

Testimonials from the 2015 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Symposium Student Scholars

I had the pleasure of attending the Brainspotting seminar with David Grand today. What fresh and amazing information! I am drawn to anything that involves the brain because it brings the scientific information I need to the often less concrete world of talk therapy. Brainspotting is a process by which the client can access encapsulated trauma or other mental health issues without using extensive "talk therapy." Knowing that clients can often get wrapped up in telling stories, accessing the information using BSP gives clients another way to process their distress without going too deeply into the narrative. I also appreciated that BSP is exceptionally client-driven. Therapists are encouraged to "be the tail of the comet." The client, BSP teaches, "is the head."

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Marianne Walters and the Women's Therapy Movement

How One Woman Brought Feminist Insight into Clinical Practice

Mary Sykes Wylie

Marianne Walters didn't invent a brilliant new therapeutic paradigm, publish a large and magisterial body of research, or establish her own unique school of clinical practice. Yet Walters probably had as great an impact on the overall clinical zeitgeist of family therapy as any of the master theory-builders and gurus. Along with her three comrades in arms---Betty Carter, Peggy Papp, and Olga Silverstein---she formed The Women's Project in Family Therapy in 1977, once called "the first, biggest, longest-running feminist road show." It was a combination feminist think tank and SWAT team, which, in public workshops all over the country, challenged the underlying sexism in some of the most basic notions of family therapy.

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Assessing the State of Psychotherapy

Is Today's Therapy Losing Out to Science and Psychopharmacology?

Mary Sykes Wylie

The bad news was made official in 2010, though everybody in the head-shrink business had long suspected as much: psychotherapy was in decline, or even in freefall. You might think this trend represents people’s preferences for the quick fix of a pill, rather than a slog through talk therapy, but you’d be wrong: surveys have consistently shown that depressed and/or anxious people and their families would rather talk to a real, live, human therapist than fill a prescription. So in what appears to be the twilight of the psychopharm gods, why aren’t therapy practitioners rising up, throwing off their chains, and reconquering lost mental health territory?

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