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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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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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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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Five Ways to Maintain Gains in Couples Therapy

...And the First Question You Need to Ask Relapsing Partners

Jon Carlson

By Jon Carlson - Couples therapists need to be aware of the strategies that prevent relapse, so that short-term successes don't become long-term failures, and to address those areas in the initial therapy with the couple. However, if gains are not maintained, here are five areas of treatment you may need to revisit.

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How to Get Clients to Do Their Homework

Step 1: Don't Call It "Homework"

Bill O'Hanlon

By Bill O'Hanlon - The best way to ensure clients' cooperation is to make the assignments relevant for them. Task assignments are designed to bring about changes in the presenting problem. We try to make sure they are relevant to clients by having a mutually agreed upon definition of the problem being addressed and then collaboratively designing tasks that relate to it. In fact, when the tasks derive from a collaborative relationship, they often don't feel like tasks at all.

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The Core of Couples Therapy

Why Homework is So Important, and Six Ways to Make Sure Your Clients Do It

David Treadway

By David Treadway - Over the years, the couples in my practice who’ve actually done homework exercises have reported communicating better and being more affectionate and more supportive of each other than couples who haven’t. To make sure I’m successful in motivating them, I use these six techniques.

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Making Therapy's Epiphanies Stick

Creative Memory Techniques to Help Clients Retain Insights and Skills

Danie Beaulieu

By Danie Beaulieu - Back in the routine of their daily lives, it's all too easy for our clients to return to old patterns without stopping to examine their actions and reactions in light of what they've recently learned. Fortunately, some creative memory techniques can reduce the need to repeat ourselves with our clients. Once you get used to them, you'll be amazed at how simply and effectively you can apply them.

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