Creating Antidote Experiences in Therapy

How to Turn Positive Mental States into Enduring Traits

Rich Simon


In his best-selling books Buddha’s Brain and Hardwiring Happiness, Rick Hanson challenges psychotherapy’s focus on all the pain, trauma, and suffering that are so endemic to our human species. His clinical premise is that we therapists are too drawn to exploring the deep muddy of whatever psychic mess clients bring in. Instead, he believes we should be turning our attention to providing “antidote experiences” that directly address their deeper, unsatisfied needs. But how?

In this video clip, Rick talks about how to activate positive mental states and help clients embody them so that they become permanent resources. In the Networker Webcast series Why Brain Science Matters, Rick goes to demonstrate systematic clinical procedures that enable clients to overcome their brain’s natural negativity bias.

In his recent article in the Networker magazine, Rick warns, “Too often, therapists tend to spend a lot of time hashing over why and how a client feels bad and too little time picking up those vagrant moments, in therapy or out, when he or she has experienced something positive—and trying to get those positive experiences to sink in, become part of the person.”

Why Brain Science Matters
Concrete Strategies for Your Practice

Click here for full course details

Topic: Trauma

Tags: brain science | negativity bias | neuroplasticity | neuroscience | positive psychology | Rick Hanson | science | therapists | therapy

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1 Comment

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 3:20:52 PM | posted by First Name Last Name
Hi Rick, I must say that your advise of giving "attention to providing antidote experiences for our clients that will address their deeper unsatisfied needs" very much validated a path I have mostly taken with my clients. However, I work with a gentleman with SPMI burdened not only with self-defeating addictions (e.g. disordered eating, spending, & hoarding) but overburdened with professionals making goals for him that he never accomplishes which spirals him down further into his addictions. I must say that at times I have fallen into the entrapment of "setting goals" for him to make myself feel more productive--ha ha! As of lately we are working on self affirmative beliefs and spirituality to build himself up and experience successes. It is making a difference in his life. Thank you for your work.
Sharon Abbott Licensed psychologist