Topic - Anxiety/Depression

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We've gathered Psychotherapy Networkers most popular posts and arranged them here by topic.

The Merits of Applying Brain Science in Therapy

Using the Brain to Explain Fear and Anxiety Objectively

Louis Cozolino

The aspects of our brains that evolved 50,000 years ago—which give us astonishing powers of thought, logic, imagination, empathy, and morality—also share skull space with the ancient brain equipment that we've inherited from our mammalian and reptilian forebears over the past several million years, including the neural circuitry involved in fear and anxiety. Some therapists bristle at the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy, calling it irrelevant or reductionistic. But information about the brain and how it evolved helps us communicate with clients about their problems in an objective and non-shaming manner. It's hard to grasp how the brain could be irrelevant to changing the mind.

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Helping Therapy Clients Push Their Limits

Embracing the Client's Capacity for Resilience and Recovery

Michele Weiner-Davis

When we learn that clients have experienced tough childhoods, sexual or emotional abuse, or significant losses, we often make immediate assumptions about their current struggles and the kind of treatment they require. In many ways, the information we gather about problematic pasts biases and blinds us. But human beings are far too complex to assume that we know how any single person assimilates his or her experiences. So why not assume resilience? Why not trust people’s abilities to rebound from adversity?

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A Breathing Exercise Regimen for Anxiety Disorders

Unlocking the Power of Deep Breathing to Combat Panic Attacks

Graham Cambell

Anxiety attacks anything and everything in a person's life. Sometimes the targets are the mundane activities that others take for granted. At other times, it attacks more fundamental functions, such as one's ability to work or to love. We are used to thinking of people who are afraid to speak in public or to drive across a bridge as anxious. We are all familiar with a few stereotypical worrywarts. But anxiety influences a much broader range of behaviors. To the ordinary observer, people who are rude in a restaurant, obnoxious at their child's soccer game or overly exacting of their employees might seem simply self-centered. But often, these individuals are dealing with a wide variety of inner phantoms.

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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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Hypnotic Language in the Consulting Room

Bill O'Hanlon on the Power of Giving Permission in Therapy

Bill O'Hanlon

As therapists, we must recognize the complexity and ambivalence at the core of human experience. People run into problems when their lives are dictated by rigid beliefs that make the stories they're living out too restrictive, for example: "I must always be perfect," or "I should always smile and be happy." But permission counters these commands and prohibitions. The therapist who offers permission goes beyond accepting clients as they are and moves into encouraging them to expand their life stories and their sense of themselves.

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Overcoming Depression Using a Mind-Body Approach

Zindel Segal Explains His Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

Zindel Segal

When we're faced with a crisis, or when we're emotionally crashing, and there's no time to gather our thoughts, mindfulness can seem like a hopeless luxury, impossible to achieve. The program for depression my colleagues Mark Williams and John Teasdale and I developed, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), integrates the eight-week group approach of MBSR with basic principles of cognitive therapy. The act of observing our bodies is good training for when we feel bad---anxious or depressed---because it gives us a kind of emotional detachment, which acts as a stable emotional platform, preventing us from being overwhelmed by our feelings.

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A Brain Science Approach to Couples Therapy

Using Brain Science in Therapy to Alter Mood States

Brent Atkinson

When clients become upset, they're in the grip of one of seven major body-brain mood states, also referred to as "executive operating systems." These are more than just passing moods. They're complex neurochemical cascades, in which hormones race through the body and brain and electrical impulses fly over familiar neural synapses, shaping what we feel, do, and think. This hormonal cascade can be lifesaving in the appropriate situation---in the face of a dangerous driver, say, or a possible mugger or rapist. But in intimate relationships, it's often toxic. In my work as a couples therapist, I train my clients to reactivate the neocortex---the inner switchmaster---in the face of strong emotion.

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The Rise of Therapy's Positive Psychology Movement

Martin Seligman Injects Thinking Positively into the Therapy World

Mary Sykes Wylie

How did Martin Seligman come to be known as the "father" of something called positive psychology, a movement that could change the face of psychotherapy as we know it? With his scientific study of what makes people happy and good, Seligman overturned therapy's culture of victimology, obsessed with the study of what's wrong with people---with their emotional lives, their relationships, their physical brains, and why they fail and feel bad. If people could be taught to feel bad, Seligman supposed, perhaps they could also be taught to feel good.

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The Fiction of the Self

The Paradox of Mindfulness in Clinical Practice

Ronald Siegel

What if our therapeutic goals of improving self-esteem, developing a stable and coherent sense of self, and identifying and expressing genuine, authentic feelings all turn out to be symptoms of delusion? If we engage in meditation long enough, we discover that our sense of being a separate, coherent, enduring self is actually a delusion maintained by our constant inner chatter. Seeing ourselves in this light can pull the rug out from under us in alarming—though potentially liberating—ways.

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Bridging Mind and Body in Trauma Treatment

How Bessel van der Kolk Pioneered a New Trauma Therapy

Mary Sykes Wylie

Bessel Van der Kolk first became aware of the world of trauma in 1978, when he decided to go work for the Veterans Administration, not to study PTSD (it hadn't been recognized yet as a formal diagnosis), but to get the government benefits to pay for his own psychoanalysis. While there, he discovered the reality of PTSD---and the beginnings of a stunning, nationwide phenomenon. Since then, the trauma field has gone from obscurity to become one of the most innovative and supported specialties in mental health. Trauma researchers have set off an explosion of knowledge about psychobiology and the interaction of body and mind. And van der Kolk, as much as anyone else in the field, has defined the current framework for understanding trauma.

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