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

Helping Therapy Clients Cope with the Reality of Death

Clinical Wisdom to Combat Fear, Anxiety, and Grief at the End of Life

Barry Jacobs

For 17 years, managing responses to death has become part of my work, whether originally my intention or not. I’ve aspired to helping families hang tough through medical crisis, but now spend some of my time hanging crepe. I’ve now accepted the variety of ways people react to their dying. All of these ways of facing death are utterly ordinary and human. Throughout it all, I've learned that as difficult and awkward as confronting death can be, this work also gives me a richer sense of my client, the cast of characters in their world, and the drama of their life.

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Therapy Lessons from Men's Relationship with Sports

Using Athletics to Tap into Male Emotions, Relationships, and Aggression

Barry Jacobs

I understand and relate to the passion that many men have for sports. At the same time, I'm aware of a counternarrative held by many of my psychotherapist colleagues: sports breeds competition, which causes decreased empathy, which foments injustice. Still, there's so much more here: rich drama, with which to understand the strivings, insecurities, and identities of many of our male clients. Sports can teach us about trust, relationships, teamwork, and our power to regulate feelings.

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Putting SPECT Brain-Imaging Under the Microscope

Why is Daniel Amen's Method for Treating Psychiatric Disorders So Controversial?

Mary Sykes Wylie

Psychiatrist Daniel Amen argues that a brain-imaging method called SPECT is an invaluable tool for understanding and treating psychiatric disorders. SPECT has been used in a huge number of research studies on almost every conceivable psychiatric and neurological condition, as well as some nonpsychiatric studies. So what is it about Amen and his mission to get therapists to use brain imaging, and SPECT in particular, as an aid to diagnosis and treatment that makes him such a lightning rod?

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Addressing Race Therapeutically in Black Relationships

Testimonials from the 2015 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Symposium Student Scholars

Today I attended a workshop called “Working with Black Couples: Overcoming Myths and Stereotypes,” led by Dr. Christiana Awosan. Being an African American female, this talk was very emotional and I was able to identify with some of the stereotypes that have been placed on black single heterosexual women. A big problem in black relationships, Christiana said, is not that black men and women don’t want to stay together. It’s that they don’t know how to sustain their relationship. Race is a huge contextual factor in why black couples have a hard time working through their issues. But nobody seems to be talking about this or giving voice to their oppressive experiences within society.

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The Therapeutic Goldmine of Song, Dance, and Mindfulness

Testimonials from the 2015 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Symposium Student Scholars

John Kabat-Zinn sparked my interest when he recounted the time Oprah asked him, "Is there life after death?" His reply to her: "Oprah, I'm interested in the question, 'Is there life before death?'" Living fully is dependent on our capacity to practice mindfulness. The idea that acknowledging a feeling, even acknowledging pain, can reduce suffering is so powerful. Over time, I have realized what John Kabat-Zinn illustrated so beautifully this morning. Mindfulness is realized in a world full of human beings, people waiting to be seen and heard, and in search of ways to live more joyfully and with less suffering. We therapists have the privilege of being present for people who are doing just that. In this moment, I feel gratitude.

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Addressing Race and Culture in the Therapy Room

Testimonials from the 2015 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Symposium Student Scholars

As a family therapist, I know the power of thinking relationally, collaborating, and working across difference to find the many places where we actually share similarities. I found that at the Networker Symposium, where I had the pleasure of attending a workshop led by Christiana Awosan. Her presentation called practitioners, researchers, and educators alike to ask tough questions when working with Black couples. She invited us to consider the context that Black heterosexual men and women are coupling within, related to the experiences of slavery and racism, both as it was experienced over 250 years ago and also in how it still persists in our society today. There are truly The Colors of Tomorrow that we are living today.

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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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Where Do Therapists Stand on Marijuana Legalization?

Therapy Grapples with the Drug's Pros and Cons

Tori Rodriguez

More than 20 states have enacted laws to allow the sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and others have moved to reduce criminal penalties for possession of small amounts. But the more marijuana legalization reaches mainstream acceptance, the more the divisions of opinion within the mental health field---presumably the professionals who have the most scientifically informed perspective on the debate---become apparent.

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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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Internal Family Systems, Guidepost for Sexual Intimacy

Richard Schwartz on Better Sex through the IFS Approach

Richard Schwartz

No other area of a couple's life holds as much promise for achieving intimacy as sex. I used to instruct that couples issue a moratorium on sex and assign exercises that allowed them to show affection to each other without any sexual expectation. Not anymore. My goal now is to help partners reach the kind of soul-deep connectedness in their sexual encounters that can transform their lives and their relationship with each other. Within each of us is a complex family of subpersonalities. As a result, intimacy has two components: the knowing and revealing of one's secret parts and also the sense of awe and belonging that comes with Self-to-Self connectedness.

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