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

Coping with Anxiety by Welcoming Stress

Reid Wilson on Mindful Stress Management

Reid Wilson

The problems we suffer with anxiety often continue not because we have symptoms, but because we resist the fact that we're experiencing symptoms---doing our utmost to block out the symptoms, rather than getting to know them a little bit. Most of our clients come to us trying to end something unpleasant, seeking both comfort and predictability in their lives. The desire for a life without stress or doubt is perfectly natural. And yet, we compound our clients' problems when we collude in their goal of simply making the unpleasantness go away. Our objective should not simply be to block their discomfort and allay their doubts, but to help reduce their suffering---ultimately, a completely different task.

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Therapy: Ally to Memory Recollection?

Elizabeth Loftus Revisits False Memory Controversy

Ryan Howes

In the late 1980s and 1990s, after the growing recognition that child abuse was far more prevalent than had been believed, an increasingly vocal adult survivors’ movement began to form, determined to bring to light the previously ignored subject of child abuse. During this period, research psychologist Elizabeth Loftus emerged as the most prominent public critic of the notion that memories of childhood abuse could be recovered years later. In this interview, she reflects on her role in the memory wars of the 1990s and whether our increasing understanding of the brain has illuminated the difference between real and false memories.

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Mary Pipher on Leaving Our Biases outside the Consulting Room

Finding Respect for All Clients

Mary Pipher

From the moment I met the Correys in my waiting room, I was baffled about why they were together. Frank was tall, good looking and suave; Donna dowdy and sullen. Every other week for a year, I saw them, during which time I tried pretty much every trick in my therapeutic arsenal. And in spite of all my efforts, the Correys were one of my most spectacular failures. Gradually, I let my own values prejudice me against Donna. In the end, I learned that with no respect, there can be no connection. And without connection, therapy loses its meaning.

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Satori in the Bedroom

Tantric Sexuality and the West's Narrow View of Sexual Repair

Katy Butler, Katy Butler

In the West, we reverberate between sexual obsession and sexual shame. No wonder we feel split within ourselves and from each other. Modern sex therapy helps thousands with simple, effective behavioral techniques, usually focused narrowly on achieving erection, intercourse or orgasm. Yet few of us have much of a clue about the more profound joys of sexuality. Presaged by the popularity in the 1960s of the Kama Sutra, a 3rd-century Indian sex manual, Tantra has become a postmodern hybrid. The goal in Tantra is to move arousal to the brain in an explosion of enlightenment and bliss. In Tantra, sex is not a dirty detour from the path to God, it is the path.

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Nightmare in Aisle 6

A Therapist Caught in the Act of Being Herself

Linda Stone Fish

I live in a small city in Upstate New York, and most people in town know somebody who knows me, my husband, or one of our four engaged and energetic sons. Despite all this, I managed, for two decades, to maintain (in my own mind, at least) a fire wall between my personal and professional lives. In the consulting room and the classroom, I worked to present an air of calm worldliness, an expert with the answers to all sorts of painful therapeutic and family dilemmas. Until one day, I was caught being myself, and everything changed.

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Larger than Life

Marianne Walters Was Family Therapy's Foremost Feminist

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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Stronger Medicine

Anti-Depressants Haven't Made Therapy Obsolete

Michael Yapko

Americans have a history of valuing quick-fix solutions to difficult problems. But the simplistic psychopharmacological approach to depressive disorders underestimates the remarkable human capacity for self-transformation. We have the ability to use imagination and intelligence to change our life circumstances, our attitudes and emotions, even, to some extent, our personalities. It is the privilege of our profession to be able to help troubled people along this path, and though medications may make this journey less arduous, in the long run, therapists are indispensable for getting their clients to this destination.

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Breaking the Cycle: OCD Treatment that Works

Therapy Techniques for Treating OCD Clients

Martin Seif and Sally Winston

Many people with OCD aren’t easy to diagnose or treat. Clients with OCD can present as panicky, depressed, and agoraphobic, as well as with a wide range of personality problems and relationship issues. But by locating the obsessive thought that initially raises anxiety distress and the compulsive thought that provides the temporary relief, therapists can help these clients break their self-reinforcing cycles of anxious arousal and counterproductive stress-reducing behavior.

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Jay Haley Takes Family Therapy to Task

The Story of Family Therapy's Unabashed Founding Father

Mary Sykes Wylie

Jay Haley was an unlikely candidate to become a founder of the early family therapy movement. An outsider to the field, he had no formal training in psychology or psychotherapy. But as someone who translated the abstruse concepts of cybernetics—the rules, sequences, and feedback loops that guide self-regulating machines—into the lingua franca of family therapy, Haley helped give the field its organizing principles.

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Empathy Becomes a Physical Force

The Wonders of Engaging Mirror Neurons in Therapy

Babette Rothschild

Empathy is the connective tissue of good therapy. It's what enables us to establish bonds of trust with clients, and to meet them with our hearts as well as our minds. Empathy enhances our insights, sharpens our hunches, and, at times, seems to allow us to "read" a client's mind. I first recognized the physical force of empathy as a college student. When I copied the swaggering gait of a cocky young man, for example, I'd momentarily feel more confident---even happier---than before. I found this secret street life fascinating and fun, but I didn't think much about it until a few years later, when I started practicing clinical social work.

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