Contributed by Mary Jo Barrett

18 Results

Mediating Estrangement

How to Help Family Members Coexist

After journeying through the Family Dialogue process, estranged family members often end up adjusting the very notion of what togetherness means. Read more

Reflections on Rich

Friends Celebrate His Life and Legacy

Sharing how Rich Simon impacted our lives—and the field as a whole. Read more

Has anything changed in the way we classify trauma? Does anything need to change in terms of how we treat it? According to therapist Mary Jo Barrett, yes... Read more

Survival Skills

Chicago Gang Members Take a Challenging Leap

In one violent Chicago neighborhood, embattled gang members see themselves as UPOWs—urban prisoners of war. To introduce them to a new set of survival... Read more

VIDEO: Combining Trauma Treatment with Family Therapy

Making Sure Treatment Sticks Outside the Therapy Room

Far too often, trauma survivors appear to progress in therapy and then go home and fall right back into the same old patterns of negative emotion and... Read more

Then, Now & Tomorrow

Oral Histories of Psychotherapy 1978-2017

A group of innovators and leaders look back over different realms of therapeutic practice and offer their view of the eureka moments, the mistakes and... Read more

Case Study March 1, 2015

Knowing When to Push

Balancing Safety and Challenge

When a client has been sexually abused, it can be difficult to find the balance between creating safety and challenging old patterns. Read more

The Crush

Challenging Our Culture of Avoidance

A therapist shares about handling a client when attraction pushes the boundaries. Read more

VIDEO: Bringing the Family Into Trauma Treatment

Mary Jo Barrett on Family Consultations

In this brief video clip, Mary Jo explains why bringing the family into therapy should be our first stop when treating trauma. Read more

Outside the Box

Bringing Families into Trauma Treatment

If we don’t open up the one-on-one therapeutic cloister, trauma sufferers may never learn how to engage in the give and take of real-life relationships. By... Read more

Clarifying Boundary Issues to Strengthen Therapy

Why the Therapy Process Needs to be Free of Boundary Issues to be Successful

We all know that the collaboration between therapist and client is the keystone of therapy. What many therapists may not realize is how much clarifying... Read more

Understanding Trauma and the Cycle of Growth

Mary Jo Barrett on Discovering How Clients Learn

Mary Jo talks about the first stage of trauma treatment, where she teaches clients about the natural cycle of growth in order to discover how they prefer to... Read more

The Ethics Gray Zone: Is it an Ethical Violation or Not?

When Unique Issues Arise, Therapist Need to Determine Whether or Not it’s a Potential Ethical Violation

Sometimes ethical violations we face with our clients become so subtle and complex that we risk alienating clients when we’re trying our best to protect them. Read more

Losing Focus as a Therapist

Mary Jo Barrett on Being Better Attuned to Clients

Mary Jo Barrett talks about grounding during session to be in the moment. Read more

The Importance of Professional Boundaries in Therapy

As ethical violation guidelines in therapy become more ambiguous, setting clear professional boundaries remains a central concern

Increasingly the general public has come to regard therapists as just another kind of service provider, rather than a potential Svengali. Thus the relative... Read more

Yesterday’s Ethics Vs. Today’s Realities

Boundaries in an Age of Informality

As the status of therapist has shifted from an oversized figure with Svengali-like powers to an overworked and underpaid service provider at the mercy of the... Read more

Therapy in the Danger Zone

Breaking the Cycle of Family Trauma

There's no more emotionally demanding work than that with an incestuous family. A therapist offers an uncensored look at the fear, loathing, and fascination of... Read more

Constructing The Third Reality

How to move from conflict to coexistence

The Family Dialogue Project grew out of my attempt to help therapists, abuse survivors, and their families caught in the meshes of terrible conflicts from... Read more

Mary Jo Barrett

Mary Jo Barrett, MSW, is the founder and director of Contextual Change and coauthor of Treating Complex Trauma: A Relational Blueprint for Collaboration and Change and The Systemic Treatment of Incest.