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The Nine Personality Types, According to the Enneagram

Are You The Giver, The Performer, The Observer, or Something Else?

By David Daniels - The typology I’ve found most helpful in organizing my own work and understanding my clients’ lifelong patterns is the Enneagram, a system of personality types. When we can witness our own habit of mind and its repetitive, limiting pattern in a nonjudgmental way with gratitude—which this system facilitates—we gain great leverage in changing our patterns.

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We Need to Talk About Depression Recurrence

Talking About Staying Well After Therapy May Be Lifesaving

By Marian Sandmaier - Virtually all clinicians make clear to departing clients that they’re welcome to return to therapy at any point. But for clients with recurrent depression, that may not be enough. I propose that before termination, therapists talk with clients candidly about the possibility of another episode of suffering down the line.

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Four Strategies for Working with Vets

...And the One Question You Should Never Ask Them

By Alison Lighthall - Despite good intentions, therapists working with combat veterans face several challenges. To start with, engaging combat veterans in counseling of any kind. The first session may afford your only opportunity to ease the suffering of the veterans you encounter. You have to make every interaction with them count. Here's a blueprint for making it happen.

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VIDEO: How to Talk to Your Kids About Love

...And The 60-Second "Truth Bomb" Exercise to Get You Started

When it comes to talking about love and relationships with young adult children, too many parents are silent. But research shows that the vast majority of young adults want to hear guidance and wisdom from parents and older role models. In the following interview, couples therapist and author Alexandra Solomon shares a few ways to get started.

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Taking Imagery to the Next Level

This Approach Adds a Crucial Dimension to the Therapy Experience

By Kate Cohen-Posey - Sometimes, when I ask clients to visualize a safe place or a wise inner guide, they struggle to bring these mental images to life. Just the simple external stimulus of visual images, however, can open new doors for them.

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Are We Getting Mindfulness Wrong?

Buddhist Thought Pioneer Mark Epstein Has a Message for Therapists

By Ryan Howes - For psychiatrist and bestselling author Mark Epstein, a state of mindfulness isn’t just a prescription for quieting an anxious mind: it’s an introductory phase to a much deeper process of healing and enlightenment. In the following interview, he breaks down the intersection of Eastern and Western thought playing out in our culture today.

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Why Would Anybody Become a Therapist?

Reflecting on the Soul of Our Professional Identity

By Barry Duncan - It’s no secret that this is a tough time to be a therapist. In public agencies, we’re underpaid, overworked, and held to unattainable "productivity standards." So why would anybody choose to enter such a field? Recent findings reveal that therapists stay in the profession not because of material rewards, but because they value connecting deeply with clients and helping them to improve.

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The Labels We Use

When It Comes to Addiction, Sometimes a Diagnosis is a Client's Best Motivator

By Margaret Wehrenberg - The labels we use to describe clients’ behaviors have important therapeutic implications. Sometimes using the word addiction and explaining its neurological basis can help clients focus on the consequences of their behavior. But how do we parse the tenuous line between addiction and habit?

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VIDEO: When Sorrow Mixes with Joy

Martha Manning Shares a Moving Personal Story of Hardship, Hope, and Love

A karaoke performance on a psych ward helps a mother and daughter find a way to reconnect.

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June Quandary: My Client is Moving Overseas to Marry a Man She's Never Met

Five Clinicians Give Their Take on This Tricky Clinical Scenario

Diane has just announced she intends to move overseas to marry a man she recently met online. This raises an alarm for her therapist, but he's unsure about how to proceed. Here's how five clinicians say they'd tackle the situation.

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Rethinking the Female Affair

When It Comes to Treating Women Who Cheat, Too Many Therapists Are Making This Mistake

By Tammy Nelson - Far from being evidence of pathology or marital bankruptcy, a woman’s affair can be a way of expressing a desire for an entirely different self. Sometimes, understanding an affair as an unconscious bid for self-empowerment, relief from bad sex, or a response to a lack of choices or personal freedom is an important first step toward a fuller, more mature selfhood.

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VIDEO: David Kessler on Coming to Terms with the End

A Special Storytelling Piece from Our 2018 Symposium

When our clients are facing their own mortality, how can we guide them in a way that's both compassionate and realistic? In the following video, therapist David Kessler, an expert on healing from grief, shares the story of his work with a terminally ill client and what it took for her to come to terms with her illness and finally reach a place of acceptance.

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What Successful Couples Are Doing Right

The Gottmans on Mastering the Brain’s Seven Pathways to Emotional Connection

By John and Julie Gottman - John and Julie Gottman have spent decades developing an evidence base for couples therapy, honing their techniques for stabilizing marriage through research with nearly 3,000 couples. In the following excerpt from their 2018 Networker Symposium keynote address, they explain what research has revealed about the crucial role the brain’s seven different command systems can play in enhancing the quality of couples’ emotional connection.

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Crossing to Safety

A Master Clinician Shares Her Most Therapeutic Moment

By Courtney Armstrong - Many people wonder how therapists manage to do the work they do. Of the thousands of meaningful sessions that take place in a therapist’s office, certain ones stand out. In the following storytelling piece, Courtney Armstrong shares a memorable moment from her own work.

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Is Porn Incompatible with a Loving Relationship?

Talking Frankly About Secrecy, Shame, and New Levels of Intimacy

By Joe Kort - Despite the undeniable harm that porn can do, we therapists need to bear in mind a fundamental fact: the overwhelming majority of people exposed to it don't become addicts. To begin to see porn in a more normalizing light, it can be helpful to understand the ways in which porn can be incorporated into a relationship without secretiveness or shame.

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Learning to Let Go

Sometimes, Too Much Investment in a Client's Recovery Keeps Everyone Stuck

By Daphne de Marneffe - After decades in practice, I still find myself blindsided by certain clients in ways that both humble and mystify me. I’ve learned that if I’m going to be helpful to these clients, I have to work through something difficult in myself. Our ability to inhabit our clients' experiences is part of what makes us good therapists, but there’s always a delicate balancing act in not getting too involved.

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The Heart of Emotional Intelligence

Illuminating the Connection Between What We Feel, What We Want, and How We Act

By Steven Krugman - Mentalization refers to the mind’s innate capacity to make sense of social experiences and implicitly know how to respond to them. But while mentalization fosters an empathic awareness of the moods and mindsets of others, it also enables us to know what our own states of mind and body mean.

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What is Love?

It Exists in the Most Ordinary Places. Here's How to Find It

By Barbara Fredrickson - At work, you and your teammates celebrate a shared triumph with hugs and high fives. On your morning jog, you smile and nod to greet fellow runners and silently wish them a good day. After a trip that’s kept you apart for too many days, you share a long embrace with a family member. Can these everyday moments be called love? What exactly is love?

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The Immigrant Experience, Revisited

Clinicians Feeling the Effects of New Immigration Policies Weigh In

By Chris Lyford - Immigrants in America have long faced an uphill battle. But the shifting political landscape of the past year and a half has proven psychologically destructive, not only to undocumented immigrants, but also to those with legal protections. It's also significantly burdened the clinicians who work with these populations.

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What's the Best Way to Help Male Clients?

For Many Men, Therapy is a Lion's Den of Shame and Humiliation

By Robert Garfield - Group therapy is particularly appealing for men who experience traditional individual or couples approaches as being too alien or off-putting. There’s something comforting about being part of a group of guys dealing with similar issues. For men who consider entering couples therapy a stroll into a lion’s den of shame, humiliation and failure, a men's group can be both a crucial source of support and a kick in the pants.

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The Siren's Song of Neuroscience

Neural Reductionism Puts Therapists—and Their Clients—on a Slope of Declining Responsibility

By Rick Hanson - It’s perfectly natural to be enthralled by the explosive growth of neuroscience. But people come to therapists because they want something to change: they want to feel or act differently or understand themselves or others better. These changes of mind, of course, require changes of brain. But in many ways, the essence of therapy is developing inner strengths.

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Myths and Realities of the Asperger's Experience

Normalizing and Mobilizing Clients and Their Families

By Richard Howlin - Adults with Asperger's syndrome often behave as if they were confused actors walking onto a stage and being the only ones who don't know the lines or the plot. One of my initial goals in therapy is to help them realize the role their brain plays in their everyday practical and social understanding. Then, we embark on a step-by-step process of skill training, life planning, and helping clients integrate their unusual and obsessive talents into a productive life.

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The Brain's Key

A Three-Step Process for Undoing Negative Emotional Learnings

By Bruce Ecker, Robin Ticic, and Laurel Hilley - While most neuroscientists once believed that implicit memories, avoidance reactions, and rigid schemas were locked permanently in the brain’s synaptic pathways, brain research shows that, under certain conditions, we can not only unlock these neural pathways, but actually erase them and substitute new learning.

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VIDEO: My First Client, My Greatest Teacher

Sue Johnson Shares a Story of Personal and Professional Transformation

In the following video from her 2018 Networker Symposium storytelling piece, couples and family therapist Sue Johnson shares a therapeutic moment that stands out from all others, one that left her with a deepened sense of what it means at the core to be a therapist.

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Changing Our Contract with Life

A Therapist's Story of Battling Chronic Pain

By Kevin Anderson - This is the story of one of the most turbulent storms in my personal and professional life. After the storm, I learned there’s something about healing from deep emotional suffering that feels like death and rebirth—the kind that asks us to be open to changing our contract with life.

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