How can it be that—despite all the efforts aimed at understanding, treating, and educating the public about depression—the number of people suffering from depression continues to rise? Why have our treatments plateaued in their effectiveness, and why does the stigma associated with this condition remain very much with us? Depression has clearly been a tough nut to crack, but we haven’t focused much on what’s at the center of that nut: mood. Read More
When we catch ourselves in a state of nonpresence, we’re likely to chalk it up to “mind chatter.” When a client reports these repetitive intrusions, we may wonder about a tendency toward obsessiveness or the possibility of depression and/or anxiety. While all of these interpretations may have some validity, I believe that much more is at stake. I propose that in many of these moments of body-mind intrusion, our brain is trying to protect us from mortal danger arising from memories of old, unresolved threats. In short, we’re in survival mode. Read More
That therapists differ in their ability to affect change is hardly a revelation. But we also recognize that some practitioners are a cut above the rest. With rare exceptions, whenever they take aim, they hit the bull’s-eye. Nevertheless, since researcher David F. Ricks coined the term supershrinks in 1974 to describe a class of exceptional therapists—practitioners who stood head and shoulders above the rest, little has been done to further the investigation of supershrinks, and pseudoshrinks—those whose clients experience poor results. Read More
Today, sex therapy consists mainly of counseling and “homework” in which new experiences are tried and new skills practiced. If clients are too tense or reluctant to try something new, systems approaches, couples therapy, prescription drugs and psychodynamic therapy may be tried as well. Once anxiety is lowered, sex therapy often proceeds successfully, especially in treating the following common problems outlined here. Read More
In spite of profound historical changes that make us more vulnerable to depression, the entire mental health establishment still regards the condition much as it did more than two decades ago—as an individual problem, confined within an individual skull, best approached with individual therapies or nostrums. In the face of massive evidence that “individual” depression is really a vast social and cultural problem inextricably linked to the habits, mores, and expectations of our era, our tunnel vision is remarkably unchanged. So why do we continually use a relentlessly individualized remedy to fight a socially mediated disorder? Read More
Pepperdine professor-psychotherapist Lou Cozolino believes that the key to improving our schools is learning how to incorporate an understanding of attachment theory and social neuroscience into our educational system. Throughout his career, he’s devoted himself to bridging the world of academic research with the realm of practical applications. Read More
Couples sessions can be scenes of rapid escalation uncommon in individual therapy, and even in family therapy. Lose control over the process for 15 seconds and you can have a couple fighting with each other to the point where the argument dominates the rest of the session, each partner wondering why they’re paying you to watch them mix it up.As in any sport or art form, there are beginners’ mistakes. Here are a few of them.
Building rapport with provocative teens in therapy can be a challenging task for even the most experienced therapists. A teen client can be a master at putting up the invisible force field while pushing our buttons, or telling us what we want to hear and side-stepping responsibility. Through the years, I’ve developed several engagement strategies that I regularly use, singly or in combination, that have consistently helped me establish a therapeutic alliance with even the toughest teen client. Read More
The sensations of doom or dread and other common panic attack symptoms felt by anxiety sufferers are truly overwhelming. They’re the very same sensations a person would feel if the worst really were happening. What good psychiatrist would suggest skipping medication when a suffering patient can get anxiety relief quickly? But what clients don’t know when they start taking medication is the unacknowledged cost of relying solely on pills: they’ll never learn the basic mind-body stress-reduction techniques that can control or eliminate their symptoms without meds.
A year ago today, we launched the Networker Daily—a blog that we hoped would be a source of digital caffeine for therapists every morning. We wanted to strengthen the sense of connection we already have with you and, along the way, inform, educate, and inspire the whole Networker community with news of the latest happenings in Therapy World. Now it’s 12 months and over 300 blogs later. While we’ve received plenty of fan mail, we’ve also gotten more than a few signals that we’ve provided too much of a good thing. Read More
It’s no secret that psychotherapy has had an image problem in the media. So when The New York Times Magazine asked trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk if it could have a journalist follow him around for a month to observe his work, it seemed like a golden opportunity to present the latest advances in trauma treatment in one of mainstream journalism’s most highly respected forums. Read More