The clients referred to me for psychopharmacology consultation often seem to feel a certain relief once they’ve let me know that, when it comes to meds, they’ve tried “everything” and so far “nothing” has worked. After we’ve run down the list of what they’ve taken and how it’s failed to make any difference in their mood or state of agitation or ability to concentrate, they sit back as if to say, “Now it’s your turn.” In fact, this is the kind of ritual that they’re used to: once they’ve told the unhappy tale of their symptoms and the frustrating failure of drugs to do much good, what else is there for them to say? My answer? Plenty. Read More
There’s a reason agoraphobic people stay home and acrophobic people stay grounded. No one enjoys the way that panic feels. But the trouble with trying to avoid or get rid of panic altogether is that it can lead to a fear of panicking itself. What panicked clients need from therapy instead, says Reid Wilson, author of Don’t Panic, are skills for engaging with their distress, not new ways to keep avoiding it. Read More
It’s a topic that has been at the center of countless debates, both rational and irrational. Is there a clear biological difference between the heterosexual and homosexual brain? According to Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain and The Male Brain, the answer is predictably complicated.
When a couple leaves the consulting room, what keeps them from falling back into the destructive, deep-seated behavioral patterns that brought them there in the first place? In other words, how do in-session breakthroughs become daily habits? Read More
Dan Siegel, author of Brainstorm: The Power and the Purpose of the Teenage Brain, knows that nobody—especially an angst-filled teenager—likes being told what to do. As creative and adventurous as they may be, you’re likely to get eye rolls and crossed arms when you tell them, for instance, that the best way to control their anger toward their parents is through breathing exercises. That’s why Dan takes a more roundabout approach. “Would you like to know more about your brain?” he asks first. Only when the answer is yes—or rather, “Sure, why not? I’ve got nothing better to do.”—can you break out the brain science.
Over the last 150 years or so, we’ve seen successive waves of mass infatuations with psychotropic drugs—morphine, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, tranquilizers, and antidepressants. While all these drugs are different, the story arc they follow—their rise, triumph, ascendancy, and gradual decline or sudden collapse—does follow a roughly predictable course. Read More
Anxiety is a demanding beast, with a long list of conditions that must be met to keep it at bay. It forces anxious children and their families to banish uncertainty, avoid surprises, cling to safety and security—the list of demands could go on forever. Unfortunately, when anxiety is running the show in a child’s life, the family tends to become more and more inflexible.
In his recent Networker article “The Great Deception,” psychologist Brent Atkinson, author of Emotional Intelligence in Couples Therapy: Advances from Neurobiology and the Science of Intimate Relationships, explains the power of mental rehearsal and what this means for your clients.
How do you decide when a problem is not rooted in early experience? While developing Coherence Therapy, Bruce Ecker, coauthor of Unlocking the Emotional Brain, spent a lot of time uncovering the differences between attachment-related problems and those that mimic them in therapy. Read More
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a magic therapy wand to wave in front of our young clients and give them all the answers they need? What if this magic wand could conjure rainbow lizards and talking dogs to sit on our clients’ shoulders, bypass their defense systems, and whisper good, therapeutic advice in their ears? Well, that’s exactly the kind of approach Charlotte Reznick, author of The Power of Your Child’s Imagination, uses with her young clients.
Earlier this year, Clinical Psychology Review published a meta-analysis of 22 studies showing a substantial increase in the rates of treatment for mental health problems between 1987 and 2008 driven Read More