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Bessel van der Kolk Takes on the New York Times

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

Somatic Tools for Self-Soothing

Often, traumatized clients find that they become dependent on their therapists to help them handle their extreme emotional states. But according to Peter Levine, originator of Somatic Experiencing Therapy, the key to helping clients achieve more autonomy is giving them tools that enable them to better regulate their own body states.   Read More

Treating Complex Depression Symptoms with Bill O’Hanlon’s “Exceptions” Technique

Rarely is someone always depressed, or always empty, or always without energy, or always suicidal. If you (or the person you’re helping) explores exceptions to the usual problem, feeling, or thought, you can usually find moments when it’s not occurring. A lot can be learned from these exceptions that may be helpful in finding relief from the depression.   Read More

Helping Couples in Therapy Understand Desire

The provocative core of new research is this: each of us approaches our erotic encounters already primed by a premixed neurochemical and hormonal “cocktail” that influences both the strength and staying power of sexual passion. Having delved into this new biological evidence and observed its impact in my own couples therapy practice, I’m convinced that as long as our clients remain unaware of these bodily processes, they’re at high risk for making disastrous decisions about their intimate commitments.   Read More

Transgender Counseling: A Therapist Struggles with his Clinical Choices

I was stunned. “So, Glen, it seems like you’re really hurt that Julie would bring this moment up in our therapy without warning,” I said. I tried to be a comfort to each of them, normalizing how embarrassing secrets can sometimes be blurted out in the supposed safety of the therapy room. Meanwhile, the couple huddled in their separate corners of the sofa without looking at each other. They endured the rest of the hour and got out of there as fast as they could—without making another appointment. In the following weeks, they didn’t return my phone messages, and I felt as if I’d blown the case. But after a month and half, I was delighted when they phoned to set up another appointment.   Read More

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