Psychotherapy Blog

 

When East Doesn't Meet West: Buddhism and Psychotherapy

Posted by Kim Chernin, PhD on 2/26/13 - 5:21 PM
Two statements from the Dalai Lama suggest a conflict between the approach of Buddhist meditation and the type of self-awareness we develop in psychotherapy. The first statement has fascinated and puzzled me for decades. A friend, who meditates regularly, repeated to me that the Dalai Lama had said the following in conversation with an American psychiatrist: “When someone has been shot with an arrow you psychologists ask how the arrow got there, who shot it, how long ago, with what...

Who Cares About Creativity?

Posted by Doug Foresta, LICSW on 9/27/12 - 5:39 PM
“Who cares about creativity? I have real problems to deal with!” This is a common reply that I get from clients (and sometimes from colleagues!) when I bring up the topic of creativity. However, the more I have a chance to write and reflect on the subject of creativity, the more convinced I become that creativity is an essential part of the healing process. I recently had an opportunity to interview Dennis Palumbo, a therapist and writer in private practice in...

Emotional Healing Through Creativity (Or: How Creativity Got a Bad Name and What We Can Do About It)

Posted by Doug Foresta, LICSW on 8/28/12 - 12:40 PM
As a therapist and theatre instructor, I hear many stories about creativity. It usually goes something like this: Creativity is something you either have or don’t have, and if you have it, you’re probably manic, anxious and neurotic. Certainly, very few clients come to me complaining that they don’t have enough creativity in their lives. However, I’ve come to experience that healthy creativity (and yes, I believe that this exists!) can help in the process of emotional healing. For the past...

Who Else Wants To Know Why Americans Spell Counseling With A Single "L"?

Posted by Howard Rosenthal, EdD on 8/21/12 - 5:37 PM
A while back, when I opened my afternoon snail mail I received a card from Dr. Thomas W. Clawson, CEO of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). Dr. Clawson asked in his correspondence if I knew why the words counseling and counselor are spelled with a single "L" in the U.S., while in England and Canada the words are correctly spelled with two "L's” (i.e., counselling or counsellor). He then went on to answer his own question. The mystery, he...

Albert Ellis and the Traveling Road Show

Posted by Howard Rosenthal, EdD on 8/13/12 - 1:54 PM
As a master's level graduate student at the University of Missouri, St. Louis I was very fortunate to have Dr. Patricia Jakubowski as my advisor. Pat was not only a recognized behaviorist, but she was also a pioneer in the assertiveness training movement. Best of all, she had befriended a psychotherapist who was very close to Dr. Albert Ellis. That's right the Dr. Albert Ellis. At the time, it was virtually impossible for a student such as myself who didn't own...

The Joy of Small Miracles in Psychotherapy

Posted by Melissa Groman LCSW on 7/12/12 - 5:27 PM
I admit that I really do like to see breakthroughs now and again. I suppose they help me hang in better when all those feelings come through my door, whipping up my own like a wind gust on dry leaves...

The Miraculous (or not) Efficacy of Solution-Focused Therapy

Posted by John Sommers-Flanagan, PhD on 6/6/12 - 10:48 PM
For years solution-focused therapy approaches have been all the rage; the popularity of this distinctively brief therapy method is unarguable. Beginning in the 1980s, solution-focused therapy hit the mainstream and many mental health providers (and third-party payers) continue to sing the praises of its brevity and effectiveness. For example, in a 2009 book chapter Sara Smock claimed, “. . . there are numerous studies, several reviews of the research, and a few meta-analyses completed that showcase [solution-focused therapy’s] effectiveness.” Solution-focused counseling...

Psychotherapy: Terminal or Interminable

Posted by John Marzillier, PhD on 6/3/12 - 9:01 PM
“I was okay until I met you!” she said and slammed the door of my office as she left. I have never forgotten that moment. I was shocked, not just by the vehemence, her incandescent anger, but by my complete failure to anticipate her reaction. I thought I was a good judge of character and I had got this woman badly wrong. I had invited her husband to attend the previous session and, instead of supporting her jibes and scarcely...

First Impressions in Psychotherapy

Posted by John Marzillier, PhD on 3/11/12 - 12:52 PM
A woman wrote to me, having heard me on a radio programme. She had picked up my concern that not enough attention was being paid to the quality of the therapeutic relationship (as opposed to techniques) and wondered how her 25 year-old son, who was seeking a psychotherapist, could assess that in advance of therapy when neither of them knew any therapists where they lived. The obvious answer is that he should wait until he and the therapist meet. Therapy...

Techniques, Therapeutic Relationship and the Importance of the Body

Posted by John Marzillier, PhD on 12/22/11 - 11:59 AM
Throughout my career as a psychotherapist I struggled to find the right balance between using specific techniques and the importance of establishing a safe therapeutic relationship. Toward the end I veered more to the latter as I realised, rather belatedly I admit, that people sought therapy not necessarily to get better but often just to be heard. A safe haven and a sensitive, empathic and caring individual can be enough; specific techniques can get in the way. Of course this...
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