Psychotherapy Blog

 

A Little Girl in a Dark Corner

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 11/17/15 - 12:18 PM
Some mornings Nora would wake up, and the little girl would be there. She would always be curled up in the darkest corner of the room, concealed behind the curtains. Her un-natural white skin, her bare feet, and a part of her burgundy-red dress would be clearly visible in the early morning light. She looked wicked, and the very fact of her presence in the room seemed uncanny. But at the same time, Nora felt a compelling desire, almost a necessity,...

Hide-and-Seek in Online Therapy

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 9/22/15 - 2:42 PM
I thought we had our session today… My client Jane was right, I had just missed the therapy session we had booked. It had not happened to me before, and I felt guilty. Online therapists know how the virtual and body-less nature of the encounter makes it easier to fail each other, be it for the client, or for the therapist. The precious relational tissue seems even more fragile. I always attend to mending these ruptures as well as I can, but...

Statistics Don't Lie...Except When They Do

Posted by Howard Rosenthal, EdD on 9/22/15 - 2:27 PM
As I was working on my doctorate I became interested in home stereo amplifiers. Armed with a fellow doctorate student who possessed infinite knowledge in this area I began the search for the perfect amplifier. My interest rapidly escalated into what could arguably have been diagnosed as a full-blown obsession. I visited stereo stores near and far. I read an endless stream of articles in the stereo magazines. I spoke with salesmen, saleswomen, and manufacturer's representatives. I attended stereo conventions. But...

Birthplace

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 6/23/15 - 2:56 PM
There are places I’ll remember all my life. —I was born in a small Russian town, a very cold and dirty place. This was one of the first things Anna shared about herself in a long introductory email reaching out to me for online psychotherapy. In this description of her native town, I could sense her sad childhood: a lack of emotional warmth and possibly some neglect. The way people describe their early surroundings usually tells something significant about their life story. We developed early...

Je T'aime...Me Neither

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 5/5/15 - 7:27 PM
This couple therapy session was the last chance before Anna and Guy’s upcoming wedding in Paris. They had reached out to me for a premarital counselling session via Skype, knowing that I was working with mixed couples. Their situation, as Anna exposed it to me in her short email, needed to be addressed with some urgency: they were due to get married in the town hall of Guy’s native Paris within two weeks, and Anna still had serious doubts about her...

Losing the Couch: Finding the "Sacred Place" in Online Therapy

Posted by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire on 4/28/15 - 7:29 PM
I clearly remember my very first visit to my British psychotherapist. She used to receive her patients in her conservatory. Her dogs sometimes got impatient and produced considerable clatter, which I could clearly hear from inside the house. The front door would be unlocked. Clients just had to push the gate to get through an unkempt garden into the peculiar therapy room. She would be already comfortably sitting there in the same old chair, and a flowery cup of tea...

Creative Writing as Psychotherapy

Posted by Bridget Holding, MA on 3/5/15 - 1:15 PM
“An interesting fusion.” That’s what my project Wild Words was once called by a fellow psychotherapist, and yes, he was looking down his nose at me. But I’ve discovered a huge demand for the fusion of body-based, nature-based, and narrative therapy, via which I help people to find creative flow in their lives. Here’s one recent example. A stooped 17 year-old man came to me. He had a mop of black hair and smelled of spirits. There were tensions in the...

Counseling Kids: When a Cigar Is Just a Cigar

Posted by Howard Rosenthal, EdD on 7/22/14 - 5:23 PM
Nine year old Malcolm was one of the fortunate clients. Because his family had a very modest income a local counseling center with a sliding fee scale was seeing Malcolm on a pro bono basis. Better yet, the agency was providing free transportation for him on a school bus. His emotional difficulties began two years ago after his parents got a divorce. He was now living with his natural father and his new step-mother. Treatment seemed to be working well. Then...

The No-Fee Session

Posted by Simon Yisrael Feuerman, PsyD, LCSW on 5/20/14 - 11:15 PM
I live in a neighborhood in New Jersey where people say hello to one another in the street even if they don’t know each other well. One man stood out for me in the many years I am living here: He doesn’t say hello even though he sees me several times a week. He doesn’t even bother to nod his head. I could never understand what I had done to him, but I just felt as if he hated me. One...

I'm Rubber, You're Glue

Posted by Catherine Ambrose, LCSW on 5/8/14 - 5:11 PM
“I’m rubber, you’re glue, what bounces off me sticks to you.” Recently one of my colleagues taught me this childhood taunt and response to name calling. It is one of the simplest and most accurate descriptions of projective identification that I have ever heard and makes me think of my client Nancy. Nancy and I occupy different ends of the political spectrum. It is interesting to me that I can work comfortably with clients who are different from me in very...
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