Psychotherapy Blog


Rules for a Good Relationship

Posted by Dan Wile, PhD on 1/16/11 - 7:43 PM
1. Never go to bed angry.
Stay up all night yelling and screaming. After the way your partner behaved, he doesn’t deserve to sleep.

2. Don’t jump in to help when your partner is telling a joke
--unless, of course, you can tell it much better.

3. When fighting, take a time out.
That will give you a chance to come up with more devastating putdowns.

4. Don’t interrupt your partner.
You need to have all the facts in order to show her how totally wrong she is.

Suicide During the Holidays . . . Not So Much!

Posted by Howard Rosenthal, EdD on 12/12/10 - 12:19 AM
We've all heard it on a local or national television or radio station, "And when we return after the weather, we'll examine the tremendous increase in suicide during the winter holiday season."
Well that's great, except for one small thing: It doesn't exist. In fact, the direct opposite is true.  The suicide rate generally hits a peak during April and May.   The National Center for Health Statistics placed November and December as the months with the lowest daily rates of...

What if It's All Been a Big Fat Psychotherapeutic Lie?

Posted by Howard Rosenthal, EdD on 11/28/10 - 1:22 PM
In the early 90's I developed a classroom exercise to teach my students an important academic lesson. This is one of those experiential exercises where the professor feels holier- than- thou because he or sheknows the outcome in advance. 

First, I placed the students in groups of two's and asked one of the students to play the part of the helper while the other played the part of the client who tells a real or fictitious problem.Next I pulled...

Bids for Emotional Connection in Couples Therapy

Posted by Dan Wile, PhD on 11/15/10 - 12:03 PM
John Gottman’s concept, “bids for emotional connection,” is practically a complete theory of relationships in itself. Hearing the word “bids,” we picture partners reaching out to each other in a variety of ways. Gary Chapman, in his book, The Five Love Languages, lists five such ways: words of affirmation (“That situation was delicate and you really handled it beautifully”), touch (“How about a hug?”), quality time (“Let’s get a babysitter and make a reservation at Chez Alouette”), gifts (“This scarf...
Filed under: Couples Therapy

Methinks Jay Haley Hit the Bull's Eye

Posted by Howard Rosenthal, EdD on 11/7/10 - 11:39 AM
My client began her session with an interesting saga. In an attempt to improve her health she began each day by ingesting a nutritional drink that was loaded with nearly 100 superfoods. Since I personally take enough vitamin and mineral supplements a day to capsize a small battleship, I was all ears. Unfortunately, my client lamented that the supplement seemed counter-productive. That is to say, instead of having unlimited energy, she was nearly falling asleep at the wheel on the...

Working with the Unemotional in Emotionally Focused Therapy

Posted by Sue Johnson, EdD on 10/27/10 - 9:33 AM
It is pretty clear from the research that focuses on how change happens in therapy that emotional engagement is essential for significant change to occur. This is true in individual therapy (for example, research by Castonguay and by Beutler) and it is certainly true in couple therapy (research by EFT therapists like myself). So what happens in an intervention like Emotionally Focused Couple therapy when one person emphatically denies or avoids emotion? The Boy Code insists that men are at...
Filed under: Couples Therapy

Why a Therapist Should Care About a Client's Favorite Brand of Shampoo

Posted by Howard Rosenthal, EdD on 10/27/10 - 9:16 AM
When I was a youngster my father owned a company that manufactured shampoos and hair conditioners.  His bestseller was the original Rum & Egg Shampoo, a product he invented himself.  Now here’s where the story gets a little humorous (or perhaps not so humorous depending on your vantage point).  We would routinely receive correspondence from folks who just loved the Rum & Egg . . . heck, they thought it was the best darn shampoo on the face of the...

Receiving Gifts in Psychotherapy

What does your ethical code say about accepting gifts from clients? Is it ethical to do so? If you’re a psychologist, social worker, or marriage and family therapist, you’re probably not sure. That’s because your official code doesn’t address it. Surprisingly, there’s not a word about gifts in any of the codes pertaining to those disciplines. And yet, virtually every mental health practitioner has, or will, face a situation where some client offers a gift of some sort at some...
Filed under: Law & Ethics

Memories of Stonehenge, 1984: Conference of Women Family Therapists

Posted by Monica McGoldrick, LSCW on 10/11/10 - 10:06 AM
In the summer of 1981 I was traveling around Ireland with Lynn Hoffman who was at that time- and for a great many years- a tremendous supporter of the work of a numerous others in family therapy. She was at that time especially supportive of therapy teams in many different places in the world and was telling me a good deal about all the creative women she had run into in her travels. I began to think about the need...
Filed under: Family Therapy

It's the Psychiatric Meds, Stupid!

Posted by Howard Rosenthal, EdD on 10/10/10 - 10:13 PM
I was getting ready to close up shop and leave my practice for the day when my secretary announced that one of my clients was in the waiting room in a hysterical panic pleading for a session with me. This came as somewhat of a shock to me inasmuch as I felt this client was actually progressing quite well.  I told my secretary to send her right in.

The client was crying so hard I could barely understand her...
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