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The Ones That Get Away

Posted by Catherine Ambrose, LCSW on 5/30/13 - 6:13 PM
On sunny days, the koi rise to the surface of the pond. Occasionally a particularly interesting one rises through the murk, and for a few moments it is clearly visible in all its mottled, sun-dappled glory, fins lazily stroking the water, eyes unblinkingly assessing my shadow before it propels itself back into the depths. That is the image that comes to mind when I think of Cassie. She contacted me initially through an email, sending me a clear, carefully composed assessment...

When Life Gets Messy, Don't Cut and Run!

Posted by Melissa Groman LCSW on 5/14/13 - 4:20 PM
It was not one of my better moments. It was a very busy time of year, getting ready for Passover, juggling my schedule with patients and the kids' spring break. It was one of those times where I stood at the intersection of my mothering and my profession and my head was spinning. On the top of the TTD list (things to do) was getting my five year old daughter a haircut. Routine errand as it seems, it did require a...

Verbal Ventilation: The highway to intimacy and the key process of therapy

Posted by Pete Walker, MFT on 5/14/13 - 12:21 PM
I was standing in the waiting room before my first session with a new therapist some twenty years ago, when I perused a cartoon that she had displayed on her bulletin board. In panel 1 of the wordless cartoon, a woman with a dark cloud over her head is talking to a friend who has a shining sun over hers. In panel 2, as the first woman gestures in a way that indicates complaining, the cloud covers her friend’s sun....

Gone in 60 Seconds: How to Handle a Mental Health Workshop Heckler

Posted by Howard Rosenthal, EdD on 5/9/13 - 11:31 AM
Like most of you, as a psychotherapist, book author, and educator, I am often asked to give workshops, and educational seminars. For many of us, sharing our unique expertise is a part of our professional mission. A while back I was contacted by a church group who wanted to give a series of eight different mental health workshops during the spring. Each of the workshops would be presented by a different expert. I was going to be the final presenter, number...
Filed under: Therapy Training

The Lying Artist

Posted by Catherine Ambrose, LCSW on 4/16/13 - 7:15 PM
Once upon a time and many years ago when I was a very new therapist, I worked with a client who had completely made herself up. A lot of things never added up with her. For starters, there was her presenting problem. Some days she would report a diet of jelly beans (not many) and carrots, and yet she was never low weight. But since clients with eating disorders are so often metabolically out of sync, it didn’t seem completely unbelievable...

The Therapist and the Fee: Why Everything Works out and Also Doesn’t

Posted by Simon Yisrael Feuerman, PsyD, LCSW on 4/9/13 - 1:39 PM
A close friend of mine is a wonderful therapist, a child of the 60s, a gifted man, large-souled, big-hearted and wise. His practice nourishes him and is saturated with life. He is committed to a worldview that eschews anything close to greed. “I won’t ask my patients for more, at least not if I can avoid it,” he says. “Often I will wait years to do it.” My friend’s position makes perfect sense to me. He is a thoughtful and principled...

Self-Care for Therapists

Posted by Elizabeth Sullivan, MFT on 4/9/13 - 12:20 PM
There’s a beleaguered mom on the couch in my office, and she’s feeling skeptical about my idea that she needs to “double-up on self-care.” She shakes her head—tosses it—and says, half-pitifully/half-defiantly: “Even if I had a few minutes alone, I don’t even know what to do to take care of myself. All I want is to sleep. Creativity is not even really a need right now—it’s like wishing for the moon. I just want to work, pick my kids up...

Psychoanalysis is Alive and Well

Posted by Kim Chernin, PhD on 3/28/13 - 11:55 AM
Although we have evolved many schools since Freud articulated psychoanalytic theory at the turn of the 20th Century, in almost all of them conspicuous analytic features remain. These are so familiar that for the most part they exercise their dominance without our being aware of them or their origins. We may think psychoanalysis has been discredited and that almost no one practices it any longer, but there are ways psychoanalytic theory is present in our listening and thinking because of...

Vanquishing the Inner Critic

Posted by Pete Walker, MFT on 3/19/13 - 4:37 PM
In my work with clients who were severely traumatized in childhood, I sometimes feel hopeless in helping them to address and deconstruct their inner critics. I feel daunted by the viciousness and incessancy of their self-attack. When a child is relentlessly rejected by contemptuous parents, she mimics them and learns to obsessively scorn herself. Like them, she focuses only on her defects and deficiencies; like them she radiates hate and scorn at herself. Her superego grows into an outsized critic as...

Through the Anger Looking Glass

Posted by John Sommers-Flanagan, PhD on 3/14/13 - 12:33 PM
On this past Sunday’s broadcast of “Weekend Edition” on National Public Radio, the focus was on the 50th anniversary of Betty Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique. In this book Friedan raged against the status of women in the 1960s. Although millions of people have read this feminist manifesto, it seems very few presently understand how anger in general and Friedan’s anger in particular could be a source of insight, motivation, and personal and social transformation. Anger is an emotional state that has...
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