On the Couch Articles

The Pocket Therapist: Mental Health To Go!

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

The Pocket Therapist: Mental Health To Go!Imagine a GPS navigational system that said something like this: “In approximately 30 minutes, you will run into your old boss, who will want to make you feel like a worthless pile of feces. Erect personal boundaries immediately…. I said, Get in your bubble, Woman … Are you listening? She’s approaching you on your left. Lock up all childhood tapes now (the ones that convinced you that were weak, ugly, and pathetic) and DO NOT, I said DO NOT play them for her. Remember, their messages are no longer valid. Proceed carefully. You will speak to her in approximately 3, no 2, no 1 second.”

Me? I would like one of those.

So I made one. In book form.

Google and Facebook, Therapists and Clients

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Google and Facebook, Therapists and ClientsWith more and more therapists embracing social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the question arises — where do you draw the line in terms of boundaries with your patients? Where does a patient’s and therapist’s privacy end or begin on such sites? How do patients and therapists navigate this brave new world of connectedness and “friending”?

Dana Scarton over at The Washington Post has the insightful article addressing this issue by talking to a number of therapists across the country. These therapists have had to deal with their own challenges with social networking sites and “researching” people online once it was brought into psychotherapy by a client or a client’s actions.

Professional associations haven’t addressed this kind of technology in their ethical guidelines, but common sense rules the day. As I just gave a presentation to therapists on this very topic, here’s the upshot of what I had to say about this from a professional’s point of view …

Why Psychologists Shouldn’t Prescribe

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Why Psychologists Shouldn't PrescribeBeware psychiatrists bearing gifts.

If psychology wants to remain a science based upon the understanding of human behavior — both normal and abnormal — and helping those with the “abnormal” components, it would do well to avoid going down the road of prescription privileges. But perhaps it’s already too late.

We first noted this disturbing trend in 2006, how they were shot down 9 out of 9 times trying to gain prescription privileges in 2007, and why prescription privileges for psychologists will eventually drive psychiatrists out of a job. We also noted that one of the programs setup to help psychologists get prescription training wasn’t a “college” at all.

The fundamental problem with psychologists gaining prescription privileges is the inevitable decline over time in the use of psychotherapy by those same psychologists. This is precisely what happened to psychiatry — they went from the psychotherapy providers of choice, to the medication prescribers of choice. Now it’s hard to find a psychiatrist that even offers psychotherapy.

Couch Surfing: When a Therapist Says It Isn’t a Good Fit

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Couch Surfing: When a Therapist Says it Isn't a Good FitMost clients know what it feels like when they meet with a therapist and it isn’t a good fit. Maybe you leave the initial session feeling misunderstood or knowing that the therapist’s personality or style isn’t a good match for you. Maybe the therapist reminds you of someone in your life for whom you have negative feelings. Or maybe you can’t stand her office or the location, or you recognize that the fee she charges is more than you can reasonably afford.

But what about when you think it’s a good fit and the therapist doesn’t? This can be uncomfortable — particularly if it doesn’t match your perception of the connection you made. When a therapist tells you that she or he doesn’t think it’s a good fit or she doesn’t believe she is the best person to help you, this can understandably be a little confusing. Maybe it even feels like a rejection.

There are multiple reasons why a therapist may not believe it is a good match, and unfortunately, we often don’t offer detailed explanations to clients. Sometimes there are good reasons for being less specific about it.

Meeting With My First Therapy Client

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Meeting With My First Therapy ClientI just finished a 40-day winter break from graduate school. After a …

Psychotherapy: How Much is Enough?

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Psychotherapy: How Much is Enough? We recently posed a question to the New Mexico Psychological Association listserve …

5 Things Not to Worry About in Therapy

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

5 Things Not to Worry About in TherapyPsychotherapy is full of both extraordinary potential benefits and some …

6 Ways to Manage Anxiety: Holiday Stress Tips

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
holiday stress management.jpeg

If you are like me, you’re going to need some tips to manage your holiday stress. …

What’s Wrong with Positive Thinking?

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

What's Wrong with Positive Thinking?I absolutely love this post that Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., wrote specifically for Beyond Blue! …

Can Therapy Really Change Your Brain?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Can Therapy Really Change Your Brain?I feel fortunate to be a psychotherapist in …

Social Attachment, Motherhood, and Mental Illness

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

little toesIn early 2010, PBS will broadcast a 3-part series on emotions called “The Emotional Life,” exploring ways …

Am I Depressed or Just Deep?

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

boat on the water
I spent my adolescence and teenage years obsessing about this question: Am I depressed or just …

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