5 Surprising Things We Can Learn About Psychotherapy from Howard Stern

I like psychotherapy. I also like Howard Stern. Although his radio show is a shell of what it used to be -- airing only 3 days a week and irregularly at that -- Stern remains a self-aggrandizing enigma.

On one hand, he's infamous for his rowdy humor, endless fascination with his bowel movements, and juvenile bits, especially earlier in his career. But on the other, as he's grown older (he's now 61), he's also matured and slowed down a bit. He has been a regular user of transcendental meditation (TM), long before mindfulness became the latest fad. And he's also been a loyal psychotherapy-goer for decades, attending sessions a mere three times a week (from a high of four).

But whenever Stern talks about psychotherapy on his radio show, I tense up. Because while well-meaning, he inevitably says things about psychotherapy that are probably only true in his world... but not for the rest of us.

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6 Surprising Myths of Inpatient Residential Rehab

We've all seen the commercials: gentle, soothing music playing over a reassuring voice that tells you that this specific rehab center is going to change your life. Because, after all, it's changed his.

Inpatient rehab centers offer treatment for people with substance abuse or alcohol disorders. Most are intensive, requiring patients to live in their facility 24 hours a day for 30 days. And it is a gold mine for those who run such addiction recovery centers.

The Carlat Report: Addiction Treatment's July/August 2015 issue is devoted to the topic of understanding treatment for alcoholism and substance abuse. It also offers an eye-opening interview with the former director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Here we run down some of the myths we gleaned from the issue about residential rehab.

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What to Do When Your Partner Doesn’t Want to Attend Couples Counseling

When your partner doesn’t want to go to couples therapy, you might feel frustrated. You might feel helpless and powerless and believe there’s nothing you can do.

But there are helpful actions you can take. First, it’s important to understand your partner’s reservations. Psychotherapist Meredith Janson, MA, LPC, suggested asking your partner if they’d be willing to share their concerns. If they are, give them your undivided attention, and “mirror” or summarize what they’ve said. If you disagree with their concerns, try your best to empathize and validate them anyway, said Janson, who works with couples in Washington, D.C., and is certified in Imago Relationship Therapy.
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Children and Teens

How Does Parents’ Technology Use Affect Children?

“When my mom and dad are on their phones they act like I don’t exist. It makes me sad. I call and call their names and sometimes they don’t even look up or act like they hear me.”

A child client of mine, 6 years old, told me this during our last session together. This child is sensitive, intuitive, and brilliant. I wondered if a child who was less vulnerable to feeling abandoned would react the same way if his or her parents were on their phones.

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10 Signs You Need a New Therapist

If you are in counseling now or consider seeking a therapist in the future, it is important to choose a counselor who is the right fit for you. I am always saddened to hear of an individual or couple giving up on counseling after one bad experience. Therapists are each unique in their specific approaches and you deserve one who is qualified to meet your needs.

Here are a few signs that you may need a new therapist.
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3 DBT Skills Everyone Can Benefit From

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a highly effective type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), originally created to treat borderline personality disorder. Today, it’s used to treat a variety of conditions, such as bipolar disorder, eating disorders and depression. DBT teaches clients four sets of behavioral skills: mindfulness; distress tolerance; interpersonal effectiveness; and emotion regulation.

But, whether you have a mental illness or not, you can absolutely benefit from learning these skills and incorporating them into your life.
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Focusing: A Path Toward Befriending Feelings

During the 1960’s, the psychologist and philosopher Eugene Gendlin asked a simple question: why do some people make progress in psychotherapy, while others don't -- and what is happening within those individuals who are benefiting from therapy?

After analyzing hundreds of taped therapy sessions, Gendlin and his team discovered that they could accurately predict after one or two sessions whether or not therapy would be successful. Surprisingly, positive outcomes were not linked to the orientation of the therapist, but rather to what these clients were doing within themselves.

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Destigmatizing Dependence in Therapy

When I wrote my first article years ago about the power of psychotherapy, I was stunned by the reaction. Seventy-five percent was positive, but a very vocal minority attacked me viciously for either not having cured the patient or promoting a pathological dependence. They reasoned that had the patient received proper therapy she would not have needed anyone to solve her problems.

I was treating a woman for bipolar disorder with mood-stabilizing medication and monthly to bi-monthly psychotherapy. Her cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist referred her because she couldn’t get out of bed. She didn’t want to need medication.
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What Mild Depression Really Is and What Can Help

We often think that mild depression isn’t that serious and doesn’t require treatment. It is mild, after all. People also confuse mild depression with “subclinical” depression.* That is, they assume it’s not full-blown, true-blue depression. They might assume it doesn’t meet diagnostic criteria for the illness (the criteria laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which clinicians use to diagnose disorders.)

However, in actuality, a person with mild depression does meet criteria for a major depressive episode. They do have depression. But their symptoms are mild in intensity and impairment, said Melanie A. Greenberg, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in Marin County, Calif., who specializes in managing mood, stress and relationships.

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5 Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You

The therapist-client relationship is unique. Therapists are prohibited from sharing their personal information with clients due to a strict code of ethics. But as a therapist, I can't help but share some secrets with you.

What is in our hearts is more important than what is in our brains.
The theories we specialize in are all wonderful, but research has proven time and time again that what influences how much you benefit from therapy is the quality of the relationship with your therapist. If you don’t feel understood and heard by your therapist, if you don’t think they are being honest enough with you and pushing you hard, if you don’t feel like you have an amazing connection with them, find a new therapist. The latest clinical techniques and tips that we have mastered are secondary to the bond and trust that we can help create with you in the therapy session.
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3 Reasons Why Therapy Isn’t Helping Your Child

It's difficult for parents to get their children into therapy. After all, few children volunteer to be in therapy, and are frequently delivered to therapists' offices like indignant hostages.

After much strain and stress, you may luck out, and your child may agree to see a therapist. But what do you do if after weeks or months of therapy, you see no change in his or her behavior?

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