General

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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Caregivers

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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Disorders

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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General

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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Bipolar

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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Depression

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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General

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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Addiction

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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ADHD and ADD

Creativity for Better Performance

A long term-patient told a fascinating story a couple of weeks ago which points to the power of creativity in strengthening critical thinking. The person’s identity is well-disguised so no confidentiality is breached.

For several years I have been treating a young man (we’ll refer to him as Collin) with psychostimulants for chronic ADD and psychotherapy to address his perfectionism. We’re also working on finding a work environment conducive to combining his entrepreneurial proclivities and his considerable technological savvy. (He taught himself to code a complicated computer program that would benefit his industry.)

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Bipolar

Talk Therapy is Strong Medicine

I’d just finished a family session one October morning when my emergency line rang. The faint voice of one of my long-term patients croaked, “Dr. Deitz. Please. I need help.”

It was Lauren, a 43-year old woman I had been treating for years with medication and psychotherapy. Stable for several years, she and I met monthly to monitor her medication and discuss her marriage and children. She rarely called between sessions.

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