capturing the beautiful calamity of healing in therapy

Tag: psychotherapy

The S.T.U.C.K Series: Part One

I know what I need to do, but I just can’t do it. Taylor entered therapy knowing exactly what was wrong with him and exactly how to cope with it. He could outline his defense mechanisms, as if he had recited a psychology textbook, and explain his […]

When the Healing Hurts

When the Healing Hurts

Years ago, after several continuous no-shows and the dreaded feeling I had that she wasn’t coming back, one of my clients walked in, nervously admitting her apprehension about therapy. After I left,  I felt worse, she said. I can’t go through with this if it’s going to make me feel worse […]

Happiness & Brushing Your Teeth

What are your goals for therapy? Client shrugs. Looks down at the ground, uncertain with herself, uncertain with everything around her, nervous and clearly uncomfortable in her own skin. I don’t know. I just want to be happy.  Every therapist in every office has heard this […]

The Client with “The Terrible Condition”

Alice sobbed the entire first session. They were guttural and visceral sobs, the kind where nobody speaks, because nobody knows how, and the language exchanged is colored with misery and utter hopelessness. Fifty minutes passed with hardly a word, but she stated she would see […]

How To Charge Your Emotional Batteries

Nothing runs forever without maintenance, and we are no different. Just like the cell phones so many of us are hooked to, we frequently run ourselves to “low battery,” and this existence can drain our happiness, affect our physical functioning, and harm our relationships. Just […]

We must cherish our future selves.

Impulsive. It’s a dynamic force found in all walks of human life. We see it in the shopper who cannot resist a new handbag to reward herself for a “terrible day at work”, the individual who hooks up with a stranger to briefly escape his […]

Why I Cannot Tell You How to Live Your Life

Well, what do YOU think I should do? It’s a question most well-intentioned clients ask at one point or another, during an especially frustrating, gridlocked situation. It feels like an appropriate and even harmless question. After all, aren’t you just trying to make the right […]

Validation: The Glue of Any Relationship

If I could teach a lesson to everyone in the world, if someone gave me the task of teaching all my clients JUST ONE THING to improve their social relationships and happiness with others, it would be the art of validation. Validation is the foundation […]

What if you don’t want to climb the ladder?

It is five in the afternoon, and I am sweating under a blistering California sun watching college graduates happily receive their diplomas. My brother is among the sea of pointy, tasseled hats, and I’m beaming with pride. He’s done good work- flipping through pages of textbooks, […]

Go make LIFE happen!

Although it’s definitely not exclusive to psychotherapy, I am a huge fan of the ever-popular bucket lists. In fact, I love these lists so much that I regularly update my own and incorporate the technique into my therapy groups and individual sessions. I value having […]