Archives for interviews


Mindfulness–Reach Beyond Your Turbulent Mind

We're continuing our discussion of the intersection of spirituality and therapy with psychotherapist Tanchum (Tani) Burton. Tani is a rabbi and educator whose approaches to therapy and spirituality are relevant for an increasing number of clients and students.

Welcome back, Tani. You are a student of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, whose powerful teachings we have frequently blogged about on the Therapy Soup blog. Can you tell us about the (free) classes you are currently teaching at called The Chassidic Law of Attraction?

I’m giving a course on one of Rebbe Nachman’s famous stories, known in English as “the Sophisticate and the Simpleton."

This story shows us a path towards—and away from—true wealth, joy and growth in the analogy of the main characters, who are simple and complicated, satisfied and restless, joyous and miserable respectively.

The challenge and opportunity for us is that we all have elements of both characters, and, when we can recognize which one is operating, we can readjust and reboot our lives for the better.
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Therapy For Jewish Children With Special Needs

One of the most important, yet often overlooked aspects of getting therapy is knowing when and how to advocate for yourself or your loved one, a topic we've blogged about many times at Therapy Soup.

Now, just in time for Hanukkah, we interviewed Zlaty Kahan, the founder of, a Jewish advocacy and education site that helps parents with special- needs children get the therapy their child needs.

What are the issues that affect the religious Jewish population with special needs in contrast to issues that affect other populations?

The process of getting services for a child with special needs is pretty much seamless and straightforward—if your child attends public school. If the parent or teacher think it's necessary, the evaluation takes place in school. Then, the child receives the recommended services. From evaluation to individualized services, everything is done in the school.

However, many Jewish children (especially but not only those from orthodox communities)  attend private religious schools. These parents and kids come from across the entire socio-economic spectrum, and many parents work very hard to give their children education that reflects their beliefs and values. For these families, tax payer funded programs that are available in public schools, including special needs services, are simply non-existent or inadequate. 
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The Parent-Child Dance: Understanding (And Improving) Your Child’s Problem Behavior

I’m really excited to tell you about The Parent-Child Dance: A Guide to Help You Understand and Shape Your Child’s Behavior, because I know that the author is making a difference in the lives of so many parents and kids. The Parent-Child Dance is written by award-winning pediatric behavioral specialist, Miriam Manela, OTR/L, with the help of me, C.R. Zwolinski from Therapy Soup.

For over a decade, Miriam Manela has been working with children and parents, educators, and therapists, addressing behavioral, emotional, social, learning, physical and other challenges.  During her workshops for professionals, students and educators, Miriam helps the participants understand how to help children regulate themselves and become better able to manage their emotions, connect with others, and learn. She also works closely with pediatric professionals in a variety of professions including mental health therapy professionals, nutritionists, and others.

Richard and I asked Miriam to explain why she wrote The Parent-Child Dance.

Welcome to PsychCentral and Therapy Soup, Miriam. Why did you decide to write the Parent-Child Dance?


I had a client, one of many who had impulsive behavior, a boy I’ll call Terry. Terry would take his brothers’ and sisters’ homework, and crumple it up and rip it, he’d hurt a child on the playground, or he’d a chew his collars and sleeves and rip holes in his clothes. But though he had a hard time controlling his impulses. Terry always regretted his actions later.

He also had a hard time sitting still, especially in the classroom. Both his mom and dad were at their wits’ end. It felt to Terry’s father that he was talking to a wall.
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Helping Children’s Emotions & Behavior With OT Miriam Manela

Pediatric occupational therapist Miriam Manela specializes in helping children and their families with behavioral issues. Occupational therapy may be utilized as part of a multi-disciplinary treatment plan or on its own to help with a broad spectrum of behavioral, emotional, and mental health-related issues.

Welcome, Miriam.

You work with many children with emotional and behavioral issues. The issue we’d like to start with, one that seems to be on the rise in children, is anxiety.

From the perspective of occupational therapy, is there a difference between anxiety in adults and children?

Yes, in adults you feel that anxious energy and you know that it’s not what adults should feel like. In children, you feel that anxious energy, and you may think, “Oh, this is just “kid” energy—they’re just being kids.”

So, it’s not always so easy to diagnose anxiety. Obviously a mental health professional will use specific diagnositic criteria.

From my perspective as an OT, behaviors are a manifestation of whatever is going on in the child’s whole system, not just his mind or emotions. If a child is biting an object or his nails, a psychotherapist might see this as a symptom of anxiety. I would evaluate the child differently than a psychologist would.
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Intense Anger And Radical Acceptance: Help For Borderline Traits

We're continuing our discussion about borderline personality traits with author Debbie Corso of DBT Path.

In these posts, Debbie will give us insight into self-sabotaging behaviors as well as practical skills that can help us move forward.

Today we're discussing the trait of anger.

Anger is an interesting symptom.  It often shows up in reaction to the frustration of feeling blocked from accomplishing goals.

Before DBT, a person with this trait may have difficulty even identifying this...
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Emotional Instability: Help For Borderline Traits

We're continuing our discussion about borderline personality traits with author Debbie Corso of DBT Path. I

In these posts, Debbie will give us insight into self-sabotaging behaviors as well as practical skills that can help us move forward.

Today we're discussing the trait of emotional instability.

This is one of the primary symptoms I suffered from and quite common.

Being extremely emotionally sensitive, and not having tools to manage the intense effect which even minor events can have on our emotions, results in emotional instability. This may include mood swings, impulsiveness, and often, an inability to follow through on things such as goals, school, and work.

People with this trait feel like they're at the mercy of their emotions.
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