Archives for Psychotherapy


Do You Have To Tell Your Therapist In Person That You’re Leaving?

Dedicated, skilled, and caring therapists will, together with you, discuss the right time to end therapy. Usually they'll discuss it with you in the first few sessions so you can be prepared for about how long therapy might take. They'll share with you possible treatment time-frames, and together you'll decide how to proceed.

Your therapist and you will schedule regular progress check-ins, every few sessions or even once per session, and assess how effective the therapy is for you. If it isn't after a reasonable period of time, a responsive therapist will try other approaches with you or might even suggest a different therapist.

But suppose that you decide your therapist isn't for you and you are planning to leave therapy, either to work with someone else or because you feel you no longer need therapy—what should your course of action be?
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Do You Really Need To Talk About Your Past?

Does therapy absolutely require you to "talk about your past?" Do you need to "go down that road?"

My answer, adapted from Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On, may surprise you.

Your therapist will, beginning from the very first session, evaluate how you cope with problems and challenges. Where your coping skills aren’t as strong as they might be, a good therapist will teach you how to strengthen them. I believe that generally, only then, should your therapist ask your permission to go ahead and explore important events in your past.
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The Summertime Blahs & Blues

For many of us, summer is the time we feel the most upbeat. For those with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), the long days packed with sunshine can offer blessed relief from depression and low energy.

Outdoor walks and other activities and a more relaxed approach to time are things both of us really look forward to and enjoy.

But for some, the summertime is emotionally difficult. The very things that make summer appealing to one person, make it seem negative to another. You can end up with the blahs or even the blues. Here are a few, plus some quick fixes:
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Therapists: Could A Medical Condition Be The Cause Of Your Client’s Mental Illness?

A well-trained and dedicated medical doctor will consider whether or not there is an emotional component possibly triggering a physical issue, such as stress in the case of fatigue. But often, those in the mental health field, especially psychotherapists, might not evaluate and rule out medical or other issues in the case of a client presenting with a mental illness.

In training sessions with interns and therapists-in-training, I emphasize the importance of doing a comprehensive evaluation before diagnosing—and doing therapy with—a client. I explain that when it comes to a mental health evaluation it is as vital for therapists to determine which factors are contributing to or causing mental illness, whether that mental illness is mild or more severe.

Yet many therapists jump right into talk therapy at the first or second visit; not everyone in private practice examines medical records or asks their clients to get blood-work done.
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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 and the Soul with Tanchum Burton

We're talking with psychotherapist Tanchum (Tani) Burton, who is also a rabbi and educator, about his approaches to therapy and spirituality.

Welcome. What do you believe is the interface between spirituality and psychotherapy, the spiritual nature of people and their emotional well-being?

It’s harder to define “spirituality” than to define “psychotherapy”; spirituality means different things to different people.

Psychotherapy, on the other hand, has certain basic defined elements, such as Rogers’ six conditions for therapeutic change--unconditional positive regard, empathic understanding, communication of that understanding, and the like.

When these are in place, when the human connection between people in a therapy room is one of acceptance, and of a prizing of the individual who has come for help, I think that the groundwork for spirituality has been laid.
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Getting Focused On Life, Feelings, Hopes: A Therapy Tool

In recent comments, Lorr, a reader asked to see an example of a personal perspective paper, a therapy tool that can benefit clients who struggle with articulating their experience.

Lorr asks:

I think the PPP is a great idea, I read about it in your book. Do you have a format or samples? I’m not sure how to get started.

How is the PPP different from a biography?

A biography, or autobiography, can tell the events in a person's life, without the inner experience. A PPP is more focused on what these events felt like and how they impacted the person's emotions and his own insights into his challenges.
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Activate These 5 Fundamentals For Conscious Change

Conscious Change

These are three examples of conscious change:
A golfer who works consistently on her swing despite not having a natural ability, may find herself able to hold her own in a tournament.
A college student who enters medical school may have no idea how to treat heart disease, but after studying hard in med school and working at his internship, he may be performing open-heart surgery on a regular basis.
A person with an explosive temper can go to an anger management class and learn techniques that help him relax and manage uncomfortable feelings in more productive ways.
Do You REALLY Believe You Can Change?

If people couldn't change, there would be no point to therapy, coaching or personal
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