Archives for Psychotherapy

Books

Complaining About Complaining

Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."

I picked up The Squeaky Wheel: Complaining the Right Way To Get Results, Improve Your Relationships, Enhance Self-Esteem, by psychologist Guy Winch, in hopes of learning something about the chronic complainers in my life.

But the book taught me as much about myself as others.

Despite the many years that have passed since, I still wince...
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Communication

A Dark Side of Therapists Online

Several years ago, I got into an online squabble with a friend who was in grad school, getting her MSW for a future career as a counselor.

The whole thing unfolded in the comments section of my blog and concluded (along with the friendship) when she spluttered that I am “…WEAK! And I MOCK weak people!”

Wow, I thought. Your future clients are in for a treat.

This incident came to mind when a Twitter buddy sent...
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Cognition

World Mental Health Day: A Cognitive Therapy Toolbox

I’ve been a science project since I was a troubled teen sitting across from my first shrink.

I’ve warmed a lot of therapists' office chairs since then, and experimented with various strategies at different times. I've journaled and created rituals and signed contracts. I talked to the empty chair and my inner child. I've projected and rejected and introspected. It's been a lifeline and hobby.

My therapists all dabbled in an array of theories and...
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Cognition

Remember “False Memories”?

Comments on my last post about therapy revealed some really lousy therapy experiences. Shocking even. And sad. For all my blind faith in therapy, I’m not blind to the fact that there are crappy therapists out there—some merely ineffectual, some downright dangerous.

Thinking about this brought me back to the the 1990s, when bad therapy was a big topic of discussion surrounding recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse.

Recovered memories are previously repressed memories of...
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Communication

Therapy Dropouts: What We Don’t Know, Why We Should

In the course of looking for research to back up my blind faith in psychotherapy, I came across all sorts of interesting this and that, not all of which put the field of psychotherapy in the best light.

For example, an article titled Negative Effects from Psychological Treatment: A Perspective addresses the fact that while positive effects of therapy have been thoroughly studied:
The study of negative effects—whether due to techniques, client variables,...
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Friends

Worshiping at the Shrine of a Really Good Shrink

I put myself into psychotherapy for the first time when I was a teenager, and have returned at various times over the years when I’ve been overwhelmed by whatever.

But when a friend compared my attitude about therapy to a fundamentalist’s attitude towards religion—implying that it is unyielding and intolerant of questioning—my feelings were hurt.

Eventually, though, I had to concede that she had a point.

My belief in therapy, as long as the therapist is worth a...
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Depression

The Paper-Clip Game: Sad People in Happy Places

You know that old technique for measuring creativity, where you’re supposed to come up with as many uses for a paper clip as you can?

I like to play a version of that game when I see interesting research. I've been puzzling over  the new research about how the happiest places in the United States have the highest suicide rates.

Curious, eh?

The researchers speculate that this is because we all tend to compare...
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Books

Getting It Right: A Research Tool For Writers

I’ve never read Pat Conroy’s novel Prince of Tides nor seen the movie because I find the premise of a relationship between therapist and client objectionable, both ethically and as a plot point. It's wrong in so many ways, and I simply could not suspend disbelief.

Not that it hurt Conroy on the marketplace; the book and movie were smash hits. Nobody cared or they just didn't know. There’s a lot about psychology—both...
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