Mindful Uncertainty: What is Psychotherapy?

… in terms of technique: He should simply listen, and not bother about whether he is keeping anything in mind.

Anyone who hopes to learn the noble game of chess from books will soon discover that only the openings and end-games admit of an exhaustive systematic presentation and that the infinite variety of moves which develop after the opening defy any such description.…The rules which can be laid down for the practice of psycho-analytic treatment are subject to similar limitations. Sigmund Freud…

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#Freud, #Psychotherapy, #Work

Medicine Is An Art – Not Just A Science

We are all the same and yet we are all different. The art of medicine, yes – medicine is an art as much as a science – dictates the need for individualization of care. Every person with hypertension has elevated blood pressure and every person with diabetes has high blood sugar, but approaching every ……

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#Addiction, #Psychotherapy, #Treatment, #Work

The Nature of “Healing”

Ideas about the nature of “healing” are regularly batted around the culture of psychotherapy. The word ”transformation” also comes up, which feels sympathetic with a depth psychological perspective, but can also sound somewhat grand and mysterious, although not in the following poem by Stephen Dunn. I like how Dunn highlights the resistance to change that is a regular part of psychotherapy, along with the felt sense of being on the other side, after the transformation, when we can see we have “healed.” …

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#Healing, #Psychotherapy

The Secrets in Our Silences

I began reading the book History Beyond Trauma by Françoise Davoine and Jean-Max Gaudillière during a turbulent time in my life — when deaths, losses, and uncertainties continually piled up. Despite my best efforts to remain optimistic and push forward with life as planned, traumatic stress was threatening to be more than a subject I researched or a condition I treated….

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#DualRelationships, #MentalHealth, #Psychotherapy, #HealingTrauma

Ordinary Empathy- Is It Truly Ordinary?

“A person’s behavior goes right, if it doesn’t go wrong in one of the ways it can go wrong.” Peter Ossorio, Place, 1998.

Behavior going right requires no explanation. Successful behavior is ordinary. Empathy is ordinary in the same way.

Empathy is a fundamental feature of emotional competence. ……

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#Empathy, #Ethics, #Psychotherapy, #SocialWork

On Getting Unstuck: Empathy and Improvisation in Psychotherapy

Therapy can feel stuck, stymied and aimless, but fits and starts may be a necessary aspect of transformative therapeutic processes. Of course, this is because problems outside of therapy show up in the consulting room.

Therapy feels stuck when the domains of choice are too restricted or rigid, when ……

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#Empathy, #Improvisation, #Psychotherapy

Objectivity, Subjectivity and the Gospel Truth

“Truth, justice and the American way” Superman’s Creed
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator…” Thomas Jefferson
“… For in psychology, there are experimental methods and conceptual confusion.” Ludwig Wittgenstein
“You c ……

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#Psychology, #Psychotherapy

What Are the Conceptual Problems in Psychology and Psychoanalysis?

“The confusion and barrenness of psychology is not to be explained by calling it a young science….For in psychology there are experimental methods and conceptual confusion….The existence of experimental methods make us think we have the means of solving the problems which trouble us; though problem ……

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#Audio, #Descriptive, #Neuroscience, #Psychoanalysis, #Psychotherapy

Essentials of Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice

For many years, I have taught “Introduction to Psychoanalysis” from the vantage point of Descriptive Psychology. The policy I try to follow is to use ordinary language and to avoid concepts and theory that do not actually inform my day-to-day practice. Each semester, given input from my students, this is ……

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#Psychology, #Psychotherapy, #Therapy