5 Steps to Changing the World

How exactly does change come about? As health and mental health practitioners, our calling is to help people change. But I’m thinking about change on a number of different levels. There are the changes we help our clients make, as well as personal changes we might hope to see in our own lives. I’m also thinking about change on a broader scale – change in our communities, change in our profession and, if I may be so bold, change in the world. Stay with me, and I’ll get back to you on what I mean by that. Recently, I decided…

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Why a Fresh Perspective Can Be As Precious As a Diamond

My good friend Judith, who is a psychologist in private practice, once told me, “If you can give me a new perspective on a patient’s problem, you’ve given me something of incredible value.” When you have a patient who’s just not making progress, it can be terribly frustrating for both practitioner and patient. But a new way of seeing a patient’s problem can unlock what once felt stagnant and stuck. In those discouraging moments, a fresh perspective can be as precious as the discovery of a rare, exquisite, glittering diamond. But how do we get those “a-ha” moments that can…

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On The Shoulders of Giants

Carl Rogers. Milton Erikson. Fritz Perls. Albert Ellis. Virginia Satir. These are some of the experts who shaped the interventions we use with patients today. And these experts stood on the shoulders of the giants who came before them. I’m thinking about people like Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Karen Horney, and Pierre Genet. The contributions made by all these pioneers have given us treatment approaches and strategies that help a large percentage of the people we see. But sadly, not all of them. So I’ve been wondering, “Where is the next generation of innovators who will help us…

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How Can We Expand the Circle of Healing?

Why does a particular treatment approach work with some patients but not with others? When I was in grad school, they used to say that in therapy, about a third of people get better, a third stay the same, and a third get worse. And from what I can tell, while we’ve improved some, we still aren’t helping as many people as we’d hope. But why is that? For just a moment, let’s imagine that this circle represents all of the people who are suffering: We help a large percentage of the people we see. Our treatments and approaches work…

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