Archive for the Therapist Corner Category

  • Therapists’ Normal Narcissism: Part I: The Self Psychology Developmental Line of Narcissism
    October 13th, 2015

    Many therapists have the point of view that they are only required to meet their clients’ needs for support, empathy, therapeutic skill; and to have no needs of their own in the therapeutic relationship.  But my experience is that a therapist that takes this viewpoint is apt to  experience burnout and to come to dislike […]

  • How Understanding Your Addictions, Even Socially Acceptable Ones, Can Benefit Your Addictive Clients
    August 25th, 2015

    The common definition of addiction is that it’s very damaging for the addicted person.  I suggest, however, that we expand the definition to include socially acceptable addictions, activities that have benefited the individual.  Sometimes  even the wider society, in important ways.   These behaviors can be classified as addictions, however,  if the person has compulsively kept indulging in them  even […]

  • Therapist Sadness, Guilt and Longing After Client Leaves Therapy
    July 16th, 2015

    If we therapists are any good at our jobs, we become very attached to many of our clients.  We feel pain when they’re experiencing shame,  sadness and fear.  We’re  pleased when they feel proud about  dealing effectively with a person or issue with which they’ve had difficulty .  We are joyful when they feel exhilarated about  some significant achievement in […]

  • Therapist Emotions When Clients Terminate
    July 15th, 2015

    I’ve seldom seen discussed in the literature how therapists deal with their feelings when clients terminate.  There are, of course, many types of termination.  One is where the therapy has been long-term and growthful and the therapist feels sadness, even grief, at the ending because the therapist has developed affection, even love toward the client.   In […]

  • “Lose Your Mind and Come to Your Senses”
    April 21st, 2015

    Back in the 60s and 70’s there was a great emphasis on living in the present.  Ram Das’s book Be Here Now was very popular.  And Fritz Perls, in his workshops for therapists at Esalen also stressed being present-centered as a way of cutting down  on the obsessive style that one found in therapists who were […]

  • The Importance of Understanding the Positive Effects of Addictions
    March 17th, 2015

    Most people see  addictions as negative because they often have dire results for the addicted person and others in his or her life.   Alcohol can result in poor health, premature  death for the alcoholic and injury or even death for people unlucky enough to be on the road while she or he  is driving.   Compulsive gambling practically always results in the loss of money, sometimes vast […]

  • It Isn’t the drugs that are addictive, it’s mostly the underlying psychological causes
    February 7th, 2015

    One of the most pernicious, costly and destructive beliefs in the US is the idea that certain substances, like drugs and alcohol, are addictive in themselves.  In other words, almost anyone, if they are exposed to marijuana or heroin or cocaine, are going to become addicted to it and not be able to curb their usage. […]

  • Understanding Addiction With the Gestalt Concept of the Cycle of Experience
    February 4th, 2015

    Michael Clemmons, a Gestalt therapist, has written a very  useful  description of the process the addicted person goes through in his book, Getting Beyond Sobriety:  Clinical approaches to long-term recovery.  It was published by the Gestalt Press in 1997 and updated in 2005.   Clemmons uses the Gestalt concept of the Cycle of Experience, developed by […]

  • Working With Hostile Introject: Part I, Its Genesis and Function
    December 2nd, 2014

    Perhaps the most difficulty clients in psychotherapy have is learning to deal effectively with the  internal sub-self that is critical and hostile toward themselves. .Many  psychological theorists have described  it.   Freud called it the super-ego, Eric Berne the Critical Parent, Friz Perls  the Topdog.  Where it comes from:  The critical internal parent stems from […]

  • Working With Emotion in Psychotherapy (Continued)
    September 22nd, 2014

    Part III:  Helping clients learn how to use their emotions:  The final step is helping clients learn how to use their emotions skillfully and appropriately in their everyday lives.  Emotions are always experienced in a particular context and clients have to learn appropriate ways to deal with emotion within the context in which it arises. […]