Real-Life Resources for Students & Early Career Professionals
In 1959, a Volvo engineer named Nils Bohlin saved a million lives with a single idea. Back then, cars used a two-point seat belt, which only crossed over the lap. This was better than nothing, but many passengers were still injured or killed during car accidents. Nils...read more
We often know our goal, but rarely what lies in our way. “There is a road, no simple highway” (Hunter, The Grateful Dead, 1970). At times, we may find that no matter what we try, we cannot seem to overcome the problem and reach our goal – our cabin on the hillside.
No matter how hard we wish, for some problems there is no simple highway – no quick-fix, deus-ex-machina, five-step solution, or magic wand.
These are the points in life when people most often turn to psychotherapy; they have tried everything and, to varying degrees, may have a fantasy that psychotherapists have some top-secret piece of advice. Especially therapists-in-training who are excited about helping, anxious to prove their competence, and unfamiliar with the uncertainty of the therapeutic process might find themselves colluding with this client’s wish for a magic solution in order to reduce both parties’ uncertainty.read more
From Cindy’s pressed lips, lined with wrinkles that extended noticeably beyond her years, came exasperated concerns of torturous anxiety.
Deeper than her polite solemnity, there seemed to be a well of sadness. This sadness pervaded her down-turned lips, slow gate, and slumped posture. Cindy’s helpless presentation pulled at my heart-strings; in particular as a young therapist-in-training, I wanted to help. I listened empathically, encouraged her strengths, taught skills such as deep-breathing, and offered advice.
However, like clockwork, every 15 minutes Cindy’s down-turned, sad lips would slowly become pursed with frustration. Pursed like a toddler refusing a big spoonful of syrupy cough-medicine. Shutting off, and shutting me out.read more
When the conquistadors came to the Americas, they were in search of wealth. They brought mass genocide, sickness, and they left countless communities in biological, psychological, political, social, and spiritual turmoil that has lasted for generations. With this...read more
Almost all developing therapists move through a phase of resisting ambiguity. The uncertain, variable nature of psychotherapy can be intimidating and leave you feeling like a novice with every new challenging case. I often wish for a map that would help me guide my clients on their paths from suffering to contentment.
But there’s a reason ambiguity is inherent in this work: Psychotherapy is relational in nature. It is part theory, education, and research, and part human connection. The latter is the source of ambiguity that can be difficult to move into as a beginning therapist, but it’s also central to effective therapy.
Common factors research highlights the importance of the therapeutic relationship above and beyond specific theoretical orientations . It provides empirical evidence that the therapist’s authentic human presence within the therapeutic relationship is a key factor of change.read more
As Covid-19 continues to hold the world in its grasp, and we as a whole are doing everything to close in on a “new normal,” it becomes apparent that some industries are incapable of working remotely. Fortunately, much of the mental health field is able to provide...read more
It seems that workplaces, schools, companies, and organizations are increasingly paying more attention to diversity and culture lately.
While this growing interest is encouraging, there are times when there is a significant lack of follow-through regarding the attention these issues receive. This is a disservice to everyone involved, but it comes at a special price in the realm of therapy.
I know of several graduate programs that pride themselves on their emphasis on diversity, yet have only a few course offerings specifically related to the topic and do not consistently revisit cultural issues throughout other courses.
With regard to psychology and therapy, the lack of consistent attention to cultural issues has the potential to create and maintain impasses that can affect the client’s progress.
As aspiring mental health professionals, we have the best of intentions in our work with clients. It is very important, however, to assess for cultural importance and issues of diversity in our first meetings with clients and then to be mindful of the ways we communicate with those clients moving forward.read more
When I was 16, I saw a psychologist who helped me find my way out of a depression that had developed as a result of my parents’ chaotic divorce. That experience had a profound impact on me; I hyper-focused on psychology as a career goal and never considered anything...read more
Suicide is a significant public health concern. Approximately 44,965 Americans die by suicide each year . This equates to approximately 123 suicides per day. Recent reports have indicated a 30% increase in suicide rates from 1999 to 2016 (10.5 per 100,000 to 13.4 per 100,000) . Additionally, we know that suicide does not only affect those with a diagnosed mental health condition. The CDC data notes that approximately half of those who died by suicide between 1999 and 2016 did not have a known mental health condition . Though a mental health condition can be a risk factor for suicide, other factors that can contribute to suicide include stress related to relationships, finances, jobs, housing, substance use, or physical health. The ubiquity of suicide and the increase in suicide rates over the last 17 years support the importance of community suicide education and consistent suicide assessment, intervention, and treatment among clinicians interacting with individuals at increased suicide risk.read more
“What is therapy?” Have you attempted to answer this inquiry? After working in the field for more than 15 years, I’ve discovered how some clients walk into my office with a mixture of beliefs regarding therapy. It’s possible that you, too, might need to clarify for...read more