Rebecca, a new client in my psychotherapy practice, was a recent arrival to New York thanks to a company transfer. She was eager to begin dating and so indicated an intention to join several internet dating services to "get the ball rolling" on her social and romantic life in her new city. She also vowed to join two organizations as additional ways of meeting new people…especially men. After several sessions, I noticed that Rebecca had done nothing along these lines, despite her declared eagerness to do everything she said she would and more.
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The terms ego-syntonic and ego-dystonic are part of my standard thinking vocabulary as a psychotherapist. I find them extremely useful in my work when evaluating a client for treatment and I have introduced these terms to clients on many occasions as one way of helping them to better understand themselves.
Throughout my many years of providing counseling and psychotherapy to clients, I have had the opportunity to work with many couples that have sought help for a variety of reasons and needs. Like any therapist who sees couples, the hope is always that both the timing of their seeking help and the nature of their presenting problems affords an opportunity for meaningful work and significant benefit.
You might be surprised to learn that I think "yet" is one of the most important and powerful words in the English language. Its presence or absence from many conversations with clients in my practice is extremely revealing. I use the word "yet" in many sessions when I hear indications of pessimism, which, for some, comes much too easily about too many things.
George, a 55 year old business executive, divorced for two years, has been dating two women he met on an Internet matchmaking service. The two new associations were in varying stages of development and George was enjoying the experience of "comparison shopping" before deciding which one of the two would, hopefully, become his "one and only" and, perhaps, eventually, his second wife.
One of the interesting things I have observed in my counseling and psychotherapy practice is the way in which some people justify or validate their fears and, therefore, defeat their efforts to make some of the changes they entered therapy to achieve.
The following is an example of an exchange between two people -frequently a married couple in a counseling session – that often leads to a troubled stalemate or, worse, intensified frustration and greater conflict.
One of the things I have learned in the course of my years providing counseling and psychotherapy is the importance of listening. Some believe ‘just listening’ to be too passive and, therefore, perhaps, not sufficiently helpful. Others appreciate the value and helpfulness of simply having an opportunity to talk about something and feel well heard and understood by a good listener.
Brian lost 52 pounds during his 18-week participation in a popular weight loss program and felt good about himself for the first time in his lifelong struggle with overweight.
If criticism were an object, some people would think of it as a dagger, a spear, or a two by four aimed at the head. Too few think of it as a gift that can be useful and lead to beneficial long-term change.