Changing Memory

Achieving Profound Change with Coherence Therapy

Psychotherapists can help us make breakthroughs in dealing with depression, but often the insights gained during a session don’t lead to permanent change. Why is it that we can’t always put the new insight into daily use and sometimes forget it as soon as we’re out of the room? That’s the problem that a new approach, called coherence therapy, tries to solve. Like the work that led to focusing oriented [...] Read the rest»

Autumn Leaf on Snow

How Do We Change in Psychotherapy?

The first session I ever had with a psychiatrist proved to me that I could achieve a real change in psychotherapy. While in college, I had been immobilized by panic attacks and was desperate to get help. I spent three hours with a psychiatrist deeply engaged in the confusing mass of experience I needed to unravel. After listening for a while with great empathy and attentiveness, he interrupted and suggested [...] Read the rest»

Dazed and Awake

Fear of Change in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

One of the interesting things about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is that you can’t think about it too much. You have to do it. Hence the acronym ACT, to be spoken as the word. If you try to understand it with your mind alone, you’ll get stuck because the mind has too many blinders. I recall my encounter with a pit bull last year because the incident seems like a [...] Read the rest»

Hedy Schleifer TedTalk 350

Couples Therapy and Relationships: Hedy Schleifer

In the world of couples therapy, there seem to be a few people who are known world-wide as masters of the trade. Hedy Schleifer is one of them. You may not have heard of her before, since she hasn’t written any books about her approach. I was introduced to her work through a video interview in which she explains her approach at length. She believes that we seek out “incompatible” [...] Read the rest»

Broken Glass Window

Trying to Be Selective about Self-Acceptance

The boy took careful aim with his lever-action BB gun and fired off the first shot. The tiny pellet pierced one of the windows of the tall tree-house, and jagged cracks radiated from the pinhole it made. The house was nestled securely in the giant crook of an oak tree that stood right next to the fence dividing the two yards. His friend’s father, tall, gentle, attentive to his work, [...] Read the rest»

dawn sky

Waking Up a Depressed Partner

I remember years ago talking with a friend about his recent divorce and remarriage and mentioning the stressful time my wife and I had been having at that time. He bluntly suggested: Well, why don’t you leave? I told him I wouldn’t do that since I thought the problems were as much on my side as hers. He looked at me quizzically and said: “Really?” – as if that were [...] Read the rest»

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy video

Russ Harris on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Dr. Russ Harris, a physician and psychotherapist, has written several books (The Happiness Trap, ACT Made Simple) to explain Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to the general public. These short videos are excerpts from an interview he did with the Australian TV personality, Zara. The two of them improvise some brief demonstrations of key techniques you might use in an ACT session. As casual as the videos may be, they get [...] Read the rest»

green abstract

Revisiting: Removing Barriers to Closeness

This is a new version of an early post about how my wife and I were able to keep our relationship together despite the impact of depression. It discusses a therapeutic approach to emotional awareness that draws on the ideas about acceptance I’m now exploring. More than 20 years ago I stopped believing my own fantasies of finding happiness by leaving my marriage. I could see that those dreams were [...] Read the rest»