Examples of the 4 Things Competent Therapists Do

The problem with principles is that they can lead to rules and checklists instead of empathic understanding.

The Best Clinical Story Ever?

Great clinical stories teach us how to think, they liberate the mind from its ruts, and most importantly thy raise the bar of excellence to counter complacency and mediocrity.

Four Things Competent Therapists Do

That’s only 4 things I’m looking for when evaluating in-office individual talk therapy. In my experience, the vast majority of therapists practice none of them.

Does Change Come from Within?

The environmental location of causality—change comes from without rather than from within—is awfully convenient for therapists, who happen to find themselves in their patients’ environments.

Confirmation Bias and Stigma

Confirmation bias confirms not only expectations about the percept, but also those relating to the kind of world we live in and our role in it.

The Tendency to Smugness in the Culture of Psychology

I hope your first thought about overt anger is that something unjust has happened and not that someone is too emotional or being mean.

Inside Inside Out (No Spoilers!)

If you want someone to know what you’re feeling, they’ll need the story, not just the headline, and certainly not just which section of the paper it’s in.

Motivation in Education, Therapy, and Parenting

Vengeful parental fantasies often take the form of protecting the child from invented or exaggerated external threats.

3 Reactions to the Massacre That May Serve the Terrorist

The long term answer to racism will be to decrease the prevalence of situations where race matters, but the conundrum is that while racism exists, efforts to decrease this prevalence are usually efforts by the privileged to draw attention away from their privilege.

Does Dolezal Get to Choose?

Your race is socially constructed in a given situation by other people, not by you.

A Hidden Cost of Sex Between Professors and Students

Professor-student sex pollutes the educational environment.

On the Theater Shooting

With the trial going on, I am reposting my thoughts from the day of the shooting.

5 Tweaks to CBT

Psychotherapy depends on clients messing up the therapy like they mess up their other relationships.

Gender Pathology

If we constructed a society in which life’s roles were as bifurcated by ear lobes as they are in our culture by genitals, then the first thing parents and grandparents would want to know at birth would be attached or unattached, not boy or girl.

The Communicative Advantages of Interrupting

The Sermon on the Mount takes 8 minutes to read aloud, so be wary of any speech act that goes on for longer than that.

10 Signs of True Love

Two selfish creatures committing to a life partnership need an ironic frame.

How to Tell If You’re Pro-Diversity or Just Want More Power

Many marginalized voices don’t really want inclusion; they want dominance.

Life is a Like a Metaphor

When you stand alone like scraps of paper instead of “high-piled books” on Keats’s “shore of the wide world,” and love and fame “to nothingness do sink,” it might help to recognize that your current construction of the situation is a metaphor, and that you are not literally littoral litter.

How Clinical Psychology Programs Get Wussified

Aren’t therapists supposed to be able to stomach strong emotion, confront conflict, keep calm, and carry on?

Treating William Shakespeare

Asking which of the things I did that worked and which didn’t is exactly the same as asking which things the patient does in response I should feel rewarded by.

Personality Disorders Explained 3: Treatment

Where most therapies capitalize on the alliance with the one part of the patient that agrees with the psychological formulation, therapists treating personality disorders are on their own.

Personality Disorders Explained 2: Origins

Every cognitive map of the social world also defines a role for the person to play; a personality disorder implies a limited number of acceptable roles.

Personality Disorders Explained: What They Are

A person with a personality disorder can be asymptomatic, but we should still use the label if dysfunction or distress would follow from a reasonably expectable change in the environment.

What Assessment Can Do and What It Can’t

When I hear that so-and-so is not the kind of person to do such-and-such, I wince.

Is Your Dream Too Expensive?

Many of our aspirations are compensatory, making up for something that life is not providing. If our dream comes true, it’s often at the cost of what life was providing.

Living on Thin Ice

You can enjoy your work if it produces reinforcement, but you can’t be replenished by it if you’re situation-conscious on the job.

Parenting Skills Depend on the Child

The first concern in any system of parenting skills should be a list of the child’s needs.

On Being the Main Character of Your Own Life

Many elderly people have lost their improvisational abilities, and reciting lines is the only kind of participation they can still muster.

Why I Don’t Care How the Brain Works

The human condition is not a medical condition.

Who Owns Your Body?

Much child development can be usefully construed as a transfer of ownership rights from others to the individual.

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