The Dark Side of Positivity

by Griffin Hansbury on March 5, 2017

In our culture of mandatory happiness, wise words from Svend Brinkmann, author of the Danish bestseller Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze:

“I believe our thoughts and emotions should mirror the world. When something bad happens, we should be allowed to have negative thoughts and feelings about it because that’s how we understand the world.”

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“Life is wonderful from time to time, but it’s also tragic. People die in our lives, we lose them, if we have only been accustomed to being allowed to have positive thoughts, then these realities can strike us even more intensely when they happen—and they will happen.”

Click here to read the full article.

And here’s some advice from the author on how stand firm.

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LGBTQ-Affirmative Therapy

by Griffin Hansbury on July 15, 2016

From the New York Times, on the importance of working with an LGBTQ-affirmative therapist:

“Having a gay-affirmative therapist really changed my life in a lot of ways,” said one student therapist. “I had always thought, ‘I’m just like my straight friends, only I’m attracted to men.’ But what I found out is that there’s a deeper level of experiencing what it means to be a gay person than just my sexual identity. So discovering that — and realizing there’s so much more to be discovered — I thought, I really want to do that for other people as well. I want to be an agent of change.”

Continue reading

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Competent Therapists

by Griffin Hansbury on August 19, 2015

Here are 4 things that competent therapists do, according to Michael Karson at Psychology Today. I agree.

1. The therapist understands that a therapeutic relationship is very different from a social relationship. My view is that good therapy requires the patient to take off the social mask, and therapist behaviors that are social keep the mask on. Regardless, though, of the rationale for doing so, competent therapists promote a mode of relating that is very different from social relating, and from other forms of (non-therapy) professional relating. One particularly important defining aspect of a therapeutic relationship is the therapist’s acceptance of responsibility for its setbacks, potholes, and failures.

2. The therapist establishes a joint sense of purpose and a mutual understanding with the patient about what they are there to do together. This is captured in a clinical case formulation that is unique to the individual patient (versus a generic, off-the-rack formulation that could apply to nearly anyone). By “unique,” I mean unique.

3. The therapist interprets the patient’s speech as metaphorical or literary, not as merely literal. The therapist can never know what happened in childhood, and can’t even know what happened to the patient yesterday. The therapist understands that this is not a limitation on effectiveness, because the meaning that experiences hold for an individual patient are all important.

4. The therapist interprets the patient’s speech not only as a window into the patient’s narrative, constructed self and world, but also as a metaphorical response to the environment in which it occurs–a commentary on the therapy itself. This is the therapist’s primary source of feedback about what works and what doesn’t.

 

Read the whole article here.

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Trauma & EMDR

by Griffin Hansbury on May 31, 2015

This week, author and war correspondent Sebastian Junger (Perfect Storm, War) talks about PTSD and soldiers on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show.

He discusses the importance of a cohesive, communal social network and treatment for healing from trauma. Listen here:

EMDR is one therapy that has been studied and proven to work well with veterans and other people living with PTSD. It’s a treatment I’m personally and professionally very excited about for its evidenced power to help survivors of trauma.

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Read more about EMDR here. Contact me at 646-675-7723 for a free phone consultation.

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Counseling for Business Partners

by Griffin Hansbury on April 19, 2015

Couples counseling isn’t just for romantic partners anymore. It’s also helpful for business partners.

Recently, the New York Times profiled Ilan Zechory and Tom Lehman, two founders of Genius.com, and discussed how couples therapy is helping people who work together in business relationships.

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“Counseling has become a popular way for young technology entrepreneurs to work out their differences. ‘Except for the sex, founders have the same interdependency as married couples,’ said Peter Pearson, a founder of the Couples Institute in Menlo Park, Calif., who holds that businesses and romantic relationships fail for similar reasons. Some founders are interested in learning how to maintain their friendships in a stressful environment.”

Imago therapy can be a great way for business partners to learn to communicate, respect each other’s differences, function more efficiently as collaborators, and stay friends in the process. By teaching partners to listen closely, validate, and empathize with each other, Imago can dramatically change how two people relate to each other.

Read here about how Imago therapy works, and how I use it in my practice with couples of all kinds.

 

Read the whole Times article here.

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