“Coleyology” Interview

I was recently interviewed by the lovely and talented Nicole Lemaster for the “Coleyology” podcast, a program which focuses on consciousness, mental health, and holistic living.

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In this lively, personal, and candid interview, Nicole and I discuss such things as focusing on therapy client strengths, framing problems, co-creating novel experiences, hoodoo, the paradox of trust, writing books, and humor in the therapy room.  She was a delight to interact with and I really enjoyed our chat.

To listen to the interview, go HERE

New Book Now Available!

My latest book, Unlimited Resources: Simple and Easy Ways to Find, Access, and Utilize Client Strengths and Resources to Facilitate Change, is now available.

Unlimited Resources COVER

I wrote this book for psychotherapists who are interested in directing their therapy sessions toward a focus on client strengths and resources instead of an excessive focus on problem investigation and client pathology. I offer case studies, transcripts, and practical examples to give therapists and coaches simple methods for implementing resource directed ways of working.

To get your copy, go here.

Episode 23: Rob McNeilly Interview

Rob McNeilly

In this episode, Dr. Robert McNeilly is interviewed. Rob is a medical doctor and a psychotherapist in Tasmania who had the privilege of learning directly from Dr. Milton Erickson. Rob was so inspired by Erickson’s human approach to therapy that he created his own interpretation to assist clients in a respectful, dignified way to deal with the human dilemmas that affect individuals, couples and families. Rob founded the Center for Effective Therapy in l988 to introduce Ericksonian Hypnosis and Solution Oriented Counseling to Australia. He has written several well received books on Solution Oriented Therapy and Hypnosis and offers online training in these approaches.

In this interview Rob discusses the importance of having a sense of expectancy on the part of both client and therapist, the importance of creating therapeutic relationships, the power of listening for resources, and therapist genuineness.

For more information about Rob McNeilly go to his website:  robmcneilly.simplero.com/

Episode 22: Dana Rideout Inteview

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Psychotherapist, yoga instructor, corporate consultant and entrepreneur, Dana Rideout, is interviewed in this episode. Dana discusses her path from working in special education to finding her work as a therapist. She also discusses working with trauma and “First Responders.” the use of mindfulness to help others find the missing neurological pieces to facilitate effective interaction, getting past comfort levels in therapy, using yoga for treating anxiety, and balancing “knowing” and “not knowing”.

For more information on Dana and her work, check out her website: danarideoutlpc.com

Episode 21: Steven Hoskinson Interview

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In this episode, Steve Hoskinson is interviewed. Steve is the founder and Chief Compassion Officer of Organic Intelligence, a theory and systemic clinical application of human empowerment, resiliency, and compassion to resolve the devastating effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Steve has trained thousands of individuals in the helping professions in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East in the art of the compassionate treatment of trauma.  As a leader in the Somatic Psychology field, Steve was Professional Training Faculty for the Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute for 17 years and is currently Adjunct Faculty for JFK University’s Somatic Psychology program. He has graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology and is a founding member of the Northern California Society for Integrative Mental Health and the International Transformational Resilience Coalition.

In this interview we discuss therapy from a systems perspective and the idea that what is wrong with therapy is the focus on what is wrong. He also discusses the crucial aspects of therapeutic context and framing, second order change, the importance of curiosity in therapy, and be able to “act in order to know”.

For more information on Steve Hoskinson and his work, check out his website: https://organicintelligence.org/

Episode 20: Helen Adrienne Interview

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In this episode psychotherapist, trainer and author, Helen Adrienne is interviewed. Helen is a graduate of Rutgers University and Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, Helen has trained in family therapy, mind/body therapy, cognitive therapy, guided meditation stress reduction techniques, and Ericksonian clinical hypnotherapy. She is an approved consultant for the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York and New Jersey, and a Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work.

Helen is the best selling author of “On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility” and a founding member of the New York City chapter of RESOLVE™, a national infertility organization. For many years she has run mind/body support groups and other programs through RESOLVE™ for the infertile patient.

In the interview Helen discusses her work with mind/body stress reduction, fertility issues and teaching clients how to escape from stress and move into themselves, the importance of following therapeutic hunches, and the art of letting things spontaneously unfold in a session.

For more information on Helen Adrienne’s work, check out her website: www.helenadrienne.com

That is so random….

My present belief system is that clients seek help from a therapist due to their feeling stuck in some way. Their ability to work through what they perceive as a problem is hindered by their attempting to deal with the problem with a pattern of action/reaction which furthers to cement the pattern and, unfortunately, makes it worse. If clients are continuing to perform the same patterns of action, thought, and emotion toward the problem, then the problem will be maintained and clients will feel it insurmountable to overcome. This will lead to them perceiving their problem as a personal reality and their automatic responses to this “reality” further solidifies the pattern.

In order to facilitate a change in these patterns, I believe therapists must be comfortable talking about and doing things that are unexpected and random. Our therapeutic interactions are there to provide clients with new information which can be used to alter the patterns which have previously caused distress. When new and random information enters their present perceived reality, then their reality has to adjust. Sometimes merely giving straightforward logical information in dialogue may not be very effective due to the brain being stuck in a deeply entrenched pattern. Introducing the random into a session can cause the brain to experience different and new realities which can create a shift in how clients respond to their problems. As Gregory Bateson stated in his classic text, Mind and Nature, “Without the random, there can be no new thing.”

Lucky Dice showing a pair of sixes.

Random information can come from anywhere. Sources such as popular culture, spirituality, childhood hobbies, fine arts, etc. can all introduce new information about different ways to respond to old problems.  Further examination of the problem and trying to solve the problem only continues the process of the problem. Introducing the random or unexpected into the problem alters the problem.

I once had a client who was dealing with social anxiety issues and panic attacks due to a variety of factors. He was very worried about running into people he used to know and their observing how little he had advanced in his life. He stated he knew he was depressed and was not in a good place to talk to former friends as he “did not want to burden them” with his problems. When he did go out he would sometimes have a panic attack which would cause him to immediately return home. He felt stuck and more depressed due to his inability to go out often.

PATTERN: Go out –> worry about seeing someone he knows –> think about the present condition he is in and the shame he has about it  –> have a panic attack –> immediately go home

I heard him state that he didn’t want to “burden others” with his problems. I immediately latched onto how a desire to not burden someone was actually an act of compassion. I told him that his concern for how other people feel was quite remarkable. I complimented him on how compassionate he was to willingly allow himself to suffer so that others would not suffer. I told him it was possible that his unconscious mind could even be creating these panic episodes to help shield others from feeling his pain. He responded favorably to my conjectures. Our conversation on compassion continued as we discussed many other examples of times he was kind to others. Since he was a religious person, we also discussed the spiritual role of compassion and the many saints who had shown great compassion while going through hardships.  The topic of compassion was a “random” entry into the interaction as neither of us expected it to appear. It did not fit the prearranged pattern of the problem.

I then told him that it was not fair for him to waste his compassion being alone at home. We had to come up with some way for him to help others with his strong sense of compassion. I told him he had much to teach all of us about how to become more compassionate in our lives. I reminded him about the hardships that the various saints had to face trying to spread their messages of hope to others. I let him know that he could not fully show compassion by staying at home. He needed to find somewhere to interact with others on a small scale to help them learn to have compassion toward themselves. He agreed that this was important work to do. In time, he found that when he did go out he was not as nervous as before and he found that he could interact with people with fewer panic episodes. The random inclusion of “compassion” into the pattern caused his reality to adjust. His previously self-defeating fear was now a source of compassion to be shared with others.

Random information does not come from a scripted, rehearsed treatment protocol. It can only come from an alive interaction with room for spontaneity. It also does not come from excessive problem investigation. When we allow the random to show up in our therapy room, we can let it flow as we ride the wave of interaction.

Healing Trauma with Hypnosis in Nashville – January 27-29, 2017

Join me and Courtney Armstrong for a dynamic 3-day workshop that will teach you how to effectively heal trauma using a respectful, strengths-based hypnosis approach. This high-powered workshop worth 25 CE’s that is filled with experiential activities and practice sessions that help you discover: 1) why hypnosis is one of the most gentle and effective evidence-based tools you can use for reconsolidating traumatic memories, 2) how to use hypnosis to quickly rewire the brain and activate inner healing states, and 3) how to easily adapt interventions to fit your client’s spiritual, cultural, and personal needs.

This training will qualify you for LEVEL 1 Certification in Courtney’s cutting edge “Trauma-Informed Hypnotherapy“.

You’ll learn that hypnosis is not scary or complicated, but merely a way of communicating with the emotional brain where our emotional memories, attachment schemas, and automatic patterns are stored. You’ll see that when you speak to the emotional brain in a language it understands, it updates rather quickly and painlessly. Clients typically enjoy the hypnosis approach we’ll be teaching you, and often finish sessions feeling relieved and uplifted, rather than tired, retraumatized, or drained.

Don’t miss the fun, fascinating, and educating event!

For more information go HERE!

Episode 19: Elliott Connie Interview

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In this episode, Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) teacher, trainer, and therapist, Elliott Connie is interviewed about his approach to working with clients. Elliott is the founder of the Connie Institute, which hosts training events for those who are interested in learning new, cutting edge SFBT skills.

In this interview, Elliott discusses the importance of strengths based approaches to counseling, making interventions simple for maximum effectiveness, staying out of the the frame of a problem, how the expectancy of the therapist is a crucial part of the change process, and the role of therapist authenticity.

For more information about Elliott Connie and his work, check out his website: elliottspeaks.com

Episode 18: Scott Miller Interview

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In this enlightening interview, I get to talk with the one and only Dr. Scott Miller. Scott is the founder of the International Center for Clinical Excellence, an international consortium of clinicians, researchers, and educators dedicated to promoting excellence in behavioral health services. Scott conducts workshops and training internationally, helping hundreds of agencies and organizations, both public and private, to achieve superior results. He is one of a handful of “invited faculty” whose work, thinking, and research is featured at the prestigious “Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference.” His humorous and engaging presentation style and command of the research literature consistently inspires practitioners, administrators, and policy makers to make effective changes in service delivery.

In our conversation we discuss such important topics as feedback informed therapy, the misnomer of “evidence based” therapies, what aspects of psychotherapy are consistent in practice, and what can make the most difference in achieving positive outcomes when working with clients. Scott is a wealth of information and you can learn more about his work at his website: www.scottdmiller.com