“The word growth has been so misused during the past decade, that it has become meaningless,” wrote Murray Bowen in his book, Family Therapy in Clinical Practice. “It is common for mental health professionals to consider the disappearance of symptoms as evidence of change.”
From the March/April issue of Psychotherapy Networker
For many, psychotherapy is still a rarefied, face-to-face encounter outside the normal rhythms of the world, a time in which cell phones are turned off, and we’re uninterrupted by an ever-replenishing email inbox. But we no longer live in a world in which we can so clearly partition ourselves off from the electronic information grid. Many occupations no longer require a clearly defined workplace or a physical presence. Many employees never see their boss in person. Increasingly, surgeons are slicing patients open from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Why should psychotherapy be any different?
In September, outrage at a video of Ray Rice, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, punching his fiancée unconscious in a hotel elevator brought an unprecedented level of national attention to the subject of domestic violence. After the video became public, the National Football League (NFL), which, on the basis of previously revealed information, had suspended Rice for two games, was widely criticized for leniency. In response to the widespread outcry, the NFL increased his punishment to an indefinite suspension.
Ever since, the increasingly tabloid coverage of the furor over Rice’s actions and the NFL’s response has focused on a presumed need for unequivocally condemning domestic violence and ensuring that Rice would receive a severe punishment. Many have called for Rice to be barred permanently from football, but he’s not been alone in having his behavior scrutinized and harshly critiqued. His fiancée (now wife, Janay Palmer Rice) has also been targeted for refusing to press charges and defending her relationship with him. Even her taking some of the blame for the violent flare-up with her husband has been seen as yet another indication of her victim mentality and inability to stand up for herself. The New York Times called her “an extraordinarily public example of the complex psychology of women abused by men,” suggesting that her decision to marry Rice was a symptom of the mental abuse she’d experienced and the entrapment of financial dependence. Read the rest here.
Earlier this year, therapist Michele Weiner-Davis spent hours in front of a camera, her husband patiently hitting the record button as she rehearsed for what she believed could be the most important 18 minutes of her professional career: her first TED talk. Read More