Jeff Levy, LCSW
Mental Health, Relationships, Trauma, Identity
Originally Published on Branching Out: The Live Oak Blog, February 2018
No one wants to feel pain. At least that’s true for most of us. In fact, a good number of us make the decision to enter psychotherapy to alleviate pain. As a therapist, I’ve also been in the position of wanting to support my clients in easing the pain they are feeling. I’m still not so sure that’s an unrealistic goal. What I have learned, however, is that the way to assuage one kind of pain often requires that we feel another. No one necessarily signs up for this.
Jeff Levy, LCSW
(originally published on Branching Out: The Live Oak Blog, and Linked In, January 2019)
The process of therapy can be daunting, especially when we don’t really understand what it’s “supposed” to look like or why sitting in a room with another person somehow helps us make lasting changes. Using metaphors as part of the psychotherapy process is not uncommon. Articles and books have been written on the topic with most folks recognizing the utility of metaphors.
Merriam Webster defines metaphor as “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.” Therapists and clients alike may use metaphors to foster increased understanding of an experience or a series of experiences. Shared understanding of experiences allows us to speak the same language, feel heard, experience greater connection, and ultimately, to better explore the changes we seek to make.
Jeff Levy, LCSW
(originally posted on Branching Out: The Live Oak Blog, and Linked In, December 2017)
I was recently thinking about sessions over the course of the last few weeks that went smoothly, and those where I felt like we hit some bumps or that we stalled. I tried to remember the things I did or questions I asked that I thought helped all of us in the room feel some movement. There were many ideas and questions I jotted down, but five stood out to me as particularly helpful.
While I know there are no quick fixes to change the direction of a session that feels like it is stalled, I still look for strategies to support people in making the changes that bring them to my office, even in the context of a single session. Maybe it’s unrealistic to think that lasting change can happen in a session. But I believe there are ways we can invite ourselves and our clients to consider intentional shifts, even in the context of a single session.
Jeff Levy, LCSW
(originally posted on Branching Out: The Live Oak Blog, and Linked In, May 2017)
I was reading an article in the Chicago Tribune about Barry Manilow, his recent public “coming out,” and acknowledgment of his marriage to his partner of 40 years. The article talked about the mixed reactions of the public ranging from support to questions about why Manilow waited so long.
What disturbed me most about the article was its implication that coming out means we are finally living authentically. The author writes, about his own coming out: “I felt my mind clear and my stomach quiet. Life was different now. I knew that.” And later he writes “but living my truth in public outweighed all that. I was free to be me at last.”
All AIDS Anger Apologizing Asking Questions In Sessions Authenticity Beginnings And Endings Being The Expert Boundaries Boundary Crossing Boundary Violations Breaks From Therapy Collaboration Between Therapists Coming Out Compassion Fatigue Contact Between Sessions Continuity Between Sessions Courage Crying Death Depression Disclosure Disclosure And Technology Dogs Email Emotional Support Animals Emotions Empathy Ending Psychotherapy Endings Expectations Experiments Failure Finances Forgiveness Framing Therapy Fraudulence Gifts Goals Grief Happiness Healing Rituals HIV Holding Back Homework Honesty Hope Human Animal Bond Identity Imposter Injuries Interpersonal Neurobiology Intersectionality Long Term Therapy Loss Loving Yourself Memory Metaphors In Psychotherapy Microaggressions Money Multiple Identities Neurophysiology New Information New Normal Normal Not Knowing Pain Physical Contact Positive Emotions Present Moment Priorities Privacy Questions Rage Real Relationships Resentment Resolution Rites Of Passage Rituals Rupture And Repair Sadness Safe Spaces Safety Safety Plan Safety Versus Comfort Secrecy Session Structure Short Term Therapy Silence Stigma And Mental Health Suicide Survival Strategies Themes In Psychotherapy Therapist Client Relationships Touch Trauma Trigger Warnings Values Vicarious Resilience Vicarious Trauma