Peter Goldenthal, Ph.D., ABPP: Child, Adult, & Family Psychology

Selected Works by Dr. Goldenthal

A parenting book providing answers to questions about sibling conflicts
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This book presents the theory, concepts, and techniques of Contextual Therapy, a unique and powerful thereapeutic approach especially suited to helping children and adolescents.

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Therapy and the Human-Dog Bond

Animal Assisted Contextual Therapy

August 20, 2015

Tags: human-dog bond, attachment, therapy, pet therapy, contextual therapy

Those who are familiar with my writings about contextual therapy, whether in books or blog posts, may be wondering how my more recent writing about the human-dog bond and about pet therapy–and animal assisted therapy– are connected to contextual therapy.

The answer is straight forward, and it takes us back to the core (more…)

Destructive Entitlement

June 29, 2015

Tags: contextual therapy

The concept of destructive entitlement, like that of constructive entitlement arises from Nagy’s thinking about interpersonal ethics. They represent two poles of a continuum. A person’s fund of constructive entitlement grows proportionally to their capacity to consider other people’s needs, and especially to consider how their actions affect other people. In (more…)

Contextual Therapy: Constructive Entitlement

June 22, 2015

Tags: contextual therapy, multi directed partiality

Constructive entitlement is at the core of Nagy’s ideas about personal growth and growth in close relationship. As I discussed in my previous post about entitlement, it may appear to be a psychological concept, and it certainly overlaps with the concept of “feelings of entitlement.,” but it is not the same. A person (more…)

Contextual Therapy: Entitlement

June 18, 2015

Tags: contextual therapy

In Boszormenyi-Nagy’s view, the accrual of and reliance on entitlement have a huge influence on the ways that people relate to each other and to what are often referred to as personality types and disorders. Entitlement is thus a dimension 4 concept, one relating to ethics, and can be seen to parallel a number (more…)

Contextual Therapy: The Dimension of Ethics

June 14, 2015

Tags: contextual therapy, multi directed partiality

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, CT is unique in explicitly addressing issues of interpersonal ethics and fairness. Many, perhaps most, psychotherapists are concerned about fairness between and among people in close relationships. In general, however, their therapeutic approaches lack a specific language with which to talk about these issues. That is a (more…)

What is Contextual Therapy? Dimension 3: Transactions

June 9, 2015

Tags: contextual therapy

One of contextual therapy’s great strengths is its ability to incorporate concepts and techniques from other approaches. As I’ve said in previous posts, that allows this approach to go beyond an either-or approach–either individual psychodynamics or family systems– and to move into the realm of both -and.

Contextual therapists are trained (more…)

What is Contextual Therapy? Dimension 2: Psychology

June 8, 2015

Tags: contextual therapy, therapy

Of the 4 dimensions of Contextual Therapy (CT), this one will be the most familiar to many readers. The dimension of psychology comprises all those factors that we normally associate with personality, with psychological distress, and with psychotherapy. Unlike many other family systems therapies, contextual therapy pays careful attention to the individual people who make (more…)

What is Contextual Therapy? : Dimension I –Facts

June 4, 2015

Tags: contextual therapy

Dimension 1: Facts

In this post, I’ll describe the Dimension of Facts, the one that focuses on individual and family history. Future posts will talk about the other dimensions and how they are connected.

A skilled CT therapist learns about each the facts of a person’s history, those things that are objective, that are (more…)

What is Contextual Therapy?: The 4 Dimensions

June 3, 2015

Tags: contextual therapy

Why is it Important to Have 4 Dimensions?

One of the things that I find most useful about the contextual approach is how it incorporates multiple perspectives. The integrative aspect of contextual therapy (CT) runs through the model and affects treatment in many ways. The emphasis on multiple perspectives becomes clear as soon as one (more…)

What is Contextual Therapy?

June 3, 2015

Tags: contextual therapy

As I wrote in Doing contextual Therapy (W.W. Norton): “Contextual therapy has become a model of human experience, family life, and therapy whose goals are widely admired, whose assumptions are widely endorsed, and whose concepts are widely borrowed. It is difficult to find an experienced therapist who would argue with the notion that knowledge of a person’s past and present family relationships is crucial to understanding and helping the person, or one who would deny that issues of fairness and loyalty are central to life and to close relationships.

But many who would practice contextual therapy, and many more who would incorporate contextual concepts such as loyalty or destructive entitlement, or treatment strategies such as multi directed partiality into their work feel that this practice is shrouded in mystery.” This statement is as true today as it was in 1996.

I am writing this series of posts to introduce the approach to those who are unfamiliar with it, to add to the (more…)