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Therapy and the Human-Dog Bond

How Your Dog Can Help Your Child be Mindful

I’ve written previously, as have many others, about the ways in which meditation and mindfulness practices can help children. One built in problem, a sort of Catch-22 is that those children who most need to learn to calm themselves and to focus their minds are those least likely to want to sit still,  Read More 
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I and Thou applies to you and your dog too.

Sasha and her doctor
No, I’m not talking about a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou; that’s Omar Kyam. This I and Thou comes from the writings of Martin Buber, a writer and philosopher who lived from 1878 to 1965. Buber made a huge distinction between I and it encounters (that’s the way we  Read More 
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People and Dogs: Companions for 20,000 Years

Dogs have lived around people for longer than has any other domesticated animal: 20,000 years is regarded as a reasonable estimate. That’s long before the invention of agriculture, long before there was any written language. It’s the time of hunter-gatherers; a time before there is any historical record. Current scientific thinking is that  Read More 
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Contextual Therapy: The Dimension of Ethics

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  Read More 
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What is Contextual Therapy? Dimension 3: Transactions

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  Read More 
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What is a Therapeutic Relationship?

The obvious answer to the question posed in the title of this post is: “A therapeutic relationship is the relationship between therapist and a client or patient.” We hope that all patient-therapist and client-therapist relationships are therapeutic, but that answer is, if not circular, close to it: it begs the question. What makes a  Read More 
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Creating a Mutually Therapeutic Relationship with Your Dog

Not so very long ago, even the title of this post would have raised eyebrows in professional circles. Times have changed in very positive ways, however, and for the better. My article on animal assisted therapy will soon be published in “Currents” the publication of the Philadelphia Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology,  Read More 
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Sibling Rivalry in Young Children

Parents of preschoolers are often worried about sibling rivalry. Here I will answer questions that journalists, parents in my office, and those attending my talks and workshops have asked.

My children sometimes squabble just before dinner. Is this normal?

The answer to this depends on how often your children squabble,  Read More 
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What is Contextual Therapy? Dimension 2: Psychology

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  Read More 
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Dogs and Therapy#6: What is negative reinforcement?

In this post, I’ll continue my discussion of animal learning as it applies to making choices that will make you and your dog happy together. In my previous post about learning, I wrote about positive reinforcers. There are also negative reinforcers. Just as positive reinforcers do, so too do negative reinforcers increase the  Read More 
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