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New Harbinger Blog for Professionals

Dedicated to providing mental health professionals with the latest in evidence-based psychology research, theory, practical in-session tools, and everything in between.

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To be a good mindfulness teacher, or even to use mindfulness effectively with your clients, it’s important that you have your own personal practice

Luckily, the practice of psychotherapy has a number of built-in qualities that present clinicians with ample opportunities to do mindfulness in sessions.

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By Randy J. Paterson, PhD

Clients who have been suffering from depression or dysthymia for a long time often have difficulty believing that doing things differently will have a positive impact on their mood. This makes it hard to commit to the work of therapy.

You can cite the research, tell stories of other people’s successes, and invite them to treat therapy as an experiment—“let’s try it and see.” But many still won’t think that anything they do will have a positive impact on their mood.

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Here is a free, step-by-step progressive muscle relaxation exercise that you can teach your clients. First, check out Edmund Bourne’s guidelines for practicing PMR effectively. You’ll want to share these with your clients before and after you teach them the exercise. 

An excerpt from Coping with Anxiety: Ten Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear, and Worry

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When asked to describe their experience, people who suffer from anxiety more commonly cite a cluster of physical symptoms than emotional or mental sensations. Things like shortness of breath, muscle tension, hyperventilation, and palpitations are just a few examples of what people with anxiety may experience during a flare-up.

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Mindfulness in the context of psychotherapy is more than just a technique or a theoretical perspective; it is a way of being with and relating to experience. Regardless of whether or not you choose to incorporate formal mindfulness practices in your sessions with clients, having your own mindfulness practice will positively inform your work.

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A Letter from Hugh G. Byrne, PhD

Our lives revolve around our habits; studies show that almost half of our behaviors are habitual rather than intentional. Some, like brushing our teeth or putting on a seat belt in the car, are obviously helpful. Others, like eating or drinking unconsciously, driving aggressively, procrastinating, or spending hours online, can be much more of a problem.

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By Jon Hershfield, MFT

When treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), it can be helpful to think systemically. OCD sufferers struggle internally with their unwanted thoughts, but their external behaviors also affect the ones around them—most often family members. Family members can be instrumental in maintaining OCD symptoms by either directly participating in them, or modifying their own behavior to make room for those symptoms.

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