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It Doesn’t Take A Sufi…

A young man in another state contacted me for online consultation, having learned that I’d written about Sufism, particularly Idries Shah’s work.  He was reading Shah’s books, and wanted to include this interest, as well as other issues in his life, in our discussion.  I made it clear that I am neither a Sufi nor a spiritual teacher of any kind, and that such information about spiritual psychology as I’d gathered over the years was not he same as being … Continue reading

“Which You Are You?” by Pat Williams

I’m not a “one size fits all” psychologist—quite the opposite—but one of my favorite one-stop teachings about human nature and therapy is “Which You Are You?” by Pat Williams.  Originally released as a spoken CD by Human Givens Publishing, in the United Kingdom, “Which You Are You” is now available as an mp3 from the Human Givens website, https://www.humangivens.com/category/cds-mp3s/mp3s. Journalist, playwright, author, storyteller, and therapist, Williams speaks, in “Which You Are You?,”  both as a therapist to other therapists, and … Continue reading

Consultation to Inform and Refine Therapists’ Awareness, Perceptions and Skills

I’ve just completed presentations on consultation for therapists at the annual conferences of three professional associations:  The National Association of Social Workers- Illinois Chapter, the Illinois Psychological Association, and the Illinois Counseling Association.  Each presentation was organized around a lecture/slide show about consultation, and included a live demonstration in which I provided consultation to a volunteer therapist consultee.  Each presentation also had its own emphasis:  more information about consultation, and psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral concepts, for the NASW-IL; less focus on … Continue reading

Having Difficult Conversations More Effectively

This is an edited summary of my blog post of May 31, 2013, in response to inquiries about how to have difficult conversations more effectively. Communication fads come and go, but difficult conversations are here to stay, so information that helps us to have them more productively is welcome. The books, “Difficult Conversations,” and “Crucial Conversations” describe a number of ideas, attitudes and skills to help. Most of the concepts I’ll mention come from “Difficult Conversations.” “Crucial Conversations” looks at … Continue reading

“Projection” Before Freud

Freud and his followers thought that they had discovered the human tendency to project one’s own assumptions and preoccupations onto others.  When this happens in therapy, it’s called “transference” (patient projects onto therapist) or “countertransference” (therapist projects onto patient).  However, this tendency has been well known, in at least some circles, since ancient times. Idries Shah gives a tale illustrating this in his “Special Illumination: The Sufi Use of Humour.” One day a scholar ran into a gang of bandits … Continue reading