It can be especially hard if you are a helping professional. No matter what setting you work in, whether it's a hospital, clinic, or private practice, you will likely encounter deep suffering every day. It's in the nature of the business. People rarely come to us with simple, easy-to-solve problems. More often they bring lifetimes of secret hurts and private struggles.
As an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) practitioner, what keeps you awake at night? If you are like me, you worry about client progress and whether you can help a particular family. You worry about confrontational parents, grandparents that are sabotaging your plans, and contentious IEP meetings. You worry about staff faced with severe aggression and self-injury and your ability to support them.You imagine the pain parents are going through as they watch their child struggle to learn basic skills, and grieve the loss of the life they thought they would have. And you worry about the reports you need to write, and how you are going to manage everything, and still do a good job… I would assume that almost anyone would agree what we do is difficult.
ABA practitioners are tasked with changing behavior that is generally creating huge problems for an individual and those around them.
Couples work can be hard, however it can also be exceptionally rewarding.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) helps people relate to their internal experiences and behaviours in a way that fosters valued action. For couples, ACT can help people understand what it means to be the loving partner they want to be.
For nearly 50 years, intervention science has pursued the dream of establishing evidence-based therapy by testing technological protocols for syndromes in randomized controlled trials. Many clinicians do not yet realize it, that era is ending.
Many evidence-based therapies focus on teaching clients to use coping skills that will help them in moments of emotional distress. In spite of the large number of people who struggle with emotion-regulation issues, most therapies tend not to focus on the component of treatment that teaches clients to respond to emotional challenges while in a triggered state.
There have been many exciting developments in psychotherapy in the last several years. Many of them have evolved as a result of my free weekly psychotherapy training groups at Stanford for students, faculty, and community mental health professionals.