August 2017
In This Issue
Young Adult Anxiety Group to Start in September

Come learn new skills, including mindfulness techniques, to better manage your stress and anxiety around work/career and relationships.

The group will start Wed., Sept. 6, 6 pm--7:15
pm, and it will run for 12 consecutive weeks.

The cost is $75 per session, and it is insurance reimbursable. The group will be facilitated by Jehari Michael, LICSW.

Space is limited. To sign up, please call our office administrator, Leah Sugarman, at 202.588.1288, email her at 
or text us at 202.656.2142.
Noteworthy Mental Health Podcast
Amber Thornton, an African-American psychologist in Knoxville, Tenn., runs a popular person of color (POC) podcast called 'A Different Perspective'.

Topics include racial identity, womanism, wellness, social justice, Black culture and multiculturism. She has broadcast more than 20 episodes, which are available on SoundCloud, Google Play and iTunes.

Here's a link to her podcast: 

Talking About Suicide
In the wake of last month's suicide by Chester Bennington, 41, the lead singer of the band Linkin Park, a recent graduate of UMass-Amherst named Robert Rigo has written an important article in  The New York Times about suicide.

Perhaps the most striking part of the piece is the lack of education in our middle schools and high schools around recognizing mental illness and ways to treat it.

Rigo discusses his personal experience during those years, in which he struggled with depression.

Here's a link to the article:

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New Therapist Joins DC Talk Therapy

We are thrilled to announce that Jason Nicholsen, LICSW, has joined our practice.

Mr. Nicholsen offers evening and Saturday appointments and will start seeing clients Aug. 14.
Mr. Nicholsen specializes in working with the LGBTQ population. He is also a certified substance abuse therapist.
He currently works as the medication-assisted treatment program coordinator at the Max Robinson Center at Whitman-Walker Health, a community health center specializing in HIV/AIDS care and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender care.
To schedule an appointment for individual counseling with Mr. Nicholsen, please call Leah Sugarman at 202.588.1288.
How Psychotherapy is Like Improv Comedy

By David Sternberg, LICSW

There's a rule of thumb in improvisational comedy called "yes, and..." It means that a participant should accept what another participant has stated and then expand on that line of thinking.  By saying "yes", the participant has accepted the reality of his improv partners and begun the collaborative process.

So, what does any of this have to do with psychotherapy?

Potentially everything.

In my 16 years of providing therapy, I've noticed there are two basic types of clients:  those who say "yes" to my suggestions, directions or homework assignments and those who say "yes, but".

It's nearly a guarantee that those who say "yes" in therapy make significantly more progress  -- sometimes life-changing -- and achieve the kind of changes they were hoping for versus those who say "yes, but".

It can be argued that saying "yes, but" is the exact opposite of improv comedy participants who say "yes, and..." One impedes progress; the other not only encourages progress but actively speeds it up.

Over the years this schism between "yes" and "yes, but" has become such a noticeable trend that I now mention it in the initial session to clients. I do this for two reasons -- to convey the idea that therapy is very much a collaborative process and to set a framework for change/growth.

Saying "yes" implies a couple of things:  readiness to change; trust in me and the therapeutic process; and a desire to take some action, even if it means trying something new and feeling uncomfortable.

On the other hand, those clients who say "yes, but" either don't really want to change; aren't ready to change, or are too scared to change.

So, they put obstacles in their way - and mine -- by saying things like  "Yes, that sounds like a good idea but I've tried that before" or "Yes, I wanted to do it but I forgot" or "Yes, it was on my list but I didn't have the time." (Some less obvious versions of "yes, but":  arriving late for session; not showing up for session, or cancelling after a few sessions.)

I could go on but you get the idea. I see statements like these for what they are:  defenses.

If I notice continued "yes, but" statements, I'll say "So, what are you willing to change?" Sometimes that causes a shift, partially because it highlights the "but" in the "yes, but" comment.

To summarize, while you don't have to say "yes, and" in psychotherapy, as they do in the improv world, do yourself a favor and avoid the "yes, but" approach. You'll likely see a world of difference.

Tips of the Month
Tim Ferriss, bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, Tools of Titans and others, has helped to popularize the idea of 'productivity hacks'.

Here are two of his favorite hacks:  listen to Tara Brach's '2010 Smile Meditation' (a 25-minute guided meditation) first thing in the morning; and drink pu-erh tea with 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil for sustained energy.
Meet Our Team

Amanda Shapiro                        Amy DeYoung                               Barbara Donesky

        David Sternberg                             Jason Nicholsen                             Jehari Michael

     Kathy Richardson                        Matt Sosnowsky                            Leah Sugarman