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Post: Blog2_Post

ISTDP's Patricia Coughlin Is A Master Therapist. Here's The 15 Things She Taught Me (Part 1).

Updated: May 5

Back in January I attended an ISTDP Sex Therapy training with Patricia Coughlin.


Talk about one of the greats.

I'm in a bit of an Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) bubble where everyone believes very deeply in the power of compassion, comfort, and empathy. They don't challenge, and the general sense is if you can offer someone enough support and comfort, they will eventually change. To see Patricia hold patients' feet to the fire and have "head-on collisions" with their defenses was refreshing. To see her do so while also holding deep compassion was masterful.

Honestly, this is the only time I can remember watching therapy videos and it not being boring.

So I've decided to share what I've learned from her in a two part blog post. Here are the first 7 things I learned from her.


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1. "If you look at the effectiveness of CBT over 50 years, it has gone down."

Coughlin states he founders of CBT, such as Aaron Beck, were trained first as psychodynamic therapists and therefore had an understanding of the unconscious. Nowadays, we focus much more on teaching students techniques and don't talk about the unconscious, and therefore CBT outcomes are declining.

I don't know if CBT really is declining, but I do know we neglect the unconscious in therapy training, and, be