Category Archives: Counseling and Psychotherapy Theory and Practice

Two Short Suicide and Psychotherapy Video Clips

As a part of my presentations for ACA last week, I prepared a couple of short video clips. These clips are part of a much, much longer, three-volume (7.5 hour) video series produced and published by psychotherapy.net. Victor Yalom of psychotherapy.net gave me permission to occasionally share a few short clips like these. If you’re interested in purchasing the whole video series (or having your library do so), you can check out the series here: https://www.psychotherapy.net/videos/expert/john-sommers-flanagan

IMHO, although the whole video series is excellent and obviously I recommend it, these clips can be used all by themselves to stimulate class discussions. Check them out if you’re interested.

Clip 1: Opening a Session with Kennedy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR7YU0VrHqw

Kennedy is a 15-year-old cisgender female referred by her parents for suicidal ideation. Although a case could be made for using a family systems approach, this opening is of me working 1-1 with Kennedy. When I show this video, I like to emphasize that I’m using a “Strengths-based Approach” AND I’m also asking a series of questions that pull for Kennedy to talk about her distress. This is because clients generally need to talk about their distress before they can focus on strengths or solutions. Instead of practicing “toxic positivity” this approach emphasizes the need to come alongside and be empathic with client pain and distress.

Clip 2: A Trial Interpretation with Chase: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNBR3bKyE4I

Chase is a 35-year-old cisgender Gay male. In this brief excerpt, I try (somewhat poorly) to use a pattern interpretation to facilitate insight into his history of social relationships. Chase’s response is to dismiss my interpretation. Back in my psychoanalytic days, we talked about and used trial interpretations to gauge whether an abstract-oriented psychodynamic approach was a good fit for clients. Chase’s response is so dismissive that I immediately shift to using a very concrete approach to analyzing his social universe. Then, when Chase isn’t able to identify anyone who is validating, I use a strategy I call “Building hope from the bottom up” to help him start the brainstorming process.

A Visual of Chase’s Social Universe

A big thanks to psychotherapy.net and Victor Yalom for their support of this work.

As always, if you have thoughts or feedback on these clips or life in general, please feel free to share.

John S-F

Love, Sex, Racism, Suicide, Goal-Setting, Awards, Stories, Burnout, Flexibility, and the Whole Genome at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium Conference

The View from the Corner

As I type, Steven Hayes, the creator of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), is talking in a variety of voices about mindful acceptance. Earlier, he mentioned something about the whole human genome. In case you don’t already know, Steve is an older white guy. His writing about psychotherapy is fantastic. I really like his Ted talk. I’ve found his question, “What shall we do with our difficult thoughts?” an excellent prompt to reflect on.

Steve and I have a history. I’m glad to say that I’ve mindfully accepted that he missed his supervision appointment with me at AABT (now ABCT) back in 1987 in Los Angeles. Really. I’ve let go Steve standing me up, not because I’m all that good at forgiveness, but because him skipping out on our chance to meet makes for a better story. In fact, in this mindful moment, I’ve accepted him missing our meeting so completely that I have no urge to try to meet him today.

This is my first Networker “Symposium.” I hadn’t realized it was quite the distinctive thing. They’ve got numbers you can put on your badges to represent how many times you’ve attended the Symposium. Although it’s just a conference, it does have a particular flair and feel. From the beginning, there was movement, talk about love and sex-tech, dancing, singing, and learning. The breadth of content and diversity of attendees has been marvelous.

I started the first day with a workshop on Love and the Therapeutic relationship with Sabrina N’Diaye. Later, I took in a workshop on Tech-Sex with Tammy Nelson, author of Getting the Sex you Want. Nelson basically blew my mind. Did you know there are “devices” you can use to remotely vibrate your romantic partner’s genitalia? I didn’t . . . and maybe I didn’t want to. Did you know someone commented in the session that “Dominants” use that vibrating device to issue “commands?” I was sitting next to a professional cuddler and sexual surrogate. She was delightful. Steve Hayes (and Ram Dass) would be proud of the fact that I managed my difficult thoughts by staying in the here and now instead of trying to imagine her work or think about what the dominatrix had shared. Just saying. My mind remained as pure as the water of the Stillwater River.

There’s been lots of talk about racism at the Symposium. That’s a good thing. I’m better for it. The more we can all be less racist or anti-racist and aware of our biases, the better. Of course, while I’m typing this, my almost erstwhile buddy Steve continues to talk (and sometimes mumble). I’m aware (somewhat painfully) that I’m more “like” him in age and gender and ethnicity and can’t help but lament that (sorry Steve). Being an old white guy brings privilege (or advantage, as our first keynote speaker preferred). At the same time, looking in the mirror and seeing myself as just another old white guy also brings along gut-level unpleasantness.

Yesterday’s highlights were listening to Ester Perel (very smart, very articulate, very impressive) and learning more about Susan Johnson and her personal history of growing up in a Pub. We also listened to three young women talk about the couple therapy experiences that changed them. Fabulous.

One of my (many) take-aways from the past two days is for me to NOT be THAT old WHITE guy. I want to be a different white guy. How does that work? Among other things, I will try not to think too much of myself . . . or mumble.

Steve is now trying to get us all to love ourselves. That’s a nice idea. Someday, Steve, I hope to get there. But, to channel our Saturday morning Symposium keynote speaker, Emily Nagoski, most of the time, things just don’t fucking work.

Wait. I know that sounds negative. Among many of her excellent points about coping with burnout, Emily played a cool song (of her twin sister’s), a song liberally infused with the F-word. If you’ve ever experienced technology frustration (which I suppose even happens with sex-tech), you should listen. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eottd9Lw8l4 If you listen, don’t think about sex-tech at the same time. There’s no need to thank me for this great advice.

I’ve now abandoned Steve, in favor of one of the darling presenters of the Symposium and PESI. Sorry Steve . . . but I know you’ll mindfully accept your experience of me abandoning you. . . partly because you’ve never acknowledged my existence anyway (see, I’m totally over that 1987 incident).

There’s a woman talking . . . softly . . . without the changing voice routines of Steve Hayes. As she drones on, she mentions that therapy and therapists can be triggering. . . which is interesting given that I can’t find any affect in her voice. I’ve taken a seat on the floor in the back corner of the room and quickly recognized she’s right. She’s right because she instantly triggered me as I walked in the door with her monotone statement that talk therapy doesn’t work for trauma (what about CPT . . . or?). She continued to trigger me with her statement that PTSD was only identified in the 1970s (what about the diagnosis of war neurosis or battle fatigue or the many other earlier versions of PTSD?). And she finished triggering me with her laudatory comments on narrative therapy (does she NOT think of narrative therapy as “talk therapy?”).

I know my job here. Mindful acceptance. Learn what I can. Maybe the learning is about my own triggers or my own internal lament over being an increasingly irrelevant old white guy. Maybe the learning is about how to stay calm and embrace both ends of the constant dialectics and polarities of life.

On the whole, I’m so glad to be here at the Symposium, with Rita, and so grateful to continue learning. The fact that the conference has stimulated some of what Steve would call “difficult thoughts” is a blessing to be mindfully accepted. How else do we learn? How else do we grow? Should we expect to be constantly confronted with easy, comfortable, and affirming thoughts?

I think not. And I accept that . . . in my whole human genome.

The Foreword to The 15-Minute Case Conceptualization

Jon Sperry asked if I could write the foreword for a book he and his dad wrote with Oxford University Press.

Because the truth will set me free, I should admit, I’d never written a foreword before. More truth . . . I went ahead and said “Yes” to Jon because (a) I was honored and didn’t want the opportunity to write my first foreword slip away, (b) the book was (is) cool (it’s “The 15-Minute Case Conceptualization”), and (c) Jon Sperry is one of the nicest guys on the planet.

The book arrived in my mailbox yesterday. You too, can get a copy through your favorite bookseller. For more information, here’s the link to the book on the publisher’s website: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-15-minute-case-conceptualization-9780197517987?cc=us&lang=en&#

And for even more information about this excellent book, my first-ever foreword is below.

************************

I’ve needed this book for 30 years.

Just last month (before reading this book), I was standing in front of a Zoom camera, trying to teach the basics of case conceptualization to a group of 23 master’s and doctoral students. All of my fine-grained case conceptualization wisdom was being channeled into a single visual and verbal performance.

“My left hand,” I said, “is the client’s problem.” Pausing briefly for dramatic effect, I then continued, “and my right hand is the client’s goal.”

My new-found nonverbal gestures are mostly a function of seeing myself onscreen, and therefore wanting to avoid seeing myself (and being seen by the class) as boring. To add spice to my case conceptualization gesturing. “Case conceptualization is simple,” I said. “All it is, is the path we take to help clients move from their problem state . . . toward their goal state (I finished with a flourish, by wiggling the fingers on my raised right hand).”

But boiled down truths are always partly lies. Despite my fabulous mix of the verbal and nonverbal, I was lying to my students. At the time, I had thought of it as a little white lie, all for the higher purpose of simplification. And although I still like what I said and still believe in the rough truth of my visual case conceptualization description, after reading Len and Jon Sperry’s illuminating work on case conceptualization, I better understand what I should have said.

Case conceptualization is not simple. As the Sperry’s describe in this book, case conceptualization—even when summarized well—includes multiple dimensions of human behavior along with clinician perception, judgment, and decision-making. I needed much more than a few wiggly fingers to communicate the detailed nuances of case conceptualization.

What these authors have done in this book is the gracious service that great writers do so well: They have done our homework for us. They’ve read extensively, taken notes, and gifted us with elegant summaries of dense and complex concepts. They’ve made it easy for us to understand and apply the principles and practices of case conceptualization.

What I might like best is how they transformed a bulky and inconsistent literature into simple, therapist-friendly principles. They emphasize the explanatory, tailoring, and predictive powers of case conceptualization. I’ve never organized case conceptualizations using those “powers” but doing so was like switching on a light-bulb. Of course, case conceptualizations should explain the relationships between client problems and client goals and shine a bright light along the path, but rarely do theorists or writers make this linkage so efficiently. Their second principle, “tailoring” case conceptualizations to individual and diverse clients, is an essential, idiographic, Adlerian idea. The whole idea of tailoring counters the all-too-frequent cook-book approach to case conceptualization. Tailoring breathes life into creating client-specific case conceptualizations. And of course, case conceptualizations need predictive power; Len and Jon equip us with enough foundational predictive language to improve how we evaluate our own work.

Many other examples of how elegantly the authors have done our homework are sprinkled throughout this book. Here’s another of my favorite examples.

In chapter 2, they take us (in a few succinct paragraphs) from what Theodore Millon described as eight evolutionarily-driven personality disorders to eight crisply described behavioral patterns. What I love about this is that Len and Jon’s wisdom transforms what might otherwise be viewed as a pathologizing personality disorder system into language that can be used collaboratively with clients to identify contextually maladaptive interpersonal patterns. This is a beautiful transformation because it spins psychopathology into something clients not only understand but will feel compelled to embrace. The process goes something like this:

  1. Therapist and client engage in an assessment process that touches on the client’s repeating maladaptive behavior patterns. These behavior patterns are palpably troubling and far less than optimal for the client.
  2. As all clinicians inherently know, touching upon clients’ repetitive maladaptive behavior patterns can activate client vulnerability. This is a primary challenge of all counseling and psychotherapy: How can we nudge clients toward awareness without simultaneously activating resistance? For decades, psychoanalysts managed this through cautious trial interpretations. Solution-focused therapists dealt with this by never speaking of problems. Gently coaxing ambivalent clients toward awareness and change is the whole point of motivational interviewing.
  3. When addressed in a sensitive and non-pathologizing way, deep maladaptive behavior patterns can be discussed without activating resistance or excessive emotionality. This is a critical and not often discussed part of case conceptualization. Len and Jon illuminate a path for gentle, sensitive, and collaborative case conceptualization.
  4. When clients can feel, recognize, and embrace their maladaptive behavioral patterns in the context of an accepting therapeutic relationship, insight is possible. In the tradition of Adlerian therapy, when insight happens, client interest is piqued and motivation to change spikes. Good case conceptualizations articulate problem patterns in ways that compel clients to invest in change.

I’m not surprised that Len and Jon Sperry have produced such a magnificently helpful book. If you dig into their backgrounds and conduct a case conceptualization of their personality patterns, you’ll discover they wholeheartedly embrace Alfred Adler’s work and consequently, much of what they do is all about social interest or Gemeinschaftsgefühl. Len and Jon Sperry are in the business of helping others. Reading their book has already helped me become better at teaching case conceptualization. I appreciate their work, and, no doubt, the next time I begin waving my hands in front of my Zoom camera, my students will appreciate their work too.

John Sommers-Flanagan – Missoula, MT

Vid-Podding with Francesca on “Normalize the Conversation”

Apparently, video podcasts are the thing. Or maybe they’ve been a thing for a while. . . or at least since early 2020 and the onset of the Zoom age. I think we should call them vid-pods.

Two weeks ago, I promoted a vid-pod with Paula Fontenelle, Stacey Freedenthal, and me. It was Paula’s vid-pod, titled “Understand Suicide.” Paula is very experienced, very knowledgeable and produces great vid-pods. You can check out all her work, including her podcast (aka vid-pod) at: https://www.understandsuicide.com/

Late last year, Victor Yalom of Psychotherapy.net asked if he could connect me for a possible appearance on a vid-pod called “Normalize the Conversation.” Normalize the Conversation is the brain-child of Francesca Reicherter. Francesca is also the Founder and President of “Inspiring My Generation.” I think Victor wanted me to promote our 7.5-hour marathon Suicide Assessment and Treatment video training series with Psychotherapy.net. . . so here’s the link to that: https://www.psychotherapy.net/videos/expert/john-sommers-flanagan

In contrast to Paula, Stacey, Victor, and me, Francesca is very young. . . and she’s a powerhouse. I’m not sure where she finds the time to do all that she’s doing. She’s 23, but started her mental health advocacy work at age 12. She has published a workbook, founded her own organization, and has over 60 vid-pod episodes online. She’s also a graduate student. You can read more about Francesca here: https://inspiringmygeneration.org/2021/05/28/francesca-reicherter-starting-the-conversation-on-mental-health-conditions/

You can also check out all her vid-pods at: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/normalize-the-conversation/id1587903841 – The vid-pod with me is from February 2, 2022 and here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/what-you-should-know-about-the-clinical-interview/id1587903841?i=1000549745008

Francesca and I did a recording together and she did a bunch of editing and promoting and this past week she sent me some video clips of our time together. What you’ll immediately notice in the video clips is that Francesca is an artist at getting people to talk. Throughout the clips, I’m talking and she’s not. Somehow, she got me to talk for about 47 minutes (although she did some nice summaries and commentary here and there). If my experience is at all representative, I suspect Francesca will be a talented therapist and fabulous listener.

You can check out the vid-pod clips below, but more importantly, check out all the amazing work of Paula, Stacey, Victor, and Francesca . . . all of whom are making the world a place where supportive and quality mental health services are more accessible.

Feeling Happy About (and a little jealous of) Craig Bryan’s New Book, “Rethinking Suicide”

While engaged in a little late-night Twitter scrolling, I came across a fascinating post and thread questioning the utility of suicide screening for low risk populations (e.g., schools). Having been mildly opposed (along with the UK and Canada), to general population suicide screenings, I felt validated, especially upon discovering that Craig Bryan was author of the Twitter thread. Dr. Bryan is one of the best and most authoritative resources on suicide in the world. As of two nights ago, I was only familiar with his professional book with David Rudd (Brief cognitive-behavior therapy for suicide prevention) and his excellent work with military veterans, suicide, and lethal means management. I also knew he had recently published a new book titled, “Rethinking Suicide.”

Then, today, I checked out Rethinking Suicide online. I was gob smacked. It’s fantastic.

This post is mostly to pitch Craig Bryan’s book.

Among other gems, Dr. Bryan frames suicide prevention as a “wicked problem” and tells us about the origin of the term, wicked problem. What’s not to love about that.

Here’s a quote from his introduction: “Consistent with the perspective of suicide as a wicked problem, I will argue in this book that we need to replace our solution-based approach to suicide prevention with a process-based approach focused on creating and building lives worth living” (p. 7). Wow. That’s like music to my ears.

Dr. Bryan also weaves in “confirmation bias” (more music) as part of his critique of using so-called “mental illness” as an explanatory mechanism in suicide (I know if you know me and this blog, you know I don’t even use the term mental illness unless I’m explaining why I don’t use the term mental illness, and so I’m destined to love Dr. Bryan’s deconstruction of that concept).

Anyway, you can find Rethinking Suicide through your favorite online bookseller. I recommend it highly. I’ve ordered my copy.  It’s about time we all started rethinking suicide.  

Promo and Discount for the Upcoming Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Hi All,

I’d like to invite you to join me at this year’s Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, where I’ll be speaking alongside over 60 of the world’s leading therapists and experts.  

The Symposium is a special place where you not only learn with many of the best in the world and dive into what’s new in the field, but also where you can join a warm community of like-minded professionals to rest, rejuvenate, and be inspired for the year to come.  

And as a subscriber to my blog, you can save an extra $50 on registration when you use code SYM50 to attend in-person or online. Learn more here https://web.cvent.com/event/03998a0b-77a0-4ed6-a384-677316bf7d0d/websitePage:b2f73631-8191-4d29-9042-4dae64d267b1?RefId=jflanagan

This year’s keynote presenters include: 

  • Esther Perel, renowned couple therapist and author of Mating in Captivity and The State of Affairs 
  • Steven Hayes, developer of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy 
  • Resmaa Menakem, author of NYT Bestseller My Grandmother’s Hands 
  • Emily Nagoski, NYT Bestselling author of Come as You Are and Burnout 
  • Ramani Durvasula, author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist. 
  • Rev. angel Kyodo Williams, critically acclaimed author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace hailed as “a classic” by Buddhist pioneer and psychologist Jack Kornfield. 

For those interested, there’s also a special evening appearance from comedian Gary Gulman, host of the acclaimed HBO comedy special and documentary, The Great Depresh

Check out the entire lineup and register for the in-person or online experience here: https://web.cvent.com/event/03998a0b-77a0-4ed6-a384-677316bf7d0d/websitePage:b2f73631-8191-4d29-9042-4dae64d267b1?RefId=jflanagan

The Symposium is a pretty cool event and I’m honored to be presenting (twice). Although I can’t figure out why they didn’t include me among the keynoters (hahaha, just joking), the keynote lineup is very impressive.

I hope to see you there either in-person or online! 

All my best,

John SF

Banned Books, Critical Race Theory, and My Cold, Dead Hands

Book banning and book burning is an old strategy designed to control information. Stephen King—the famous author and Twitter presence (https://twitter.com/StephenKing)—recommends (I’m paraphrasing here) that everyone rush out and buy and read banned books, because they contain important knowledge.

I’ve been disappointed at efforts by state legislatures, governors, school superintendents, parents, and others who have been involved in book banning, as well as any or all of the above who have suggested that critical race theory (CRT) shouldn’t be taught in colleges and universities (it’s not really taught in any formal or in-depth way in K-12 schools, but even if it were, why not?).

CRT, books, and other sources of knowledge offer perspectives. A couple days ago, I received an email from a professor and student offering me feedback on a paragraph in our counseling theories text. From the student’s perspective, the paragraph felt anti-Semitic. I pulled up the paragraph on my computer, read it, and although I didn’t see it exactly the same way as the student, she had an important point—the passage could be taken in a negative way. I emailed the student and her professor and thanked them for the feedback, noting we’ll change that paragraph in the next edition.

One goal that Rita and I have in writing textbooks is to be inclusive, accessible, and non-racist/non-sexist. Although I’m sure we always fall short of our ultimate goal, in isolation and without feedback from others, we could never even come close to or make progress in accomplishing our inclusiveness goal. We were grateful to receive the feedback. Another goal we have is to keep learning. This experience, and many others, leads me to think that there may be no better way to learn, than to listen to the perspectives of others. Why not? Where’s the benefit in closing our ears and being defensive.

Just to be clear, I’m opposed to banning books; I’m opposed to limiting the teaching of CRT; and I’m opposed to other people trying to control information available to me and others. My best guess is that when other people try to control information, they probably fear the information. Why? I don’t know, but IMHO, putting our collective heads in the sand (this brings to mind the movie, “Don’t Look Up”) is NOT a particularly useful strategy for dealing with fears. 

I teach theories all the time. At the University of Montana, I’ve taught Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy nearly every fall semester for many years. Rita and I have a textbook on theories of counseling and psychotherapy published by John Wiley & Sons. All the hubbub over CRT has convinced me that I need to commit myself to teaching more CRT concepts in my theories course. Like all theories, I’ll treat it like a theory we can learn from.

Last week we had a visit from a university faculty person from a state where professors are being coerced into not teaching CRT. Hearing him talk about this experience made me wonder how I’d handle it if I was told I shouldn’t teach CRT at UM. Obviously, I don’t know my exact response to that scenario, and I hope it never develops, but my best hypothesis, based on a little personal theorizing, is that I’d get fired or go to jail before I agreed to NOT teach CRT, because it’s a theory, a perspective (and not the only one), from which we should all strive to learn.

I know I’m being overly dramatic, but I strongly believe that learning from the perspectives of others is a good thing. I don’t plan on stopping. To steal (and modify) an old line from the NRA: I’ll give you my banned books and theories when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.

Just saying.

How on Earth Could Suicide Rates Go Down Along with the Onset of the Pandemic in 2020?

Last week I got to be part of an amazing conversation with Paula Fontenelle and Stacey Freedenthal. Paula and Stacey are experts in suicide prevention, postvention, and treatment. You can easily find them and some of their great work online using your favorite search engine. They both have books out. Paula’s is: Understanding Suicide and Stacey’s is: Helping the Suicidal Person.

Paula invited Stacey and I onto her podcast (which is also a video production). We all sat in separate rooms in three different states (Oregon, Colorado, and Montana) and talked about, “How on earth” it could be that pandemic-related mental health stress and distress is up (the research says so), and yet suicide rates in 2020 dipped, for the first time in two decades? What a great question!

Between the three of us, we had many answers. That’s good, because death by suicide is always influenced by many factors (in the scientific world, we like to say that suicide is multi-determined). Our answers are speculative, but I think it’s good to be speculative, as long as you admit to the fact that you’re being speculative.

The most fascinating of many fascinating explanations for the recent reduction in suicide rates was our “in real time” discovery that the pandemic relief checks went out in April of 2020. That was important because, year-after-year, the CDC reports that April is nearly ALWAYS the month with the highest suicide rates and in 2020, it was the LOWEST. Why is April always linked to high suicide rates? No one knows for sure, but Paula, Stacey, and I talk about potential explanations for that too. As T. S. Eliot wrote:

“April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”

If you’re interested in suicide-related phenomena—not everyone is—you should listen or watch Paula’s “Understand Suicide” podcast. You can watch any of the episodes for great info, but for our episode, here are the links.

To watch: https://youtu.be/fPrDdQg7G_E

To listen: https://bit.ly/3KrJILO

Have a great weekend.

Two New Theories Homework Assignments and Links to Old Theories Resources

My apologies for some bad links when I posted this yesterday. I tried a different linking strategy and it seemed to work on my computer, but not so much for anyone else. Sorry for your inconvenience! And embarrassed for myself.

John Sommers-Flanagan

For the past two years I’ve been using some new theories course assignments and am sharing them here.

New Assignments

The first new homework assignment is called: Multicultural Competence, Multicultural Humility, and Me.  I use this as an early (about week 3) writing assignment for first-year, first-semester M.A. students. I like using it because it gives me a taste of their writing skills, while also introducing them to foundational multicultural content. I have been consistently impressed with the students’ sensitivity to culture and desires to be humble, lifelong learners when it comes to cultural diversity.

The second new homework assignment is for students to take the long form of my Theoretical Orientation test during week 1 and then to retake it during week 15. I have them compare their scores and declare up to three “favorite” theoretical perspectives. Like the multicultural paper, this assignment has produced very interesting…

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Two New Theories Homework Assignments and Links to Old Theories Resources

For the past two years I’ve been using some new theories course assignments and am sharing them here.

New Assignments

The first new homework assignment is called: Multicultural Competence, Multicultural Humility, and Me.  I use this as an early (about week 3) writing assignment for first-year, first-semester M.A. students. I like using it because it gives me a taste of their writing skills, while also introducing them to foundational multicultural content. I have been consistently impressed with the students’ sensitivity to culture and desires to be humble, lifelong learners when it comes to cultural diversity.

The second new homework assignment is for students to take the long form of my Theoretical Orientation test during week 1 and then to retake it during week 15. I have them compare their scores and declare up to three “favorite” theoretical perspectives. Like the multicultural paper, this assignment has produced very interesting (and relatively fun to read) reflections from our students.

Old Resources

If you’re new to teaching or haven’t caught my previous postings for Theories resources, below are some links to materials I’ve found useful. As I’ve said before, although it’s great if you use our Theories text (woohoo), you can also use all these materials in combination with whatever text you’re using. I’m aware of many other strong textbooks—although my bet is that ours is the leader in theories jokes and humor and is probably the most well-liked by students (but I might be biased!).

Theories Course Syllabus

Here’s a link to my most recent syllabus:

Videos

I have a previous blog with links to free videos on my Youtube site. That link is below:

Although we have an excellent theories-specific video series, you need to adopt our text to access them.

Lab Activities

If you want these, email me at john.sf@mso.umt.edu and I’ll email them to you at my earliest convenience.

Good luck in your teaching this semester. I know the challenges are big, but the process of witnessing and participating in student learning is a big positive reinforcement.