The Therapeutic “Aha!” 10 Strategies for getting your clients unstuck


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A concise guide to shaking things up in therapy.

Courtney Armstrong’s The Therapeutic “Aha!” explores the thrilling and rare moment when a client reaches an elusive realization, allowing them to make meaningful change. In 10 straightforward strategies, this practical book demonstrates how to shake things up in therapy when a client is stuck or stalled to jumpstart progress. Readers will learn how to spark the “emotional brain”—the part of the brain that houses automatic, unconscious patterns—and create new neural pathways that engage and advance the healing process.

Divided into three parts—(1) Awakening a Session, (2) Healing Emotional Wounds, and (3) Activating Experiential Change—the book walks readers through specific techniques for harnessing the emotional brain and re-patterning its routine. Elegant therapeutic insights and coping strategies only go so far; until we intervene with something our emotional brain can understand—a compelling felt experience—old, established neural patterns will persist. The brain-based strategies Armstrong presents include how to enliven the therapeutic alliance; elicit exciting goals; identify the root of an emotional conflict; reverse trauma with memory reconsolidation; invoke inspirational imagery; and use stories, humor, music, poetry, and even mindfulness to induce change.

Concise, reader-friendly, and filled with helpful case stories and client–therapist dialogue, this wonderfully accessible book puts a new spin on neuroscience knowledge, showing clinicians exactly how it can be used to make those once-elusive therapeutic breakthroughs more frequent, leading to greater healing for your patients.


Introduction: The Power of Emotion

Part I: Awakening a Session

  • 1. Engaging the Emotional Brain
  • 2. Enlivening the Therapeutic Alliance
  • 3. Eliciting Exciting Goals

Part II: Healing Emotional Wounds

  • 4. Locating the Root of an Emotional Conflict
  • 5. Reversing Trauma With Memory Reconsolidation

Part III: Activating Experiential Change

  • 6. Invoking Inspirational Imagery
  • 7. Conjuring Up Compelling Stories
  • 8. Priming With Play and Humor
  • 9. Rousing With Rhythm, Music, and Poetry
  • 10. Integrating Mindful Movement
  • 11. Putting It All Together

Author Bio:

Courtney Armstrong, MEd, a licensed professional counsellor, lives in Hixson, Tennessee. She gives national trainings and workshops on a variety of topics for mental health professionals. She also contributes to Psychotherapy Networker and other books and journals and has made several radio and TV appearances for her expertise in grief and trauma.