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Getting Real in Couples Therapy

Ignoring the Destructive Patterns in Front of Us Does Our Clients a Disservice

Terry Real

By Terry Real - It's disrespectful to clients not to let them in on the truth about what we witness regularly in our offices as they play out their relationships in front of us: the ways they deal with their partners are often self-centered, unfeeling, and counterproductive. I believe that in order to teach our clients how to be authentic and connected, we must be real with them ourselves.

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The Resurgence of Patriarchy

Why We Need to Leave Neutrality Behind

Terry Real

By Terry Real - Factions of men and women these days are feeling a powerful pull toward many of the notions of traditional masculinity. What we’re witnessing is a reassertion of its most difficult and harmful traits. And yet we psychotherapists, as a field, have remained largely silent about this resurgence. Is neutrality in these times really in our clients’ best interests?

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VIDEO: Terry Real Shares His Most Memorable Therapeutic Moment

The Found and the Lost

Terry Real

Many people wonder how therapists manage to do the work they do. Of the thousands of meaningful sessions that take place in a therapist’s office, certain ones stand out. In the following video from the 2016 Symposium, renowned couples therapist Terry Real shares a memorable moment from his own work.

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Should You Take Sides in Couples Therapy?

Why Psychotherapy's Views on Male Intimacy Need to Change

Terry Real

By Terry Real - The pressure to be hard, logical, independent, and stoic all too often sets men up to be emotionally distant, arrogant, and numb to their own feelings. These aren't pathological aberrations; they're the defining characteristics of manhood in our culture. That's why I break one of marital therapy's cardinal rules. I side with the woman.

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Why Neutrality Is Sabotaging Couples Therapy

Sometimes Taking Sides Gets to the Heart of Conflict

Terry Real

By Terry Real - My own experience as a couples therapist has taught me that we aren't doing clients a favor by soft-pedaling difficult issues, despite what my early supervisors tried to instill in me. More than adopting any particular methodology of change, we can be far more direct and challenging to the clients who come to us than we've previously acknowledged. By and large, people are neither fragile nor stupid. If you show them how they're getting in their own way and what behaving more skillfully looks like, they'll be grateful.

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The 2016 Election Is Raising Ethical Concerns for Therapists

Is There a Place for Politics in Therapy?

Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - It's almost a cardinal rule that therapy and politics don’t mix. However, concerned about the stakes in this year’s presidential election, some therapists are wondering whether they have a professional, and even moral, obligation to bring politics into the consulting room.

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Rowing to Nowhere

When is Enough Enough?

Terry Real

We spend countless hours focused on how best to keep couples together, but rarely pay much attention to how to best help them split up. And we spend even less time examining how our own emotional reactions can influence their decision about whether to divorce.

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Putting Divorce on the Table in Couples Therapy

How to Tell When Splitting Up is the Best Option for a Failing Marriage

Terry Real

Some marriages' endings have broken my heart, made me look hard at my technique, and wonder what I might have done differently. But when I believed the couple, the therapy, and even the children were better served by the partners’ letting go, I’ve breathed a sigh of relief. In other words, I don’t see my job as stitching every couple together no matter what. Sometimes, in fact, my job turns out not to be forestalling the dissolution of a family, but facilitating it.

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Couples Therapy, Brainspotting, and Truth in Love

Testimonials from the 2015 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Symposium Student Scholars

I had the pleasure of attending the Brainspotting seminar with David Grand today. What fresh and amazing information! I am drawn to anything that involves the brain because it brings the scientific information I need to the often less concrete world of talk therapy. Brainspotting is a process by which the client can access encapsulated trauma or other mental health issues without using extensive "talk therapy." Knowing that clients can often get wrapped up in telling stories, accessing the information using BSP gives clients another way to process their distress without going too deeply into the narrative. I also appreciated that BSP is exceptionally client-driven. Therapists are encouraged to "be the tail of the comet." The client, BSP teaches, "is the head."

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Defusing Male Shame

Psychotherapy Networker

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