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When Three Threatens Two

Must Parenthood Bring Down the Curtain on Romance?

Esther Perel

By Esther Perel - Sex makes babies. So it is ironic that the child, the embodiment of the couple's love, so often threatens the very romance that brought that child into being. But the brave and determined couple who maintains an erotic connection is, above all, the couple who values it. They know that it's not children who extinguish the flame of desire: it's adults who fail to keep the spark alive.

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A Special Daughter's Special Night

A Personal Essay from our Family Matters Department

Richard Holloway

By Richard Holloway - My daughter is beautiful: she has long, flowing, blonde hair, blue eyes, elegant features, and stands about 5’ 10” tall. She’s now 18, a senior, and this June will be her graduation. It’s a prospect I greet with mixed emotions. She’s autistic and has difficulty with everyday interactions and expressing herself coherently. So in the winter of her junior year, even though the prom was just around the corner, we never imagined she’d go. (A personal essay from our Family Matters department)

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A Child’s Respect is Bestowed, Not Extracted

How Much Parental Authority Do We Really Need?

Janet Sasson Edgette

By Janet Sasson Edgette - Preoccupied with commanding deference, some parents fail to recognize that a child’s respect is always something bestowed, not extracted. Thus, they end up forfeiting the opportunity to remain credible influences on their children in favor of levying control, which is a poor and costly approach to relationship building.

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Are You a "Permaparent"?

Your Adult Child Just Moved Back Home. But Is It Normal?

Martha Straus

By Martha Straus - Today, about 25 million young adults between between 18 and 34 are currently residing with their parents. In its basic form, this story holds that most emerging adults still living at home are wretched, entitled, or manipulative. But the new bungee family offers emerging adults---and our fragmented social fabric---a healing alternative, one that's injecting the best social capital available into the human mix.

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Raising Healthy Children Through Parent Communities

Strategies for Raising and Disciplining Children in the 21st Century

Ron Taffel

On top of losing faith in a secure future, mothers and fathers deal with everyday dilemmas that make a joke of traditional rules and childrearing practices. Unfortunately, many therapists still seem to believe that reliable solutions to the problems families face can be readily found in standard evidence-based protocols. But mental health workers underestimate the importance of having people discuss ordinary concerns on their own turf---in churches, synagogues, and community centers. There’s nothing like understanding that you’re not alone to raise the spirits and strengthen the spine.

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How to Keep Sex in Marriage After Childbirth

Esther Perel on Maintaining the Romantic Spark After Children

Esther Perel

Sex makes babies. So it is ironic that the child, the embodiment of the couple's love, so often threatens the very romance that brought that child into being. Sex, which sets the entire enterprise in motion, is often abandoned once children enter the picture. But the brave and determined couple who maintains an erotic connection is, above all, the couple who values it. When they sense desire in crisis, they become industrious, and make intentional, diligent attempts to resuscitate. They know that it's not children who extinguish the flame of desire: it's adults who fail to keep the spark alive.

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Restoring Emotional Connection: A Different Sex Therapy

David Schnarch on Great Sex through Emotional Intimacy

David Schnarch

Over the years, I've worked with many couples who complain bitterly that the other kisses, touches, fondles, caresses, or strokes the "wrong" way. I used to take these complaints at face value, trying to help the couple solve their problems through various forms of marital bargaining, until I realized that their sexual dissatisfactions didn't stem from ignorance, ineptitude, or a "failure to communicate." Instead of trying to spackle over these normal and typical "dysfunctional" sexual patterns with a heavy coat of how-to lessons, I have learned that it makes much more sense to help the couple analyze their behavior, to look for the meaning of what they were already doing before they focused on changing the mechanics.

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Journaling Exercises to Do Better Therapy

Brad Sachs on Creative Writing to Bolster Your Therapeutic Technique

Brad Sachs

While therapists are generally trained to focus on preparing case notes that are clinical and objective, confining ourselves to this format severely restricts the creative potential of the process. While many clinicians encourage their patients to keep a journal, draft real or imaginary letters to family members, and compose poetry, few clinicians use creative writing in their own work. But at its core, creative writing brings into awareness a conversation between what's alive and what's dying in ourselves, what's limiting and free, what's observable and shadowy.

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Passionate Marriage

Helping Couples Decode the Language of Their Sexuality

David Schnarch

Over the years, I've worked with many couples who complain bitterly that the other kisses or touches, fondles, caresses, strokes the "wrong" way. I used to take these complaints at face value, trying to help the couple solve their problems through various forms of marital bargaining, until I realized that their sexual dissatisfactions didn't stem from ignorance, ineptitude, or a "failure to communicate." Instead of trying to spackle over these normal and typical "dysfunctional" sexual patterns with a heavy coat of how-to lessons, I have learned that it makes much more sense to help the couple analyze their behavior, to look for the meaning of what they were already doing before they focused on changing the mechanics.

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The Divided Self

Inside the World of 21st Century Teens

Ron Taffel

While at first glance, 21st-century adolescents appear impossibly cool--cooler than we could have ever been ourselves--teens today are running hot. They're not just hormonally hot, but hot with cultural forces that have redefined the nature of their consciousness and experience of selfhood. Millennium kids live in a context that spawns fragmentation, what I call a "divided-self" experience: cool and often cruel on the surface, they hide surprisingly healthy passions beneath.

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