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Putting an End to the Blame Game

A Tool for Helping Partners See Both Sides

Alicia Muñoz

By Alicia Muñoz - Giving up being right doesn’t mean you give up your convictions. It means honoring a multiplicity of viewpoints. Rumi says, “Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there.” For couples, this garden is their relationship.

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Resisting the Seduction of "Otherness"

...Once Upon a Time in a Diversity Training Session

Ken Hardy

By Ken Hardy - When I got my doctorate in family therapy, I went to work in community-based organizations, believing that I'd change the world. Today, I realize that my work is about helping people see the insidious impact of the "otherness process." Our task poses formidable challenges, but failing to resist the seductions of "otherness" is failing at a fundamental principle of our work.

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Raising Boys Right

How to Help Closed-Off Young Men Cross the Communication Divide

Adam Cox

By Adam Cox - As we raise and support the next generation of boys, it's vital that we give them the tools to be full participants in society by helping them find the words to define themselves and relate to others. To do so, therapists and parents alike must explore new means of engaging silent youngsters, going beyond the business-as-usual inquiries about thoughts and feelings.

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Is Asking for a Pre-nup a Relationship Killer?

Here's a Mirroring Exercise to Help Partners Empathize and Compromise

Olivia Mellan

By Olivia Mellan - After years of doing therapy and coaching in areas relating to money conflicts, I've discovered one constant about prenuptial agreements: whoever broaches the subject is labeled the bad partner. Yet prenuptial agreements have a role to play in helping couples plan and commit to their future together, particularly when they've been married previously. When handled well, they can even make a marriage stronger.

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VIDEO: Julie Gottman on Making Couples' Life Dreams Come True

The Importance of Creating "Shared Meaning"

Julie Gottman

According to renowned couples therapist Julie Gottman, one of the main predictors of a romantic relationship's success or failure is how well partners can dialogue about their differences. In the following clip from her 2015 Networker Symposium keynote, Gottman explains what a healthy dialogue looks like, and how it fosters "shared meaning."

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We Weren't Meant to Live in "Screenworld"

Why Therapy is the Counterculture We Need

Michael Ventura

By Michael Ventura - Nowadays, you see screens at checkout counters and laundromats, in restaurants and waiting rooms, and on the dashboards of cars and in their back seats. Isn't there something peculiarly disembodied about it? How does one find or grow a sense of centeredness amid this continually shifting screenscape? Psychotherapy, by its nature and purpose, is Counter-Screenworld.

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Can Open Relationships Ever Work—and When Should Therapists Support Them?

Helping Your Clients Create a Relationship "Contract"

Rick Miller

By Rick Miller - Partners who are basically healthy as individuals and stable as a couple may benefit from an open relationship. Even in our highly sexualized society, alternative arrangements such as open relationships may seem alien and intimidating to many people, but as therapists, our challenge is to be less prudish and frightened by potentially negative outcomes.

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Tools for Managing Effective Couples Therapy

Bringing Struggling Couples Out of Their Comfort Zones

Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson

If we now recognize how inescapably relational and interconnected people are, why do most of us continue to work primarily with individuals---most of whom grapple with serious, persistent problems in their intimate relationships? Part of the reason, of course, is that so many clients themselves avoid couples therapy. Sometimes they resist because they aren't motivated, or because they fear the unpleasant things their partners might say about them. Being an effective couples therapist requires us to develop skills we may not come by naturally and to spend a lot of time feeling unsure of our capabilities.

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Case Study: When Couples Therapy Causes Emotional Pain

Coming to Terms with Inflicting Emotional Pain in Order to Provide Good Couples Therapy

Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson

We don’t become therapists to inflict emotional pain, but eventually we learn that sadness, anger, shock, and disillusionment can be part and parcel of therapy with couples in serious trouble. Good couples therapy sometimes hurts.

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