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Listening to the Body's Story

In Couples Therapy, Sitting With Sensations Can Have a Surprising Effect

Molly Layton • 3/8/2018 • 1 Comment

By Molly Layton - Even with two people sitting quietly, an interpersonal space isn't an empty space—it's alive with a peculiar quality. These days, in certain intractable situations, I keep discovering how much getting couples to focus on the immediacy of their bodily sensations can change the entire flow and direction of what takes place in my office.

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Couples Therapy with a Positive Spin

How to Accomplish Something in Every Session

Ellen Wachtel • 3/2/2018 • No Comments

By Ellen Wachtel - Doing couples therapy isn’t easy. But often there are implicit positives in statements in which the main point is anger, disappointment, and hurt. With practice, therapists can learn to pick up on the strengths that are embedded in painful emotions.

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How To Stop Couples Conflict Before It Even Starts

...And the Five Life Factors That Contribute to Intensifying Anger Arousal

W. Robert Nay • 2/27/2018 • No Comments

By W. Robert Nay - Therapy often involves entirely too much talking about new skills the client should put into place, but not enough rehearsing. Just as exposure training reduces anxiety to feared situations, having couples rehearse conflict makes them feel less threatened as they learn new ways of responding to old anger triggers.

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Five Ways to Maintain Gains in Couples Therapy

...And the First Question You Need to Ask Relapsing Partners

Jon Carlson • 2/16/2018 • No Comments

By Jon Carlson - Couples therapists need to be aware of the strategies that prevent relapse, so that short-term successes don't become long-term failures, and to address those areas in the initial therapy with the couple. However, if gains are not maintained, here are five areas of treatment you may need to revisit.

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What Attunement Really Looks Like

Step One: Confronting Your Own Limitations

Molly Layton • 2/1/2018 • 1 Comment

By Molly Layton - The longer I practice, the more I'm struck with the importance of tolerant, hovering attentiveness that looks, Janus-faced, both outwardly at the client and inwardly toward the therapist's own processes.

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What's In a Kiss?

Helping Couples Decode the Language of Their Sexuality

David Schnarch • 1/18/2018 • No Comments

By 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. These couples need to understand that the ways they show physical affection is a remarkably salient and authentic expression of themselves and their feelings for each other.

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Couples Therapy with One Partner: Can It Work?

Creating the Beginnings of a "Solution Avalanche"

Michele Weiner-Davis • 1/11/2018 • 2 Comments

By Michele Weiner-Davis - How is it possible to do couples therapy with just one partner? We clinicians communicate our presuppositions about people and how they change when we do our work. If we begin therapy with a "this is better than nothing" attitude, we undoubtedly broadcast a pessimistic message about the possibilities for change.

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What Talking About Fantasy Can Do for Couples Therapy

...And Four Questions to Get the Conversation Started

Tammy Nelson • 1/5/2018 • 1 Comment

By Tammy Nelson - Sexual boredom often results from the assumption by each partner that there's no longer anything new to discover about the other, or about their sex life together. I've found that a therapist can alleviate such sexual ennui by helping each partner reveal previously undisclosed erotic fantasies. This apparently simple step can lead to new ways of seeing and experiencing the partner and the self.

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How Commitment Really Works

The Two Most Common Mistakes Struggling Couples Make

Gay Hendricks • 12/19/2017 • 1 Comment

By Gay Hendricks - Therapists who understand and apply two concepts about commitment—that the results you get reveal the actual commitment you've made, and to make a change in a relationship, each participant must take 100 percent responsibility for the current situation—can eliminate a great deal of energy-draining work in the treatment of couples.

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The Core of Couples Therapy

Why Homework is So Important, and Six Ways to Make Sure Your Clients Do It

David Treadway • 12/11/2017 • 2 Comments

By David Treadway - Over the years, the couples in my practice who’ve actually done homework exercises have reported communicating better and being more affectionate and more supportive of each other than couples who haven’t. To make sure I’m successful in motivating them, I use these six techniques.

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