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Is Consensual Nonmonogamy Right for Your Clients?

...And Why Nonmonogamous Couples Tend to Avoid Couples Therapists Like the Plague

Margaret Nichols • 2/12/2018 • No Comments

By Margaret Nichols - In past decades, the only alternatives to involuntary celibacy in a relationship were affairs or divorce. But increasingly, people, including therapists, are recognizing there’s another option: consensual nonmonogamy. The idea isn’t new, but nonmonogamy is threatening to a lot of therapists for the same reason it’s threatening to most people: we instinctively want to believe that these unconventional relationships are flawed.

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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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When Male Partners Won't Open Up

Helping Closed-Off Men See Vulnerability as a Path to Healthier Relationships

George Faller • 1/15/2018 • No Comments

By George Faller - Many of our clients, especially men, believe in the traditional definition of vulnerability: a state of weakness that leads to being open to attack. But vulnerability is the language of emotionally connected beings, and like a powerful magnet, pain, doubt, fear, mistrust, and other vulnerable states bring forth new opportunities for deep intimacy and transformation, especially in work with couples.

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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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The Silver Lining in Failure

Not Every Teachable Moment Has to Be a Successful One

Cloe Madanes • 1/4/2018 • 1 Comment

By Cloe Madanes - The problem with a failure is that one doesn't really understand why one failed. If one did, it wouldn't have been a failure. But I'm not giving up on my toughest client, Bob. There's one strategy I still haven't used.

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Could You Connect with This Client?

A Guide to Doing Couples Therapy When One Partner Won't Open Up

Kathryn Rheem • 12/26/2017 • 1 Comment

By Kathryn Rheem - Probably no aspect of couples work is more critical, or more difficult, for therapists than engaging a distant, emotionally shutdown partner. Since the feelings being avoided are often regarded as terrifying, humiliating, and deeply threatening, doing this work is a delicate therapeutic balancing act. It requires moving forward with both gentleness and persistence, without being deflected by clients’ profound unwillingness to become engaged.

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Esther Perel’s Growing Cultural Presence

Expanding the Conversation on Couplehood

Lauren Dockett, Rich Simon • 10/28/2017 • No Comments

By Lauren Dockett and Rich Simon - By questioning some of the fundamental premises of traditional marriage, couples therapist Esther Perel has become, at least for the moment, psychotherapy’s public face and most quotable voice. But what is she saying that’s so intriguing and makes her stand out from all the other relationship experts our field produces?

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The New Anatomy of Emotion

How Brain Science Can Teach Couples Emotional Literacy

Brent Atkinson • 10/5/2017 • 1 Comment

By Brent Atkinson - Even among couples who do make progress in therapy, a disheartening chunk relapse. Why? A lack of emotional literacy. Good clinicians help couples effectively calm their anger and fear circuits as well as stimulate the more vulnerable, connection-generating states. The therapist acts as a kind of neural chiropractor, making regular, finely tuned adjustments to each partner's out-of-sync brain.

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The Surprisingly Simple Way to Jump-Start Intimacy

Traditional Approaches Aren't Always the Best Option

Michele Weiner-Davis • 10/3/2017 • No Comments

By Michele Weiner-Davis - When it comes to feeling loved in a marriage, everybody has different requirements. Some people feel loved when their spouses spend time with them. Others feel loved when they've had "good talks." I believe that behavior change often precedes affect or cognitive changes. For many, touch says love like nothing else. Making love is love.

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Restoring Intimacy without Drugs

How to "Build a Bridge" to Sexual Desire

Barry McCarthy • 8/29/2017 • 1 Comment

By Barry McCarthy - Contrary to media myths, movies, and male braggadocio, sex is seldom 100-percent successful, especially as men age. By a certain age, men need to learn what most women already know: good, satisfying, pleasurable sex, particularly in midlife and beyond, is more a matter of intimate teamwork than of physical hydraulics.

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