CE Credits: 6
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The standard remedy for couples in trouble is “better communication.” But couples often get into a vicious cycle in which she communicates her fear of isolation and anxiety, stimulating his feelings of inadequacy and shame, which he tries to numb with passive or active aggression. In this workshop, you'll learn how to break these destructive cycles, particularly the stalemate between angry, female criticism and silent, defensive male withdrawal, using methods based on the latest research into gender differences.
Steven Stosny, Ph.D. is the director of Compassion Power and author of “You Don’t Have to Take It Anymore: How to Turn a Resentful, Angry or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate, Loving One” and “Love Without Hurt.”
Session 1: Engaging Men in Therapy • Men tend to approach therapy not to have a relationship with the therapist, engage in meaningful dialogue, explore feelings, or discuss family of origin issues. Rather, they approach therapy in the same way they go to lawyers, accountants, and physicians, with specific problems for which they want specific advice. Strategies for engaging men in approaches to therapy that emphasize the above are discussed.
Session 2: Fear and Shame • An unconscious fear-shame dynamic undermines whatever couples talk about. Men who are reluctant to talk about feelings will come to life when dread of failure--as a provider, protector, lover, or parent--is put on the table. Then they can understand how the ways they cope with their dread of failure--attack or withdraw--stimulates their partner’s fear of harm, isolation, or deprivation.
Session 3: Core Value • Here we discuss how to address the core values of men about the meaning and purpose of their lives and their longing for connection, which, though often hidden beneath inflated egos, is just as strong as their wives’ longing.
Session 4: Styles of Attachment • Learn how to reconcile differences in styles of attachment that tend to make one partner frustrated and the other bewildered. Intimacy increases when both partners step out of the comfort zones of their own styles to make harmony.
Session 5: Recipes • Men tend to like recipes for what to do and how to behave. The trick for the therapist is to load recipes with content, rather than hope that the client is patient enough to find the recipes in the content. Instructors and participants share successful recipes.
Session 6: Summation • Review of course and discussion of how to apply the principles and techniques highlighted.
1. Learn to teach clients to recognize when the fear-shame dynamic undermines their interaction.
2. Learn to show clients how to react with compassion to a vulnerability that they don’t share.
3. Learn to demonstrate to clients the ways in which compassionate connection regulates both fear and shame.
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