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NP0038: Who’s Afraid of Couples Therapy?

Welcome to our “Who’s Afraid of Couples Therapy?” This exciting series, back by popular demand, is based on our November/December 2011 issue on this topic and will explore the challenges of couples work.

What are the most effective strategies in working with couples? How can therapists structure therapy—particularly in the early sessions—so that couples leave with a sense of hope, rather than frustration? Can working with individuals who have serious issues in their relationships actually be detrimental to them? Find out the answers to these questions and much more. In this first session with expert couples therapists Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson, the creators of the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, you’ll find out why clinicians often avoid working with couples and how you can better prepare yourself for couples therapy work.

How can therapists most effectively work with emotion in the consulting room—particularly when it comes to couples therapy? Learn with internationally known couples therapist Hedy Schleifer how to help create a nourishing connection between partners, define a role as therapist-as-guide, and much more. Schleifer, who’s pioneered the training of Imago Relationship therapists internationally, will go into how to use this theory in practice and how to best work with emotions.

What happens when partners in couples therapy have two different agendas in mind? Hear from expert William Doherty on this little spoken about topic. Learn how Discernment Counseling, an approach that helps couples clarify their feelings about the next step in their relationship, can help both clients and therapists.

Is it possible to rebuild trust and intimacy in a couple’s relationship after a partner has had an affair? How can therapists help? Hear from Esther Perel, author of the international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, on how to help couples after an infidelity and the role that cultural perspectives have in this emotional situation.

Explore this classic dynamic of couples therapy—an angry woman and a withdrawn man—that’s often confusing for therapists, with couples therapist Jette Simon. Learn more about what’s behind the feelings of anger and the behavior of withdrawing, and how clinicians can more effectively work with shame and fear of disconnection.

Hear an unconventional perspective on couples therapy from David Schnarch, who believes that the best way to help couples is to challenge partners to change their individual behaviors and attitudes. Schnarch’s direct, upfront approach to helping clients will illustrate a different viewpoint on effective couples therapy.

Join Marty Klein, a marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist, us for a candid discussion about the assumptions that both clients and therapists often share that can get in the way of improving couples’ sexual relationships.

Discover with Kathryn Rheem how to respond effectively when clients express strong feelings in session. Based on Emotionally Focused Therapy, you’ll explore attunement and how to use your own emotions to help clients move beyond attachment injuries.

After the session, please let us know what you think. If you ever have any technical questions or issues, please feel free to email support@psychotherapynetworker.org.

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3 Responses to NP0038: Who’s Afraid of Couples Therapy?

  1. liahumphrey says:

    Very helpful. A powerful question I think I will use often is “when did you know you mattered in your partners life”

  2. Couples therapy sounds pretty scary but if the couple is left with no other choice but to seek therapy, then by all means they should see a couples therapist. However, i believe it has to be a mutual agreement. It won’t work if the other wouldn’t like the idea.

  3. amorri says:

    I wanted to comment on and post a question about Bill Doherty’s seminar. I think the model is great, and will provide a really helpful protocol for approaching mixed agenda couples so that I don’t fall in to those therapist common mistakes (which I definitely have). My question is that if you make the shift to couples therapy, but you know about secrets (e.g., an affair) from the discernment therapy portion, what do you do with that information?

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