As neuroscience increasingly shows how wired we are to our intimate partners, an important question arises for therapists: Why do we primarily continue to see people individually who are grappling with serious problems in their relationships?
Conventional therapeutic wisdom aside, people typically don’t hurt each other because they’re out of touch, unable to communicate, or can’t help themselves. All too frequently, they do hurtful things with impunity and entitlement simply to gratify their own needs.
At least 30 percent of couples coming to therapy have fundamentally different agendas about whether to try to save the marriage. If we’re ever going to improve our success rates, we need to address that ambivalence from the moment they arrive in our offices.