|Anxiety Diets Couples Future of Psychotherapy Men in Therapy The Future of Psychotherapy David Schnarch Linda Bacon Attachment Mary Jo Barrett Couples Therapy Mind/Body Alan Sroufe Community of Excellence Narcissistic Clients Symposium 2012 Challenging Cases Brain Science Great Attachment Debate Etienne Wenger Ethics Clinical Mastery Clinical Excellence Attachment Theory Wendy Behary Gender Issues William Doherty Mindfulness Trauma CE Comments|
|In Consultation - Page 3|
Let your clients know a few sessions before termination that you'd like to e-mail them a few checklists once a month for a year. (Just knowing that the checklists are coming in their e-mail provides a kind of fire-extinguisher effect.) Collaborate on a written summary of treatment achievements, which can serve as one of the monthly checklists. These are insights or skills you want them to keep in mind under stress. Here's the form I use: "Check all that apply. On a regular basis this month, I tried my best to improve, appreciate, connect, protect, and use binocular vision—hold your partner's perspective alongside your own."
A symptom checklist can be quite useful to clients as an early-warning sign of relapse. I ask them to check any of the following that they may have experienced in the past month: envy, jealousy, restlessness, impatience, irritability, moodiness, urge to isolate, sadness, and loneliness.
A monthly checklist of occasional behaviors that portend relapse can be helpful. The one I use has warning items like "moralized, gave unsolicited solutions, psychoanalyzed, interrogated, blamed, accused, ignored, stonewalled."
Consider a checklist of physical care. A great deal of relapse occurs when clients eat or drink unwisely and are deprived of sleep and exercise.
It's a good idea to include no more than three checklists in your monthly mailing and limit each to five items. You're likely to get a higher return rate if they're shorter.
Since we can't fight the forces of habituation, it makes sense to use them to therapeutic advantage. Whatever relapse-prevention strategy you use will work best if part of it can be incorporated into the couple's daily routine. Big insights and intense emotional catharsis may have their place in therapy, but their long-term impact is limited. When it comes to day-to-day living, if you want to love big, you have to think small.
Steven Stosny, Ph.D., has treated more than 6,000 people for anger and relationship problems through CompassionPower, the organization he founded and directs. He's the author of Love without Hurt and, with Pat Love, How to Improve Your Marriage without Talking about It: Finding Love beyond Words. Tell us what you think about this article by e-mail at email@example.com, or at www.psychotherapynetworker.org. Log in and you'll find the comment section on every page of the online Magazine section.