|Clinical Excellence Narcissistic Clients The Future of Psychotherapy Mind/Body Attachment Theory Anxiety Clinical Mastery Etienne Wenger Couples Therapy Mindfulness Alan Sroufe Couples David Schnarch CE Comments Diets Attachment Gender Issues Brain Science Mary Jo Barrett Ethics Community of Excellence Future of Psychotherapy Men in Therapy Trauma Wendy Behary Symposium 2012 Great Attachment Debate Challenging Cases William Doherty Linda Bacon|
|Case Studies - Page 7|
The discussion heats up. I sit back and let it go on for a few minutes. Mary and Whitney are tense and angry. Their voices rise in attack and defense.
"Is that how conversations go on between you?" I ask. You become caricatures of yourselves—fisherman and fish.
Prisoners and jailer, fishermen and fish: I use these images to describe complementarity in families that are overinvolved. They're powerful precisely because they're familiar, not pathological.
Mary says: "I'm trying to help you understand this. When Whitney was an infant, she needed constant attention. She was 11 months old when I divorced, and she was a year and a half when Richard and I became a couple."
"I think you need to help them," I say to Richard. "Mary spends more time worrying about Whitney than enjoying you. Talk to her about how she can be freer to become your wife."
Again, I'm suggesting a conversation that doesn't include me. By now, however, it seems more natural, and Mary and Richard turn to each other to talk.
"If only I could trust her!" Mary says to Richard.
"There are times that I agree with you," he responds. "I don't trust her either. We need to establish better limits and rules, without getting caught up in the arguments."
"I think Mary has become a detective, and I'm worried about her," I say to Richard. "She might be trying to do the impossible. She's overstressed, and she may break."