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The In-Session Breakthrough Fantasy

Therapists have always loved stories about dramatic in-session breakthroughs. This kind of transformative moment can make the slow, painful slog of therapy feel worthwhile, and it’s a welcome counterbalance to the frustrations of a difficult, underpaid, underappreciated vocation.

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Our Bottom Line Responsibility as Therapists


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Motivating the Resistant Male Client


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At the Heart of Intimacy


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The Power of Secure Attachment


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Why Teens Hate Therapy

Mistakes Therapists Should Avoid

It’s probably fair to say that most teens loathe the very idea of therapy. Yet, with confused and troubled adolescents needing our help more than ever, the gap between our grad school training and what works in real-life practice continues to widen.

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From Research to Practice: Scoreboard for Couples Therapies

Which are the Winners in the Latest Research?

Couples therapy is on a roll. Whereas a mere 20 years ago, surveys showed that consumers didn't think much of it, today it's become increasingly accepted by the general public. Yet the research about couples therapy, as well as research about couples themselves--why some marriages succeed and others don't--hasn't kept pace with the growth of couples therapy.

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When Three Threatens Two

Must Parenthood Bring Down the Curtain on Romance?

Sex makes babies. So it is ironic that the child, the embodiment of the couple's love, so often threatens the very romance that brought that child into being. Sex, which set the entire enterprise in motion, is often abandoned once children enter the picture. Why does parenthood so often deliver such a fatal blow?

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Are You There for Me?

Understanding the Foundations of Couples Conflict

And yet, I wondered, if we didn't have a theory of adult love and emotion, how could we truly understand what marriage was all about, let alone help couples make any real changes? Furthermore, even if we began to understand more about how love actually played out in marriage, what could we possibly do, as therapists, to bring it back into the process of therapy with troubled couples?

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The Art and Science of Love

Can the Gottmans Bring Empirical Rigor to the Intuitive World of Couples Therapy?

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, in a specially outfitted studio apartment in Seattle that reporters nicknamed the "love lab," mathematician-turned-psychologist John Gottman videotaped ordinary couples in their most ordinary moments. Sometimes Gottman asked them to discuss an area of conflict while monitors strapped to their chests recorded their heart rates. Sometimes he sat them on spring-loaded platforms to record how much they fidgeted. He looked at how they brought up painful subjects, how they responded to each other's bids for attention, how they fought and joked, and how they expressed emotion.

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Bad Couples Therapy

Getting Past the Myth of Therapist Neutrality

As a graduate student, I'd done individual counseling before, and had worked with parents and kids, but had never worked with a couple. Thirty minutes into the first session, when I was lost in the midst of a meandering series of questions, the husband leaned forward and said, "I don't think you know what you are doing." Alas, he was right. Naked came the new couples therapist.

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It Takes One to Tango

You Don't Need Both Partners to Do Couples Therapy

Many therapists define the type of therapy they practice by taking a head count: if one person is present, they're practicing individual therapy; if two or more people are present, it's couples or family therapy. I believe this is misguided the key to determining which brand of therapy is in use at any given point lies in the therapist's orientation and focus, not the number of people occupying space in the room.

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