In Couples Therapy, Sitting With Sensations Can Have a Surprising Effect
By Molly Layton - Even with two people sitting quietly, an interpersonal space isn't an empty space—it's alive with a peculiar quality. These days, in certain intractable situations, I keep discovering how much getting couples to focus on the immediacy of their bodily sensations can change the entire flow and direction of what takes place in my office.
Step One: Confronting Your Own Limitations
By Molly Layton - The longer I practice, the more I'm struck with the importance of tolerant, hovering attentiveness that looks, Janus-faced, both outwardly at the client and inwardly toward the therapist's own processes.
Highlights from the Networker Journey
Out of all the hundreds and hundreds of articles that have appeared in the Networker over the past four decades, we’ve chosen a small sampling that captures the magazine’s most journalistic side, conveying not so much the eternal verities of our profession, but the sense of reading a first draft of the field’s history. Among other things, you’ll find therapeutic methods that, as exciting as they seemed at the moment, didn’t stand the test of time as well as initial forays into discussing complex issues we’re still struggling with today. We’ve also added in a few examples of writing so immediate and compelling that they have an air of timelessness. Prepare yourself for an interesting journey.
Using Mindfulness to Explore Emotion in Couples Conflict
If we can bring awareness into our own pulsing bodies, we get a chance to explore the hidden well of physical discomfort caused by our memories and emotions and our crazy defenses against that discomfort. The body, you might argue, is the unconscious. No one welcomes discomfort, but the fear of becoming overwhelmed, the fear of unleashing strange forces, of "wallowing" in negativity, can funnel our energies away from tolerating even the mildest turbulence of our felt experience. In my therapy practice, I've learned that being present to the rich physical substrate of the body can be especially useful in couples work.
Or How I Learned to See Every Couple as the Odd Couple
Too often couples make contrasts in temperament into negative stories about how their partner won't change. Could it just be that every couple is The Odd Couple?
In HBO's In Treatment, Art Imitates Therapy
The 43-episode HBO series In Treatment held up a mirror to our profession, immersing viewers in the ebb and flow of the psychotherapy process, and revealing what devoting a life to this work does to its practitioners.
Where Self and Other Meet
Making "contact" with our partner means first recognizing a subtle inner substrate where we encounter everything from boredom to anxiety to sexual interest to outright rage...and more.
Learning a lesson in love
David must be 15 or 16 when I notice that he's reading Rolling Stone. He sits on the piano bench pulled up to the dining room table, and Dopey sits beside him, as she also does for every supper, her little head just barely able to survey the table. Ferd chirps as always from the sunny dining room corner, and David's nose is stuck in long, long articles on Devo and David Byrne and Sting's upcoming trip to the Amazon rain forest.
That persevering anger is one of the things that make those of us who are struggling with feeling victimized look so, well, unattractive. I recently spoke with Sue Johnson, a Canadian couples therapist who writes about the trauma that occurs when someone is abandoned or betrayed. "In these cases," she said, "we often don't take people where they are. There's a period a long period when injured people are even homicidally angry. They want to hurt someone.
Slowing Down and Opening Up
The attitude of mindfulness holds the therapist right up against his or her growing edge.