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After the Affair

Two Case Studies Illustrate the Opportunities Moving Forward

Don-David Lusterman

By Don-David Lusterman - My goal is not merely to help these couples weather the crisis and patch things up, but to help them understand how both spouses created the marital context that made an affair possible, and how the crisis itself can be the spring board to a healthier, more satisfying relationship.

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Finding the Path Back

Couples Therapy After an Affair

Leo Fay

By Leo Fay - Every therapist knows that the disclosure of an extramarital affair can create an explosive crisis undermining the foundation of trust necessary to sustain a relationship. In the midst of that turbulence, our job is to help couples find a pathway to a new understanding of themselves and their marriage. Here's a protocol I've found especially helpful.

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Neutrality Is Sabotaging Couples Therapy

How Taking Sides Gets to the Heart of Conflict

Terry Real

By Terry Real - My own experience as a couples therapist has taught me that we aren't doing clients a favor by soft-pedaling difficult issues. More than adopting any particular methodology of change, we can be far more direct and challenging to clients who come to us than we've previously acknowledged. By and large, people are neither fragile nor stupid. If you show them how they're getting in their own way and what behaving more skillfully looks like, they'll be grateful.

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The Gay Man in the Straight Marriage

Exploring the Uncharted Territory of a "Mixed-Orientation Marriage"

Jeff Levy

By Jeff Levy - Gay men married to women frequently describe their experiences in therapy as confusing and polarizing, facing a strong bias toward full disclosure and divorce. My work with gay and bisexual men over the past 10 years has taught me to see psychotherapy as a place to hold dynamic tensions without easy, premature resolutions.

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Helping Couples Cross the Argument Impasse

A Four-Step Process

B. Janet Hibbs

By B. Janet Hibbs - In their first therapy session, Bob tells his wife, Sandy, to stop emailing her former college boyfriend. She refuses, feeling mistrusted and controlled, and their exchange heats up. Many couples like these are at an impasse, caught up in a struggle to prove who's right. Here's how to help them get past these kinds of unwinnable arguments and resolve their differences.

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Words That Haunt

Helping Couples Work Through Old Character Attacks

Ellen Wachtel

By Ellen Wachtel - I used to believe that if a couple was getting along and behaving in a loving way to one another, hurtful and even cruel words would naturally fade into the background. But I’ve frequently seen couples in which hurt spouses may forgive their partner for the harsh words spoken in anger, but nonetheless remain haunted by some biting comment that continues to sting long after the argument is over.

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VIDEO: Breaking Rigid Thinking Around Intimacy

A Three-Part Solution for Couples Therapy

Suzanne Iasenza

Sex therapist Suzanne Iasenza talks about a three-part process that helps couples free themselves from the rigid narratives about sex that keep them from exploring what really brings them pleasure.

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Getting Real in Couples Therapy

Ignoring the Destructive Patterns in Front of Us Does Our Clients a Disservice

Terry Real

By Terry Real - It's disrespectful to clients not to let them in on the truth about what we witness regularly in our offices as they play out their relationships in front of us: the ways they deal with their partners are often self-centered, unfeeling, and counterproductive. I believe that in order to teach our clients how to be authentic and connected, we must be real with them ourselves.

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So Your Client Is Having an Affair...

Should You Be a Secret-Keeper or is Honesty the Best Policy?

Michele Scheinkman

By Michele Scheinkman - Underlying the perceived magnitude of an affair is an idealized view of marriage as the "shelter" in our lives, with a primary function of providing emotional security and attunement. I've found it perplexing that, although we live in an ostensibly liberal and sexually permissive society, therapists typically have one-track minds regarding how to approach infidelity.

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The Two Essential Ingredients for a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship

John Gottman's Latest Research from the "Love Lab"

John Gottman

By John Gottman - What the latest research from my lab is telling us is that trust and commitment are both the key ingredients for being in love with your partner for a lifetime, and for having your marriage be a safe haven. These are the ingredients for not just loving your partner, but being in love with your partner.

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