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Erotic Intelligence

Reconciling Sensuality and Domesticity

Esther Perel

By Esther Perel - America, in matters of sex as in much else, is a goal-oriented society that prefers explicit meanings, candor, and "plain speech." I often suggest an alternative with my clients: "If you want to create more passion in your relationship, why don't you play a little more with the natural ambiguity of gesture and words, and the rich nuances inherent in communication."

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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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VIDEO: The Biggest Threat to Remarried Boomers

Helping Partners Deal with Stepfamilies

Patricia Papernow

Successfully combining families as part of remarriage is always challenging. But it's especially hard when older re-couplers have adult children, who may or may not be onboard with the new marriage, and extended networks of decades-long relationships that need to be included in the picture.

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Against the Odds

On the Front Lines of Inner City Social Work

Howard Honigsfeld

By Howard Honigsfeld - As a school social worker in a South Bronx elementary school, the kids I see have a vast range of personal, social, economic, and medical issues. With so much stacked against these children, what can a school counselor do? The rewards of time, dogged persistence, and ordinary kindness in a supportive school environment can work their own kind of wonders.

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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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What Makes Couples Therapy Stick?

Three Ways to Maintain Progress Outside the Consulting Room

Carolyn Daitch

By Carolyn Daitch - Successfully combating and overriding firmly ingrained behaviors requires practice. It's our job as therapists to help clients learn how and when to practice these skills, and then make sure they go home and do it.

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When Three Threatens Two

Must Parenthood Bring Down the Curtain on Romance?

Esther Perel

By Esther Perel - 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. But the brave and determined couple who maintains an erotic connection is, above all, the couple who values it. They know that it's not children who extinguish the flame of desire: it's adults who fail to keep the spark alive.

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Wrestling with Our Clinical Choices

Do Any of Really Know What's Right?

David Treadway

By David Treadway - How do any of us therapists know what’s good enough in the unfolding of people’s lives? I know I practice an often intuitive craft, not an exact and predictable science. The truth is that all too often, like most practitioners, I can never be quite sure how much difference my bit part plays in the unfolding drama of clients' lives.

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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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