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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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My Father's Ranch

A Daughter Wrestles with Bittersweet Memories and a New, Looming Threat

Alicia Muñoz

By Alicia Muñoz - Sometimes family legacies can stir up complicated feelings and outright conflict.

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The Courage to Let Go

A Special Story from Our Family Matters Department

Elizabeth Young

By Elizabeth Young - A whirlwind romance turns into a troubled relationship.

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Esther Perel’s Growing Cultural Presence

Expanding the Conversation on Couplehood

Lauren Dockett, Rich Simon

By Lauren Dockett and Rich Simon - By questioning some of the fundamental premises of traditional marriage, couples therapist Esther Perel has become, at least for the moment, psychotherapy’s public face and most quotable voice. But what is she saying that’s so intriguing and makes her stand out from all the other relationship experts our field produces?

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After an Affair, How Much Should Be Shared?

How to Have an Honest Discussion Without Accusations and Defensiveness

Shirley Glass

By Shirley Glass - How much to share and when to share are issues that confront every couple trying to recover from the discovery of infidelity. I actively structure the timing and the process of disclosure because I've found that revealing the details of an affair is seldom constructive in the presence of uncontrolled emotional intensity or unresolved ambivalence about the future of the marriage.

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Intimate Enemies

A Stepson Reconsiders a Long-Held Resentment

Barry Jacobs

By Barry Jacobs - A lot of blended families don’t really blend: the new “relatives” at first try to join together, but then they quietly distance themselves, however awkwardly, as differences and conflicts emerge, even as they try to pretend otherwise. My stepfather, Steve, and I made no such pretense—we were enemies from the start.

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VIDEO: How to Manage the Biggest Threat to Happiness for Remarried Boomers

Helping Partners Deal with the Corrosive Power of 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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The Intentional Divorce

Helping Couples Let Go with Dignity

Tammy Nelson

In today’s changing world, therapists need a new road map for helping couples end unions with their dignity intact, their sanity whole, and in a greater spirit of cooperation and good will.

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Therapy for Helping Couples Divorce with Dignity

Tammy Nelson on the Mechanics of the Intentional Divorce

Tammy Nelson

At one time in my career, I’d have considered divorce as an outcome of therapy to be a failure—by the couple and by me. But over the years, I’ve learned to think of it as another opportunity to help. I’ve learned that I can help couples end their union in as thoughtful and pragmatic a way as possible. In other words, both partners can come through the experience with their dignity intact, their sanity whole, and in a greater spirit of cooperation and goodwill—attributes they’ll need as they continue to share responsibilities for their investments, their interests and their children.

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Marianne Walters and the Women's Therapy Movement

How One Woman Brought Feminist Insight into Clinical Practice

Mary Sykes Wylie

Marianne Walters didn't invent a brilliant new therapeutic paradigm, publish a large and magisterial body of research, or establish her own unique school of clinical practice. Yet Walters probably had as great an impact on the overall clinical zeitgeist of family therapy as any of the master theory-builders and gurus. Along with her three comrades in arms---Betty Carter, Peggy Papp, and Olga Silverstein---she formed The Women's Project in Family Therapy in 1977, once called "the first, biggest, longest-running feminist road show." It was a combination feminist think tank and SWAT team, which, in public workshops all over the country, challenged the underlying sexism in some of the most basic notions of family therapy.

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