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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 e-mailing 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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The Meaning Behind Money

Getting to the Root of Couples' Arguments about Finances

Sally Palaian

By Sally Palaian - These days, couples often come into therapy with problems related to their finances. Here's how to distinguish between money difficulties caused by the economy and those that are more psychological in nature.

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The Art of Not Knowing the Answer

A Trauma Specialist Shares Her Most Therapeutic Moment

Mary Jo Barrett

By Mary Jo Barrett - My very first case was the Byford family. The father was serving a six-month sentence for domestic abuse. During a home visit several months into treatment, the daughter, Laura, announced, “Dad is getting out of jail today! And he’s coming here!” My mind went blank. Her mother looked at me. Suddenly, it was as though I passed whatever strength I had to her, and she then passed it back to me.

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Esther Perel's Secret to Weathering an Affair

Two Ways Couples Who Bounced Back Made It Happen

Esther Perel

By Esther Perel - For several years, I've been contacting couples I've treated to find out more about the long-term impact of the infidelity that brought them to therapy. What were the useful shock absorbers that sustained the couple? Did they think that therapy had helped? I identified three basic patterns in the way couples reorganize themselves after an infidelity.

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What's the Best Way to Help Male Clients?

For Many Men, Therapy is a Lion's Den of Shame and Humiliation

Robert Garfield

By Robert Garfield - Group therapy is particularly appealing for men who experience traditional individual or couples approaches as being too alien or off-putting. There’s something comforting about being part of a group of guys dealing with similar issues. For men who consider entering couples therapy a stroll into a lion’s den of shame, humiliation and failure, a men's group can be both a crucial source of support and a kick in the pants.

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The Retiring Rebel

Rethinking the Way We Help Clients Face the Midlife Crisis

Tammy Nelson

By Tammy Nelson - Rather than thinking of midlife as an emotional unraveling, I believe it’s more helpful to reframe this stage of life in our early 50s and 60s as “second adolescence,” a time when we’re old enough to appreciate how short life is, but young enough to find new ways to enjoy it.

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Jump-Starting Conversation in Family Therapy

The Difference Between Guiding and Intervening

Mike Nichols

By Mike Nichols - How do you get family members to talk together productively? Enactments can be among the most valuable tools for getting a family's communication going. But cultivating these conversations—and making sure not to overmanage them—is harder than it sounds.

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Restoring Intimacy the Natural Way

How to "Build a Bridge" to Sexual Desire

Barry McCarthy

By Barry McCarthy - Contrary to media myths, movies, and male braggadocio, sex is seldom 100 percent successful, especially as men age. By a certain age, men need to learn what most women already know: good, satisfying, pleasurable sex, particularly in midlife and beyond, is more a matter of intimate teamwork than of physical hydraulics.

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Mastering the Art of Therapeutic Judo

A Three-Step Process for Cooling Volatile Emotions from the Very First Session

Thomas Sexton

By Thomas Sexton - Based on 30 years of research on the most effective interventions with delinquent and violent juveniles and their families, I’ve found that the research-backed clinical model Functional Family Therapy guides me in sessions and keeps me grounded. Here's how it works.

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There's Something Missing from Your Family Therapy Work

The Biggest Threats to Marriage Today Aren't What You Think

Betty Carter

By Betty Carter - In order to understand the particularity of almost any couple's personal experience, we need to adjust our lens to include not only their private domestic encounters, but the much larger political and social struggle about the politics of relationships beyond the walls of home.

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