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Helping Couples Process the Trauma of Sickness

How Illness Can Leave Marriage on the Rocks

Jeri Hepworth • 8/3/2017 • 2 Comments

By Jeri Hepworth - As human beings vulnerable to a wide variety of infirmities, we need to know at the deepest level that our partners will stick around even when our bodies betray us. And yet, even though we generally agree that abandoning an ailing partner is unacceptable, we don't really appreciate how high a toll a serious medical problem can take on a relationship.

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VIDEO: Julie Gottman on Making Couples' Life Dreams Come True

The Importance of Creating "Shared Meaning"

Julie Gottman • 3/22/2017 • No Comments

According to renowned couples therapist Julie Gottman, one of the main predictors of a romantic relationship's success or failure is how well partners can dialogue about their differences. In the following clip from her 2015 Networker Symposium keynote, Gottman explains what a healthy dialogue looks like, and how it fosters "shared meaning."

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Does Couples Therapy Work? When Therapists Avoid These Mistakes, It Does.

Therapy Tools for the Novice Marriage Counselor

William Doherty • 11/13/2014 • No Comments

Couples sessions can be scenes of rapid escalation uncommon in individual therapy, and even in family therapy. Lose control over the process for 15 seconds and you can have a couple fighting with each other to the point where the argument dominates the rest of the session, each partner wondering why they're paying you to watch them mix it up.As in any sport or art form, there are beginners' mistakes. Here are a few of them.

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Passionate Marriage

Helping Couples Decode the Language of Their Sexuality

David Schnarch • 10/22/2014 • No Comments

Over the years, I've worked with many couples who complain bitterly that the other kisses or touches, fondles, caresses, strokes the "wrong" way. I used to take these complaints at face value, trying to help the couple solve their problems through various forms of marital bargaining, until I realized that their sexual dissatisfactions didn't stem from ignorance, ineptitude, or a "failure to communicate." Instead of trying to spackle over these normal and typical "dysfunctional" sexual patterns with a heavy coat of how-to lessons, I have learned that it makes much more sense to help the couple analyze their behavior, to look for the meaning of what they were already doing before they focused on changing the mechanics.

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Bad Couples Therapy

Betting Past the Myth of Therapist Neutrality

William Doherty • 9/29/2014 • 3 Comments

Most therapists learn couples therapy after they get licensed--through workshops and by trial and error. Most specialize in individual therapy, and work with couples on the side. So it's not surprising that the only form of therapy that received low ratings in a famous national survey of therapy clients, published in 1996 by Consumer Reports, was couples therapy. The state of the art in couples therapy isn't very artful. I'll start with beginners' mistakes and then describe how couples therapy can go south, even in the hands of experienced therapists.

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Bad Couples Therapy

Getting Past the Myth of Therapist Neutrality

William Doherty • 11/1/2002 • No Comments

As a graduate student, I'd done individual counseling before, and had worked with parents and kids, but had never worked with a couple. Thirty minutes into the first session, when I was lost in the midst of a meandering series of questions, the husband leaned forward and said, "I don't think you know what you are doing." Alas, he was right. Naked came the new couples therapist.

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