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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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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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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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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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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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What's In a Kiss?

Helping Couples Decode the Language of Their Sexuality

David Schnarch

By David Schnarch - Over the years, I've worked with many couples who complain bitterly that the other kisses or touches, fondles, caresses, strokes the "wrong" way. These couples need to understand that the ways they show physical affection is a remarkably salient and authentic expression of themselves and their feelings for each other.

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Couples Therapy with One Partner: Can It Work?

Creating the Beginnings of a "Solution Avalanche"

Michele Weiner-Davis

By Michele Weiner-Davis - How is it possible to do couples therapy with just one partner? We clinicians communicate our presuppositions about people and how they change when we do our work. If we begin therapy with a "this is better than nothing" attitude, we undoubtedly broadcast a pessimistic message about the possibilities for change.

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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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