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How Commitment Really Works

The Two Most Common Mistakes Struggling Couples Make

Gay Hendricks, Gay Hendricks

By Gay Hendricks - Therapists who understand and apply two concepts about commitment—that the results you get reveal the actual commitment you've made, and to make a change in a relationship, each participant must take 100 percent responsibility for the current situation—can eliminate a great deal of energy-draining work in the treatment of couples.

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Beating Back-to-School Anxiety

Three Therapists Share Stories and Tips

Chris Lyford, Chris Lyford

By Chris Lyford - Back-to-school season can be one of the most stressful periods of the year for a child, no matter what age. From making new friends to handling a new workload, the challenges that come with the new school year are plentiful. Here, three veteran therapists, all of whom know quite a bit about back-to-school anxieties, share the clinical lessons they learned—and a few stories.

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Why Emotional Safety is the Defining Feature of Good Sex

Susan Johnson on Infusing Sex with Emotion and Attachment

Susan Johnson, Susan Johnson

By Susan Johnson - Passion is about so much more than responding to novel stimuli or ramped-up lust. In the dance of sex, passion can be constantly renewed, not simply by finding more exotic sexual positions, but by changing the level of our engagement in the moment and with our lover. If we really understand love, we can also understand how to shape lasting passion.

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VIDEO: Susan Johnson on the Link Between Sex and Safety

How a "Secure Base" Promotes Sexual Exploration

Susan Johnson, Susan Johnson

What does it take to restore physical intimacy to a failing relationship? In this video clip, Susan Johnson, the originator of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, uses bonding science to explain the one condition every relationship needs in order to repair emotional hurt and restore satisfying sex. Take a moment to watch this clip. You'll be glad you did.

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Applying Attachment Theory in Schools

An Interview with Lou Cozolino

Ryan Howes, Ryan Howes

Pepperdine professor-psychotherapist Lou Cozolino believes that the key to improving our schools is learning how to incorporate an understanding of attachment theory and social neuroscience into our educational system. Throughout his career, he’s devoted himself to bridging the world of academic research with the realm of practical applications.

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Are You There for Me?

Understanding the Foundations of Couples Conflict

Susan Johnson, Susan Johnson

On the first day of a clinical placement in my doctoral program during the early 1980s, I was assigned to a counseling center and told by the director that because of unexpected staffing problems, I'd be seeing 20 couples a week. I'd never done any couples therapy, but I did have considerable experience as a family and individual therapist with emotionally disturbed adolescents--a tough, challenging group of clients if ever there was one! So my first thought when given this new assignment was, "After what I've done, how hard can this be?" I plunged in and almost immediately was appalled by how hard it actually could be!

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The Rise of the Two-Dimensional Parent

Are Therapists Seeing a New Kind of Attachment?

Ron Taffel, Ron Taffel

As we move slowly beyond the great recession, today’s young people are the first American generation in a long while expected to be less well off than their parents. So we have a paradoxical situation, in which the pressure to produce successful kids has never been more relentless or harder to achieve, especially with mass culture suggesting that if kids do fail, it must be because mom and dad failed in some way. Thus, it’s easy to understand how parental focus can shift from the child to the child-as-product, underlining a kind of premeditated parenting with calculated ends in mind. So we have earnest, committed, caring parents trying their best to follow an almost infinite number of often contradictory prescriptions to produce a perfect commodity with greater market potential. What could possibly be wrong with that? A lot!

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The End of Innocence

Reconsidering Our Concepts of Victimhood

Dusty Miller, Dusty Miller

As a systems therapist, incest survivor, and recovering alcoholic, I've lived through several stages of our culture's attempt to come to terms with child sexual abuse--as a victim in the silent 1950s; as a therapy client in the oblivious 1960s and 1970s; and as a psychotherapist in the 1980s and 1990s, when once-dismissed accounts of abuse filled my therapy practice (and my television screen) only to be partly discredited within the decade during another swing of the cultural pendulum.

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VIDEO: Presencing Secure Attachment

An Experiential Approach

Diane Poole Heller, Diane Poole Heller

What keeps people stuck in destructive relationship patterns? While Attachment Theory has provided some answers as to how those patterns originate, many clients remain trapped within them. What’s missing for them isn’t the desire to change—it’s an authentic experience of what it means to be secure in a relationship. That’s why Diane Poole Heller, expert trainer in the Dynamic Attachment Re-patterning Experience model, has developed tools to create corrective experiences in therapy that nourish clients’ capacity for secure attachment.

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Connecting with Avoidant Clients

Today’s Video: What Secure Attachment Looks Like

Rich Simon, Rich Simon

For those who struggle with early attachment injuries, even the presumably safe presence of the therapist can often evoke feelings of desperation, fear, and threat. Diane Poole Heller, developer of the Dynamic Attachment Re-patterning Experience model, is an expert at creating a sense of safety with even the most troubled clients.

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