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Using Conversation in Therapy

Following the Spark to Create Connection

Ron Taffel

By Ron Taffel - As a field, we've been unconscious of the nature of the conversation that energizes our models and techniques. Without it, treatment can be a textbook exercise lacking the power to make clients feel a truly alive and personal connection with their therapist.

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VIDEO: Susan Johnson on Breaking Negative Cycles

How "Secure Base" Restores the Emotional and Physical Spark

Susan Johnson

In the following video clip, renowned couples therapist Susan Johnson shares the story of her clients Frank and Sylvie—two partners stuck in a cycle of shame, hurt, and anger—and how, through establishing what she refers to as "secure base," they restored both emotional and physical passion to their relationship.

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Helping Parents Rekindle the Erotic Spark

Why Does Parenthood Deliver Such a Fatal Blow to Intimacy?

Esther Perel

By Esther Perel - The transition from two to three is one of the most profound challenges a couple will ever face. Family life flourishes in an atmosphere of comfort and consistency. Yet unpredictability, spontaneity, and risk are precisely where eroticism resides. Eros is a force that doesn't like to be constrained. When it settles into repetition, habit, or rules, it touches its death.

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The Power of the Emotional Brain

Using Brain Science to Spark Behavioral Change

Brent Atkinson

By Brent Atkinson - Throughout history, we’ve been operating under a great deception—we tend to believe that our thoughts and actions result largely from our conscious intentions. In fact, while our rational mind has a degree of veto power, the inclinations that fuel our perceptions, interpretations, and actions primarily come from neural processes that operate beneath the level of awareness. The emotional brain plays a crucial role in the machinery of rationality: the brain generates quick, gut-level emotional reactions that collectively serve as a guidance system for reasoning.

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Mind-Mapping: The Spark in Couples Conflict?

David Schnarch Explains How to Look for Mind-Mapping in Therapy

David Schnarch

Rather than being triggered by fear, shame, or insecurity, some people do hurtful things with impunity and entitlement to gratify their own needs and wishes. In marriage, they’re engaging in the form of relationship with which they’re most familiar, one that, in fact, they prefer. The key to grasping the roots of this “inner game” is to understand the brain’s ability to map another person’s mind---what I call “mind-mapping. Marriage is inconceivable without some degree of mind-mapping: you need it to understand wants and desires. Of course, it comes in handy if you want to be a good liar, manipulator, or adulterer.

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Lighting the Spark in Teen Clients

Ron Taffel on Creating Conditions for Connection

Ron Taffel

How do you create an atmosphere that your teen clients will value rather than resist? According to Ron Taffel, teens are looking for authenticity. When they find the real thing, they’ll engage.

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How to Keep Sex in Marriage After Childbirth

Esther Perel on Maintaining the Romantic Spark After Children

Esther Perel

Sex makes babies. So it is ironic that the child, the embodiment of the couple's love, so often threatens the very romance that brought that child into being. Sex, which sets the entire enterprise in motion, is often abandoned once children enter the picture. But the brave and determined couple who maintains an erotic connection is, above all, the couple who values it. When they sense desire in crisis, they become industrious, and make intentional, diligent attempts to resuscitate. They know that it's not children who extinguish the flame of desire: it's adults who fail to keep the spark alive.

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How Conversation Sparks Therapeutic Change

The Search for the Unspoken Self

Ron Taffel

When we trust ourselves to follow the signals of life that the patient emits in seemingly casual conversation, we increase our chances of stepping outside the confines of our theoretical models to enjoy an unexpected encounter.

 

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Lighting the Spark in Teen Clients

Ron Taffel on Creating Conditions for Connection

Ron Taffel

How do you create an atmosphere that your teen clients will value rather than resist? According to Ron Taffel, teens are looking for authenticity. When they find the real thing, they’ll engage.

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Lighting the Spark in Teen Clients

How to Connect with Resistant Teens

Ron Taffel

When you sit down with a young client, should you set your own immediate reactions and personal opinions aside? Not if you hope to make real progress, says Ron Taffel.

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