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Intimate Enemies

A Stepson Reconsiders a Long-Held Resentment

Barry Jacobs

By Barry Jacobs - A lot of blended families don’t really blend: the new “relatives” at first try to join together, but then they quietly distance themselves, however awkwardly, as differences and conflicts emerge, even as they try to pretend otherwise. My stepfather, Steve, and I made no such pretense—we were enemies from the start.

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The Remarriage Triangle

Working with Later-Life Recouplers and their Grown Children

Patricia Papernow

By Patricia Papernow -  Later-life recoupled families are appearing more and more often in therapists’ offices. Although divorce rates have dwindled in the United States over the last two decades, they’re soaring among people over 50, along with rates of remarriage. However, these later-life recouplers face many of the same challenges that younger stepfamilies do, complicated by the long-standing networks of relationships that come with this life stage.

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Bad Couples Therapy

Betting Past the Myth of Therapist Neutrality

William Doherty

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

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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