We've gathered Psychotherapy Networkers most popular posts and arranged them here by topic.
John Gottman Blends Couples Counseling with Science
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, mathematician-turned-psychologist John Gottman performed experiments in which he videotaped ordinary couples in their most ordinary moments---chatting, kissing, and watching TV. But he also recorded how much they brought up painful subjects, how they responded to each other's bids for attention, and expressed emotion. Using complex computer models, he found that he could predict divorce with 91-percent accuracy, simply by analyzing seven variables in a couple's behavior during a five-minute disagreement. What he discovered made him famous, and eventually became the basis of Gottman Method Couples Therapy.
You Don't Need Both Partners to Do Couples Therapy
Many therapists define the type of therapy they practice by taking a head count: if one person is present, they're practicing individual therapy; if two or more people are present, it's couples or family therapy. I believe this is misguided the key to determining which brand of therapy is in use at any given point lies in the therapist's orientation and focus, not the number of people occupying space in the room. In contrast to therapists who question the value of doing couples therapy with individuals, this approach is often my method of choice for a variety of reasons. I find it can empower people by showing them that they no longer have to play the waiting game of "I'll change if you change first." Instead, they find themselves back in the driver's seat of their own lives.
Helping Couples Decode the Language of Their Sexuality
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.
The Challenge of Preserving Individuality in Marriage
With all the common elements inherent in most marriages—a shared living space, shared finances, and by some accounts, shared behaviors and mannerisms—it can be easy to view married partners in terms of how they act together rather than separately.
What Is This Thing Called Love?
The provocative core of new research is this: each of us approaches our erotic encounters already primed by a premixed neurochemical and hormonal "cocktail" that influences both the strength and staying power of sexual passion. Having delved into this new biological evidence and observed its impact in my own couples therapy practice, I’m convinced that as long as our clients remain unaware of these bodily processes, they’re at high risk for making disastrous decisions about their intimate commitments.
Treating the Mixed-Agenda Couple
From my practice experience and conversations with therapists around the country, I estimate that at least 30 percent of couples present with different agendas about whether to try to save the marriage or move toward divorce. The stakes are high in these kinds of scenarios. So what do you so with a mixed-agenda couple?
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