Topic - Couples

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We've gathered Psychotherapy Networkers most popular posts and arranged them here by topic.

The Intentional Divorce

Helping Couples Let Go with Dignity

Tammy Nelson

In today’s changing world, therapists need a new road map for helping couples end unions with their dignity intact, their sanity whole, and in a greater spirit of cooperation and good will.

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VIDEO: Using Empathy to Help Kids Self-Regulate

How Being Calm and Collected Gets Us Connected

Martha Straus

In this brief video clip, child psychologist and Symposium 2016 presenter Martha Straus discusses the benefit of using co-regulation with a young client in trouble. 
Don't miss her Symposium workshop, on Friday, March 18, Addressing Attachment Issues with Traumatized Teens.

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American Therapy's Cultural Standards on Disclosure in Affairs

Why Not Disclosing in the Aftermath of an Affair Could Save Marriages

Michele Scheinkman

I was born overseas and practice therapy in the United States. Since the early days of my life in America, I've felt a sense of cultural dissonance with colleagues and friends about how infidelity is approached here, both in the culture and in the therapy profession. Many American therapists proclaim total honesty as the ideal for all marriages and the unearthing of the secrecy and lies at the heart of infidelity as a primary therapeutic consideration. Maybe it's time for a two-way exchange, so that we can learn from the wisdom of other cultures when it comes to disclosure about an affair.

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Couples Therapy for Moving Past Affairs

Esther Perel on Redefining Marriage After an Affair

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. With those couples who've remained together in the intervening years, I offered a free, follow-up interview to discuss how they regard the infidelity retrospectively, and how they integrated the experience into the ongoing narrative of their relationship. Specificities notwithstanding, I identified three basic patterns in the way couples reorganize themselves after an infidelity---they never really get past the affair, they pull themselves up by the bootstraps and let it go, or they leave it far behind.

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Why Therapists Should Give Clients' Marriage a Second Chance

William Doherty on the Merits of Discernment Counseling

William Doherty

This wish for a permanent mate isn’t surprising, given the perennial human longing to know that someone is there for us as we age, whatever happens---and that means there are no quick, guilt-free exits. Life is complicated, and divorce is sometimes necessary, but why not, in the words of poet Dylan Thomas, “rage, rage against the dying of the light,” instead of simply moving on because the current marital house would take too much work to restore and the one down the street looks better?

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Tools for Managing Effective Couples Therapy

Bringing Struggling Couples Out of Their Comfort Zones

Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson

If we now recognize how inescapably relational and interconnected people are, why do most of us continue to work primarily with individuals---most of whom grapple with serious, persistent problems in their intimate relationships? Part of the reason, of course, is that so many clients themselves avoid couples therapy. Sometimes they resist because they aren't motivated, or because they fear the unpleasant things their partners might say about them. Being an effective couples therapist requires us to develop skills we may not come by naturally and to spend a lot of time feeling unsure of our capabilities.

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Therapy for Helping Couples Divorce with Dignity

Tammy Nelson on the Mechanics of the Intentional Divorce

Tammy Nelson

At one time in my career, I’d have considered divorce as an outcome of therapy to be a failure—by the couple and by me. But over the years, I’ve learned to think of it as another opportunity to help. I’ve learned that I can help couples end their union in as thoughtful and pragmatic a way as possible. In other words, both partners can come through the experience with their dignity intact, their sanity whole, and in a greater spirit of cooperation and goodwill—attributes they’ll need as they continue to share responsibilities for their investments, their interests and their children.

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Why Egalitarian America Needs Dominant Sex

Relationship Advice from Sex Therapist Esther Perel

Esther Perel

America seems to be a goal-oriented society that prefers explicit meanings, candor, and "plain speech" to ambiguity and allusion. But ironically, some of America's best features, when carried too punctiliously into the bedroom, can result in very boring sex. I often suggest an alternative with my clients: "There's so much direct talk already in the everyday conversations couples have with each other," I tell them. "If you want to create more passion in your relationship, why don't you play a little more with the natural ambiguity of gesture and words, and the rich nuances inherent in communication."

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Putting Divorce on the Table in Couples Therapy

How to Tell When Splitting Up is the Best Option for a Failing Marriage

Terry Real

Some marriages' endings have broken my heart, made me look hard at my technique, and wonder what I might have done differently. But when I believed the couple, the therapy, and even the children were better served by the partners’ letting go, I’ve breathed a sigh of relief. In other words, I don’t see my job as stitching every couple together no matter what. Sometimes, in fact, my job turns out not to be forestalling the dissolution of a family, but facilitating it.

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Navigating Modern Relationships with Attachment Science

Susan Johnson on What Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy Can Tell Us

Ryan Howes

Susan Johnson, the inventor of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT), bases her work on the fundamental understanding that teaching communication skills to couples in conflict is like trying to teach the whirlwind how to blow more gently. That's why EFCT is based on the new science of bonding, clarifying people's attachment needs and helping them understand how they trigger each other's deepest fears, then helping them move into interactions where they can more safely bond with each other.

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