Topic - Couples

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

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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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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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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Connecting Body Awareness and Couples Therapy

Using Mindfulness to Explore Emotion in Couples Conflict

Molly Layton

If we can bring awareness into our own pulsing bodies, we get a chance to explore the hidden well of physical discomfort caused by our memories and emotions and our crazy defenses against that discomfort. The body, you might argue, is the unconscious. No one welcomes discomfort, but the fear of becoming overwhelmed, the fear of unleashing strange forces, of "wallowing" in negativity, can funnel our energies away from tolerating even the mildest turbulence of our felt experience. In my therapy practice, I've learned that being present to the rich physical substrate of the body can be especially useful in couples work.

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Technology: Tool for Therapeutic Connection, or a Hindrance?

Psychologist Sherry Turkle on the Impact of Virtual Intimacy

Richard Simon and Mary Sykes Wylie

In our high-tech, computer-obsessed age, author and psychologist Sherry Turkle's key mission has become to unravel "how our increasingly intimate relationship with technology...changes the way we see ourselves as people. It isn't so much what technology is doing for us, but what it's doing to us." More and more, as Turkle sees it, we're the machine, and the machine is us. Our electronic stuff is just too useful, too pleasurable, too seductive to give up. But that seductiveness incurs significant costs, which we've barely begun to appreciate. What impact will this, or any of our deepening infatuations with all things cyber, have on our ability to connect face-to-face with each other, in real time?

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Helping Therapy Clients Push Their Limits

Embracing the Client's Capacity for Resilience and Recovery

Michele Weiner-Davis

When we learn that clients have experienced tough childhoods, sexual or emotional abuse, or significant losses, we often make immediate assumptions about their current struggles and the kind of treatment they require. In many ways, the information we gather about problematic pasts biases and blinds us. But human beings are far too complex to assume that we know how any single person assimilates his or her experiences. So why not assume resilience? Why not trust people’s abilities to rebound from adversity?

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Addressing Race Therapeutically in Black Relationships

Testimonials from the 2015 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Symposium Student Scholars

Today I attended a workshop called “Working with Black Couples: Overcoming Myths and Stereotypes,” led by Dr. Christiana Awosan. Being an African American female, this talk was very emotional and I was able to identify with some of the stereotypes that have been placed on black single heterosexual women. A big problem in black relationships, Christiana said, is not that black men and women don’t want to stay together. It’s that they don’t know how to sustain their relationship. Race is a huge contextual factor in why black couples have a hard time working through their issues. But nobody seems to be talking about this or giving voice to their oppressive experiences within society.

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Addressing Race and Culture in the Therapy Room

Testimonials from the 2015 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Symposium Student Scholars

As a family therapist, I know the power of thinking relationally, collaborating, and working across difference to find the many places where we actually share similarities. I found that at the Networker Symposium, where I had the pleasure of attending a workshop led by Christiana Awosan. Her presentation called practitioners, researchers, and educators alike to ask tough questions when working with Black couples. She invited us to consider the context that Black heterosexual men and women are coupling within, related to the experiences of slavery and racism, both as it was experienced over 250 years ago and also in how it still persists in our society today. There are truly The Colors of Tomorrow that we are living today.

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Couples Therapy, Brainspotting, and Truth in Love

Testimonials from the 2015 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

Symposium Student Scholars

I had the pleasure of attending the Brainspotting seminar with David Grand today. What fresh and amazing information! I am drawn to anything that involves the brain because it brings the scientific information I need to the often less concrete world of talk therapy. Brainspotting is a process by which the client can access encapsulated trauma or other mental health issues without using extensive "talk therapy." Knowing that clients can often get wrapped up in telling stories, accessing the information using BSP gives clients another way to process their distress without going too deeply into the narrative. I also appreciated that BSP is exceptionally client-driven. Therapists are encouraged to "be the tail of the comet." The client, BSP teaches, "is the head."

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Marianne Walters and the Women's Therapy Movement

How One Woman Brought Feminist Insight into Clinical Practice

Mary Sykes Wylie

Marianne Walters didn't invent a brilliant new therapeutic paradigm, publish a large and magisterial body of research, or establish her own unique school of clinical practice. Yet Walters probably had as great an impact on the overall clinical zeitgeist of family therapy as any of the master theory-builders and gurus. Along with her three comrades in arms---Betty Carter, Peggy Papp, and Olga Silverstein---she formed The Women's Project in Family Therapy in 1977, once called "the first, biggest, longest-running feminist road show." It was a combination feminist think tank and SWAT team, which, in public workshops all over the country, challenged the underlying sexism in some of the most basic notions of family therapy.

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