Topic - Couples

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

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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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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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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Can Couples Therapy Work with Only One Partner?

Action-Oriented Strategies for the Couples Therapist

Michele Weiner-Davis

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.

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