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Working with Difficult Men

Where’s the Leverage for Change?

July/August 2019
The conflict between an older, more traditional view of masculinity and a newer, more progressive one is the underlying issue in many marriages today. Helping these couples means violating many of the fundamental principles in the traditional therapy playbook.
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Everywhere at Once

Esther Perel Is Becoming Therapy's Most Visible Presence

September/October 2017
By questioning some of the fundamental premises of traditional marriage, couples therapist Esther Perel has become, at least for the moment, psychotherapy’s public face and most quotable voice. But what is she saying that’s so intriguing and makes her stand out from all the other relationship experts our field produces?
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The Long Shadow of Patriarchy

Couples Therapy in the Age of Trump

September/October 2017
The election of Donald Trump and the resurgence of populism throughout the West were fueled by a renewed pull toward certain notions of traditional masculinity. Although therapists have remained largely silent about this revival of patriarchy in the culture, is neutrality really in the best interests of our clients?

Case Study

Is All Fair in Love and Sex? How Couples Can Embrace their Sexual Differences

July/August 2017
Even if we believe that tender intimacy is the gold standard of erotic communication, can’t attachment be expressed in other ways?
    • Commentary by Tammy Nelson

The Unspeakable Language of Sex

Why Are We Still so Tongue-Tied?

January/February 2016
If you’re like most couples therapists, you know how to help partners communicate more clearly, handle conflict with less uproar, and connect more emphatically. But 50 years after the so-called sexual revolution, many therapists are still unsure about how and when to talk about sexual issues. In our obsession with pop sexuality, we’ve vastly overestimated the power of sexual acts while vastly underestimating the feelings associated with them.

The Dance of Sex

January/February 2016
If you’re going to help a couple get closer and really learn to work harmoniously with one another, whether in bed or anywhere else, the key is helping partners experience bonding moments that open them to becoming emotionally accessible to each other. If you can do that, their bodies will follow, and sex will almost always improve.

Point of View

Reinventing Couplehood: Intimacy and Commitment in the Age of Consumer Marriage

January/February 2015
Esther Perel, a couples therapist whose TED talk has had more than 5 million views, believes that it’s time to challenge the mismatch between the romantic ideal and the changing realities of contemporary life.

When Therapy Is Going Nowhere

Escaping the “Groundhog Day” Cycle

May/June 2013
Why do we get stuck in “Groundhog Day therapy”—cases in which we spin our wheels from session to session? Before lurching on to alternative treatment strategies, the key to progress is recognizing the need to shift the therapist–client relationship.
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Case Study

Women Who Cheat: Understanding the Message of the Affair

May/June 2013
Far from being evidence of marital bankruptcy, a woman’s affair can be a way of expressing a desire for a different self and an opportunity to breathe life into a suffocating relationship.

Case Study

Using Men’s Groups to Enhance Couples Therapy: Men Helping Men

May/June 2012
For men who still consider entering couples therapy a stroll into a lion’s den of shame, humiliation and failure, a men’s groups can be both a crucial source of support and a kick in the pants.
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