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Tuning into Attunement

How to Harness Your Social Engagement System

January/February 2018
We all know people who have the magic touch when it comes to relating to others. They can instantly connect with strangers and put people at ease without even saying a word. Therapists with this ability have a natural advantage, so are there specific behaviors we can practice to elicit trust and openness? Luckily, the answer is yes—and Stephen Porges’s polyvagal theory provides the key.
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The Sex-Starved Marriage

January/February 2016
A sex-starved marriage isn’t about the number of times per week or per month people are actually having sex. It’s one in which one spouse is longing for more touch, more physical closeness, more sex, and—here’s the rub—the other spouse is thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just sex.” But it’s a huge deal because it’s really about feeling wanted, loved, and connected. It places the marriage at risk of infidelity and divorce.
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Reflections on the Divorce Revolution

Assessing Our Impact

July/August 2015
When it comes to helping couples considering divorce, therapists have a hundred ways to ask “What’s right for you?” but often find themselves tongue-tied when it comes to asking “What’s right for the others in your life?” Is it possible to talk about interpersonal responsibility without shaming clients and driving them away?
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Rowing to Nowhere

When is Enough Enough?

July/August 2015
We spend countless hours focused on how best to keep couples together, but rarely pay much attention to how to best help them split up. And we spend even less time examining how our own emotional reactions can influence their decision about whether to divorce.

The Depression Epidemic

Can Mood Science Save Us?

November/December 2014
It’s time to get beyond simplistic notions about “chemical imbalances” and finally reckon with how deeply rooted depression is in the uncertainties and false values of our 21st-century consumer culture.
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The Downside of Happiness

Beware of What You Wish For

September/October 2014
Although happiness is widely beneficial, organizing one’s life around it can lead to a great deal of effort and time being spent unwisely. Trying too hard to be happy interferes with the pleasure, engagement, and meaning we could otherwise find in the world.

Soft Shock Therapy

The Art of Speaking the Unspeakable

March/April 2014
Using humor to help clients reconstruct their problems, even to the point of making parodies of their own dilemmas, can help some them get distance from their woes, learn to take themselves less seriously, and perhaps even gain a bit of wisdom.

In Or Out?

Treating the Mixed-Agenda Couple

November/December 2011

At least 30 percent of couples coming to therapy have fundamentally different agendas about whether to try to save the marriage. If we’re ever going to improve our success rates, we need to address that ambivalence from the moment they arrive in our offices.

Family Matters

You've Got Mail!: A Cyber Relationship Sparks New Discovery

March/April 2011
A cyber relationship revives a marriage in the doldrums.

Case Study

Stop the Merry-Go-Round: Strategies for Angry Couples

November/December 2010
While partners caught in the anger merry-go-round invariably blame the other, both typically pass the anger back and forth like a shared virus.
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