Hostile Angry Couple

Losing Control: When Couples Fight

control-imageIt is very common for angry partners to come in saying they had a great big fight during the week and they want to talk about it. Sometimes they’ll even call you to request an emergency session. At that moment they are like a powder keg in search of a match. Don’t light the fuse!… Read more...

Losing Control: When Couples Sessions Spin Out of Control

control-imagePlease think about a time when you lost control of a session. Were you too caught up in your own discomfort, anxiety, or discouragement to contemplate specifically how it happened?… Read more...

Clinical Example: Transcript of a Hostile Angry Couple

Young Couple Having Argument At Home   In my last blog post, I gave a list of practical suggestions to support your work with hostile angry couples.  To end my series on working with hostile angry couples, I offer you a transcript that demonstrates the last two principles that were on that list. These were my last two suggestions on that list: … Read more...

Goals of Early Therapy with Hostile Angry Couples

Young Couple Having Argument At HomeGoal Setting is always helpful to drive progress in couples therapy, and with hostile angry couples the use of goal setting in early therapy is particularly important. Goals will help you focus the session even when partners arrive for their appointment reverberating from their last fight – or launch into a new one!… Read more...

First of Four-Part Series: Challenges of Hostile Angry Couples

Young Couple Having Argument At HomeI consult on so many cases where therapists are struggling to be effective leaders with hostile angry couples, I know it is a widespread problem. The more disorganized a couple is and the more hostility there is, the more difficult it’s going to be for you to structure sessions and arrive at effective goals for each session.… Read more...

A Disarming Confrontation in Couples Therapy

Choice Traffic SignA very distressed, acrimonious couple comes to see you for couples therapy. They’ve done significant damage to each other over the years. It seems they will fight about anything and you feel like you are getting nowhere. All your best efforts are thwarted. You say to them, “I’m sorry to give you some bad news. You are faced with two ugly choices. This is probably not what you want to hear. Yet, it is your current reality.”… Read more...

Self-Reflection in Chronically Angry Couples

 This month I’m writing about the chronically angry couple. These couples often wait too long to go to therapy or may have tried therapy with a therapist who did not provide enough structure for them. At the beginning, these couples need structure and they need for the therapist to be especially clear about the direction of their work. Chronically angry couples have several traits in common: 1. Frequent, rapid escalation of hostility (either overtly or passive-aggressively) 2. High demand for intimacy without the developmental capacity to support the demand 3. Minimal self responsibility paired with an avoidance of vulnerability 4.… Read more...
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