“What Do You Do When…?”

Free 5-part Workshop

This past week I demonstrated how to use the Developmental Model to tackle tough impasses you will likely encounter. I hope you found my demonstrations helpful whether you’re just getting started or are an experienced couples therapist.

Thanks for your interest in this powerful and transformative work.

On this page you’ll find the information from one day’s question, and if you scroll to the bottom you’ll find links to pages with all of the articles and webinar replays.

Access to your free workshop will be available until September 22 at 11:59pm Pacific Time.

What Do You Do When Couples Think Their Problem is Simply Communication?

It’s a tale as old as time. A couple walks into your office, sits down, and says, “we can’t communicate!”

And then they look at you as if teaching them a few simple “communication skills” will fix everything. But you know the work is deeper and more nuanced than that.

Today I addressed exactly what to do when you hear that common complaint from couples in part 3 of our 5-part workshop today, What Do You Do When When Couples Think Their Problem is Simply Communication?.

You’ll also see how to address shame, wishful thinking, and the inability for the wife to be accountable for sabotaging her desires.

This replay will be available until September 22 at midnight Pacific Time.

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If you enjoyed and learned something on this webinar, we would really appreciate it if you could leave your comments below.

18 responses to "Communication"

  1. What a gem of excellent couples therapy. I can watch this over and over again still hear something new!
    Two masters at work-what a treat!

    Thank-you
    Janae

  2. I would've liked to have seen the role play of the homecoming reversed. What kind of greeting would the wife have liked to experience upon arriving home?

  3. Just watched the replay. Thank you so much Ellyn!!! My query would have been about whether you might at times take time to address in the moment a defence mechanism learned as a result of early trauma… and you spoke to that in answering the first person's question. I
    m learning so much from you, and look forward to the year ahead.

  4. Bronwyn (Australia) watching on replay. Beautiful work. Reminding me as a therapist to slow things down, is very helpful- also showing us how you intervene to help them take accountability- is so helpful and validating. Thanks so much Ellyn and Pete. ( PS also great to hear from your lovely and smart daughter Molly).

  5. I absolutely agree what Diane said above. My overwhelming sense from this couple is that the woman is completely overfunctioning in the partnership and her partner is under- functioning, which might explain part of her resentment towards him. She comes home from work and she's thinking about dinner and PTA meetings and helping her daughter with her homework, while he has come home from work and is sitting in front of the TV. Plus the fact that he was in rehab earlier and dealing with a substance abuse problem which placed more of the burden on her to manage the household and family and family business. Statistics show that workload inequity persists and is gendered, where women are still taking on 65% of the household management despite also working full-time outside the home. I am sure you are all familiar with this power dynamic and I think it needs to be addressed any time one partner repeatedly mentions being stressed, overwhelmed, or overloaded. I think this workload imbalance should be brought in as a key part of couples counselling because it inevitably creates tensions and resentments. The structural issues ‘out there' play out in our intimate relationships, and both partners often play a role in it (due to cultural conditioning etc). I I'm quite sure that Ellyn and Peter have come up against this and have had to work with it and probably would have lots to say about it. I would love for the Couple's Institute to do a webinar on this issue because it seems like a dicey, but very important thing to work with. Would love to know your thoughts!

  6. I absolutely agree what Diane said above. My overwhelming sense from this couple is that the woman is completely overfunctioning in the partnership and her partner is under- functioning, which might explain part of her resentment towards him. she comes home from work and she's thinking about dinner and PTA meetings and helping her daughter with her homework, well he has come home from work and he's sitting in front of the TV. Plus the fact that he was in rehab earlier and dealing with a substance abuse problem which place more of the burden on her to manage the household and family and family business. Statistics show that workload inequity persists and is gendered, where women are still taking on 65% of the work at home despite also working full-time outside the home. I am sure you are all familiar with this power dynamic and I think it needs to be addressed any time the female partner (or the male partner) repeatedly mentions being stressed, overwhelmed, overloaded. I think this should be brought in as a key part of couples counselling. The structural issues ‘out there' play out in our intimate relationships, and both partners often play a role in it (due to cultural conditioning etc). I I'm quite sure that Ellyn and Peter have come up against this and have had to work with it and probably would have lots to say about it. I would love for the Couple's Institute to do a webinar on this issue because it seems like a dicey, but very important thing to work with. Would love to know your thoughts!

  7. Loved the role play, and asking each person to repeat what he/she said with direct eye contact. One concern I had was structural. The wife repeatedly stated how stretched and exhausted she was from working during the day then working on family company books and family responsibilities as soon as she gets home. Yes, a sincere hug coming in the door is important and changes the dynamics they each described as previously dreading that time of day. Yet her evening is still overbooked? Thank you.

  8. Just a note to everyone. It takes us a bit of time for the replay to be posted. The replays from Monday and Wednesday are now posted. Tomorrow's webinar will be posted by Saturday morning at the latest. And all will be available until September 22. Thanks for your involvement.

  9. What a delightful transformation from master therapists and an awesome couple – thank you Ellyn and Pete for explaining your magic to us

  10. Looking for replay- found slides very
    interesting- Disappointed, I can't do the live casts at time I thought I could but I really appreciate access to slides.

  11. Dear Ellyn,

    You and Peter rock in so many ways. Your good hearts, deep souls, and noble spirits lift humanity to the realization of what we can be as our true selves for ourselves and for what we're meant to be for all those in our lives.

    Gratefully for you both,

    Michael Popovici
    Marriage Coach
    The Marriage Place
    Richardson, Texas
    972-922-5477
    [email protected]

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