“What Do You Say When...?”

Free 9-part Mini-Workshop

I’m excited that you’ve decided to join me for this free 9-part mini-workshop series where we’ll use the Developmental Model to tackle YOUR toughest moments. This will be helpful whether you’re just getting started or are an experienced couples therapist.

Be sure to visit the series below, before they come down on August 26.

Applying Developmental Model Principles to Cases That Look Impossible

We'll Roleplay YOUR Most Difficult Moments

On Thursday, my husband Dr. Peter Pearson and I role played live with a challenging case, and I dissected the work using the Developmental Model.

Here’s what the therapist said about the case you can watch below:

  • Sue, the wife, endured family of origin sexual trauma that created PTSD. She has suicidal ideation and one previous attempt.
  • Joe, the husband, wants sex 4 times per week. Sue says his sexual overtures trigger more flashbacks.
  • Psychoeducation about PTSD, depression, and flashbacks haven’t had much impact. Sue caves in and has sex once or twice a week as her wifely duty. She is soft spoken and timid.
  • Joe is not willing to compromise. He believes his sexual demands are his right as a husband. He is insulted when I discuss self-pleasuring. He shuts Sue down in the sessions with voice tones and facial expressions.
  • Joe is my biggest challenge. He tries to shut me down with harsh words and accusations that Sue is not trying hard enough, and I am not doing enough to convince her to have more sex with him.

No wonder the therapist wanted a consult!

In this webinar, Pete asked the therapist to play the role of Joe. This allowed Pete to intervene in a very targeted way. And I was free to explain the principles that led him to these interventions. Next, I role played with Sue, uncovering the connection between her suicidal ideation and their intricate symbiosis.

By watching us apply principles of the Developmental Model, you will see how to untangle extreme symbiotic binds that couples create with one another.

Hopefully our demonstration will expand your skill set. You’ll be better equipped to help your distressed couples go from angry and polarized to collaboration and teamwork.

When you know what to do and why (that’s what we’re going to teach you) your work becomes tighter. And your couples feel good about investing their hopes in you.

Take Action Now

  • What do you think about Pete’s extreme intervention? Please comment with your thoughts below.
  • Claim your bonuses now before they go away on Friday, August 23 at 11:59 Pacific Time. Click here to signup now.

16 responses to "Your Tough Moments"

  1. I loved Pete's intervention! Great job balancing the intensity, direct approach, and empathy! I love the way Pete kept checking in to see where Joe was in the process. Ellyn was a master with Sue. How brilliant to bring out the sadness and pain Sue was experiencing so she could tap into her love for Joe. You both are so gifted! Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

  2. Thank you Pete and Ellen – I completed the 1 year online course last year from Sydney, Australia – the concepts of Symbiosis, Individuation and Differentiation have given some important theoretical frameworks to integrate into my Couples Work.
    In todays presentation – I also appreciated Pete reminding me – that as therapists we can sometimes find ourselves working too hard in sessions – and that the client's motivation to considering divesting unhelpful coping mechanisms is primary.

    Thanks for a helpful roleplay presentation.

    Stewart Clarke – Sydney

  3. Thank you for another marvellous piece of training. I feel I’m really learning to understand differentiation through these videos. It’s easy to understand in theory but watching these videos gives a whole new dimension. Not least, observing my own discomfort with sitting with these challenges and not just moving to “solutioneering” right away in order to get back to what feels like safer ground.
    Watching this video in particular, I wonder what Ellyn and Pete think of the saying (I forget the source of it):
    “Men need to have sex to feel loved; women need to feel loved to have sex.” I don’t think it’s that clear-cut, but there’s perhaps some truth to it. I wonder if it would ever be useful to ask a couple their opinion on this in session? To me, it points to different people having different definitions of love and different needs around intimacy and feeling safe.
    Thank you for the whole week, it was excellent. I learned so much.

  4. Ellyn’s interventions seemed very attuned and responsive while also offering hope and a way through. I was wondering about Pete’s comments about Joe. He seemed very sure that a softer approach would not work and that he knew how men like Joe operate. Is there a risk here of overlooking men’s underlying vulnerable side here when we assume that the ‘tough’ approach works? Would the approach differ were the roles reversed to some degree, eg, a woman wanting sex, feeling lonely and rejected? Does one have to be careful of a sneaky unconscious gender bias that can slip in unnoticed and influence our responses, that may see us less willing to acknowledge the feelings driving a male partner’s behaviour that a female’s? Or is this about a male therapist, as a man, having an intuitive understanding about ‘what works’ for (some) men? Maybe that’s unfair, since in this case, there was such polarisation in the couple (demander/victim). I find these scenarios often raise more questions in me. That leads me to a second question; it seems having confidence in one’s chosen mode of intervention is key to leading a couple out of impasse/pain. But can that easily co-exist with a position of self-reflection/openness as to one’s approach?

  5. Thank you Ellyn and Pete, I learned a lot, and already enjoyed watching this again. I truly appreciate your generosity, passion and tremendous knowledge.

  6. Ellyn and Pete,
    I am always stunned at how much I continue to learn from you both. It keeps me motivated and feeling up to the task of the challenging work of providing couples therapy! Thank you!

  7. Thank you both so much for demonstrating different approaches for each person, really shaped to their way of being, and emphasizing the team aspect. Beautiful, heart warming, instructive.

  8. Pete and Ellyn- your generosity is truly magnificent!!!
    This is an incredible series. In itself it's almost a complete course!
    Thank you for continuing to help us become better couples therapists.

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