A Very Personal Example of Increasing Motivation

Now that Pete and I have shared one of our own personal battles – and how we resolved it – I hope you’ll write about your experiences with motivation, either in your relationship or in your practice.

Thank you for your commitment to couples,


17 responses to “Our Clutter Battle”

  1. Ephraim Frankel, MFT, Milwaukee, WI, USA says:

    Thank You both again for such an excellent, instructive, and stretching video. What I particularly like is the ways you assessed the low motivation/resistance into clear understandings, and then into practical, doable behaviors, which interrupted the chronic cycle in the clutter conflict. Additionally, I could see that each move forward became the prologue to some more work, inviting and growing a deeper emotional, caring connection that added to the joy and humor in your relationship. This seems to confirm again, that without the risk and the push, provided by the larger annoying chronic conflict, we can miss the elusive satisfactions inherent in most every relationship

  2. this is very inspiring says:

    This is very inspiring and leads couples to be in relational/ relationship in intimate in co-creative ways. “Making love in a very real ways”.

  3. Salomon says:

    Hi, Zucchini and Chianti !
    Soooo touching, moving, so open, and deeply helpful…
    When do the two of you come again in some beautiful place like Sorrento ? I will certainly be there with you, to learn more, and of course talk more in Italian. I register for this potential event now.

  4. Fred says:

    Well done. Thank you!

    • Christy says:

      I've found your first two videos on motivation and couples therapy very interesting and inspiring. This last one with your husband, not so much. I'm not a therapist by profession, rather I'm a person who values psychology and pays attention to learn. You are WAY too compromising. There is a pay off for you, somewhere, and no doubt you love your husband which adds to the equation. I think you are doing the heavy lifting here, when in fact your husband, quite smugly, doesn't really care about pulling his weight or changing his behavior/habit. You commented that you were raised to make good appearances. Well, if your with someone who wasn't raised that way, its not very likely that they'll adapt that value into their belief system.

  5. patrice wolters phd says:

    Well I have a clutter problem today as I moved the contents of 2 storage onto my patio and into my house. Clutter does really effect productivity and I am now dealing with it in a couple. I found this video fun to listen to, informative and most importantly useful for couples work. I would like to see the room that Pete could clutter up!! I also think it would be great to have a video on a couple that were much more deeply entrenched than you two. Overall I think it is a great formula and I am using it with my messy guy client this week.
    Thanks so much!! Patrice P.S did it really go as smoothly as you describe??!

  6. Deb says:

    For me, the nucleus of this example is what loving someone is all about – getting into their shoes when it feels impossible. Only when one is internally secure can they let go of/compromise their need for gratification – a critical necessity in all relationships. Sadly, this ability is often lacking in partnerships.

  7. Kristen Ann says:

    I used this technique with my renter. It worked! Is there any way video #2 could be sent? I never received your email on my computer or Kindle.

  8. Ellyn Bader says:

    Thanks for the personal comments. I'd love to see this page become a place for personal revelations. What has worked for you in becoming more motivated? How have you helped to motivate a partner who was dragging their feet and not changing in a significant area?

  9. Bea Schild, Psychotherapist and Counsellor, Berne Switzerland says:

    Thank you. It is usually stimulating and helpful to watch or read your contributions. And it was this time as well. I like your clear, sharp, transparent ways of coping with so many different aspects of difficulties and problems in oneself and couplehood. We have problems around cluttering too. My partner is at the moment really trying hard to contribute more. I will definitely try the stroking-method :-))!

  10. Melodie says:

    Dear Ellyn and Pete,
    Thank you for being so transparent with us. When you are vulnerably real with all of us it is inspiring and validating. Thank you for all you offer.

  11. Justus says:

    Thank you. It was particularly interesting to hear you each describe how how were personally affected and changed your thinking over the duration of the process.

  12. Paula says:

    HI Ellyn thanks for a great series breaking down motivation and exploring this theme creating useful ways for us as therapists to tackle this fundamental issue. I have just finished the series.

    I found the material presented in the first video to be so helpful in developing understanding of low motivation (the ensuing cycles fueled by blame, guilt, criticism creating helpless, hopeless and defensive reactions) and how this drives couples into their bubble of safety. What a great way to help develop empathy and shift the impasse.

    What an invitation to both therapist and client..recognizing the cutting edge of one's own development and growth.

    I have tried this with several clients and found this alone to be a wonderful tool to energize and increase motivation (albeit maybe this alone moves those already motivated at some level)

    Thank you too for the inspiration to ignite through being honest with naming the targets of what it will take – risking transparency, increasing vulnerability, choosing healthy assertion and initiating emotional connection. Whilst I do not necessarily spell it all out in the first session ! I do value therapy transparency creating informed consent.

    I really loved your Motivational Equation Tool – which I can see as having such relational benefit not only across the (any, my own) couple dynamic but also across the therapist-client relational dynamic. I can see its usefulness in supervision and self reflective practice too so will try it out.

    Really like the roadmap it provides and the collaborative choice it creates for sessions. For me this really provides a helpful way to allow us to lead. Respecting and making room for individualized and couple developmental growth (differentiation) without overwhelming but not colluding into the bubble of safe resistance. Brava!

    Finally thanks for the personal video example which brings together so clearly the tools. Your willingness to be transparent and vulnerable on the open stage is truly inspiring.

    Thanks you two !

  13. Elsa says:

    Thank you!!

  14. Janet says:

    This was a helpful, personal account of how to use your formula and how you applied change to the problem.
    Thank you.

  15. Merriel says:

    I appreciated the practical application of your formula. I have a similar issue with my spouse and this was helpful on a personal level as well.

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