change

Developmental Change: Focus on the Initiator with Volatile Couples

  I thought I’d write a few short blog posts that focus on the Initiator in the Initiator-Inquirer Process. Attaining successful initiation in the early stages of therapy is not easy. There are many subtleties that make a big difference.  In this series, I will write each time about one main point. I hope it will give you a focus in future sessions with highly volatile or very disengaged couples.… Read more...

Overcoming Passivity and Passive-Aggressive Behavior

…in the Early Stages of Therapy Couples therapy has numerous challenges in the early sessions depending on the type of presenting problem. Our next few newsletters will focus on some unique challenges and what to do about them, beginning with passive behavior and passive-aggressive behavior. A common pattern of highly distressed relationships is each partner wants the other to change first. The complaining partner wants massive personality changes. The “request” is more or less stated as a demand or accusation, with no awareness of how much is being requested. When this happens, the pressure is on either you or the partner to do something to relieve the distress of the complainer.… Read more...

Does Your Partner Drive You Nuts? The Passive Aggressive Personality

Asking your mate to empty the dishwasher should theoretically be totally devoid of drama or tension. It's just one of many chores necessary to keep your home functioning–right? However, with a passive aggressive personality, any situation has the potential to go from the trivial to emotional combat. It started with the simple question from my wife, Ellyn, “Pete did you empty the dishwasher?” I didn't respond but begrudgingly left the History Channel and headed for the kitchen, knowing I had agreed to do it before now.   Click here for a FREE report on Passive-Aggressive Behavior!… Read more...

Play “Twenty Questions” With Your Partner

Do you remember the game “Twenty Questions?” You could ask twenty questions to identify what thing the other person was thinking about. Here’s a variation on that, for your next dinner date or when you have some spare time. Using the questions below, you can find out a little more about your partner and vice versa. These questions will help you go a little deeper than discussing work, kids, vacations, or sports. Interestingly these are the kinds of questions couples often ask each other in the early stage of a relationship. But as time hurtles forward, these great questions get neglected and then abandoned.… Read more...

how to make your ex boyfriend want you again

a way to win your ex back how to get your ex girlfriend to come back or how can you make your girlfriend to get back with you how to write a letter to win your boyfriend back, etc.… Read more...

The Narcissistic Personality

… Why Recognizing Hurt and Vulnerability Leads to Greater Self-Acceptance Our culture in the United States is one that supports narcissism. We tend to revere athletes and celebrities and elevate those who are rich or beautiful. Many of these people give very little to get a lot. Someone once said, “If it weren't for marriage or committed relationships, some people could go through life believing they had no faults at all.” Welcome to the inner world of the narcissist, the person who is quick to feel entitled to get and slow to give. Over the years, it has been a challenge to become more effective with these individuals when seeing them in the couples context.… Read more...

7 Steps to Help Your Partner Want to Change

Large leather sofa with a bunch of different thingsEveryone has something they'd like to change in their partner. Unfortunately too many partners believe, “If my partner loves me they should want to change.” Frequently this creates quite a power struggle. Here is a 7-step process to create a change in your partner. The key to the success of this process is that it makes your partner want to change instead of feeling coerced. Why? Because your gain will not feel like their loss. Here's what you do. 1. Make a list. List the top three behaviors your partner does that annoy you. For example, leaves messes around house; pouts; doesn't do their share of household tasks, etc.… Read more...

Transactional Analysis: Strategies

Strategies for Working With Lies, Passive-Aggressive Behavior and Affairs Ellyn Bader, Ph.D., is Co-Founder & Director of The Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California. She is long-time members of the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA) and have served in various capacities in the organization. Ellyn was president of the ITAA from 1984-1985. This is an interview of Pete and Ellyn conducted by Bill Cornell for ITAA's publication The Script. Bill: I'm glad to have the chance to talk with both of you, especially since the stimulus for this interview is the release of your new training tape for the ITAA “Transactional Analysis in Action” series.… Read more...

A Glossary of Terms that are sometimes Confusing

Couples Therapy is a counseling procedure that seeks to improve the adjustment of two people who have created an interdependent relationship. There are no standard procedures to help two people improve their adjustments to each other. Generally, a more experienced therapist will offer more perspectives and tools to a couple. Length of treatment will depend on severity of problems, motivation and skills of the therapist. A couple can be dating, living together, married or separating and may be gay, lesbian or heterosexual.

Marriage Therapy is a term often used interchangeably with marriage counseling. The term marriage implies two people have created a union sanctioned by a government or religious institution. The methods used in marriage counseling, marriage therapy and couples therapy are interchangeable and depend more on the specific challenges of each unique couple.

Psychotherapy is one or more processes to help improve psychological and emotional functioning. Examples are psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, Gestalt therapy, Transactional Analysis, Rational-Emotive therapy, or group therapy. Many forms of psychotherapy are blends of different approaches. For example, newer forms of psychotherapy called energy psychology draw upon recent advances in brain and neuroscience. These approaches often build on cognitive behavioral methods.

Clinical Psychologist. After graduating from college, it usually takes about five years of graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Psycholgy. It then requires an additional two years of supervision and passing a written (and often) an oral exam. There are a few states that allow psychologists to prescribe medications (with additional training) but that is uncommon.

Psychiatrist. After graduation from medical school, there is a generally a 4-year psychiatric residency. After the completion of this training, psychiatrists must pass an exam issued by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to obtain certification and legally practice in the field. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications.

Clinical Social Worker. This profession usually requires two years of study after obtaining an undergraduate degree. While specific licensure requirements vary by state, most require clinical social workers to obtain 3,000 hours or 2 years of supervised clinical experience, after obtaining a Masters degree. Social workers can also specialize in diverse fields such as human services management, social welfare analysis, community organizing, social and community development, and social and political research.

Marriage and Family Therapist. Obtaining this license requires a Masters degree which takes approximately two years of post graduate study. The license also requires 3000 hours of supervised work and passing written exams.

The Couples Institute. We have assembled a group of top notch therapists at The Couples Institute. Whatever marriage help or marriage advice you are looking for, we are here to serve you. While most other therapists see only a few couples a week, we specialize in marriage and couples relationships, working to develop and bring you the most current and effective approaches to couples therapy. For more information about couples therapy or marriage counseling, see our couples therapy section.