couples collaboration

Couples’ Fights: What Is One Big Common Denominator?

Couples fight for many reasons. Yet, at the heart of most fights are violated expectations. There is a significant difference between expectations and desires and it is this difference that causes much painful struggling in couples relationships. Expectations have a “should” quality implied about them. For example, “My partner should do X. It’s just the right thing to do. Therefore I have permission to be passive without putting much effort into helping bring those expectations into being.” However, when someone really desires something and especially if they want it quite fiercely, they will activate themselves to obtain it.… Read more...

Fear of Couples Therapy

Many therapists are drawn to doing psychotherapy in order to be helpers and also because we enjoy the closeness with our clients. Individual therapy can be calming and comfortable. It feels good and we often like the experience of providing support and unconditional positive regard to our clients. I don’t mean to imply that individual therapy is without its difficult confrontations. But in individual therapy, our clients can titrate how slowly or quickly they inform us about their “dark side”. In couples work, the other partner may dump the worst aspects of their spouse on us in the first session.  And things escalate quickly because, after all, who is able to be openly, vulnerably accountable for their own behavior under these conditions?… Read more...

Joy, Resilience and Gratitude

How often do you talk to your couples about joy, resilience and gratitude? Three weeks in Africa taught me that I certainly don't talk about these topics enough. I am on a Lufthansa flight flying back to my world after deliberately removing myself from it for the last 23 days. I have not seen clients or even thought about sessions. I had no access to email or telephone. I could write to you about the adventure and drama of the wildebeest migration, or about the monogamous dik dik (Africa's smallest antelope) or the flight response of the impala when they sense danger from the nearby lion, or how the wildebeest rely on zebras to help determine safety.… Read more...
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