couples therapy training

A Look Back at the Developmental Model

In Quest of the Mythical MateI’m feeling sad. After 26 years and 17 printings, our book “In Quest of the Mythical Mate” will no longer be available in hard cover. I’ll miss her. She really is like an old dear friend, symbolic as the first big collaborative project Pete and I did together.… Read more...

Highlights from Psychology of Health, Immunity and Disease Conference

As 2011 draws to a close, I thought I’d share with you a few of the useful things I learned at the NICABM Conference on the Psychology of Health and Immunity. I enjoy this conference so much because it exposes me to so many interesting perspectives beyond the psychotherapy world.  John Cacioppo John Cacioppo, a researcher from the University of Chicago, talked passionately about the central role of our human need for social connection and how being lonely actually is correlated with an earlier death.  He highlighted that it is perceived isolation that is most crucial. He contrasted billionaires and writers.… 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...

Couples Therapy Tools: The Paper Exercise

When I am doing training, I get many requests to learn more about the Paper Exercise. I thought you might like having more information about it. The Paper Exercise is an exercise that Pete and I adapted from Susan Campbell’s book, The Couples Journey. The exercise sounds a bit contrived, but it is so revealing of couples’ dynamics that it is worthwhile learning to use it. It can be used either diagnostically or as an intervention into the couples’ system. Setting up the exercise You will need a piece of plain white 8 ½ x 11 paper. Hold it in your hand, look into the eyes of one partner, and say, “This piece of paper represents something important to you.… Read more...

How to Identify Failed Empathy in the Narcissistic Personality

… and Utilize Specific Tools for Increasing Differentiation Last month we talked about one defensive pattern of a narcissistic partner. This month we will address the low level of empathy in the narcissistic partner. A narcissistic partner would never start therapy by saying this in an initial interview: “I wish I could give even when it isn't convenient for me. However, I hate to admit I'm wrong and I have a very thin skin, so I frequently make demands or attack my partner. I wish I could make a sustained effort to give and respond in an empathic way. But, I am rarely giving or nurturing unless I feel like it.” The narcissist will never say this because they do not give when it is inconvenient and they have minimal capacity to be psychologically separate from another person.… Read more...
Menu