desires

Issues that Underlie Hypocritical Binds

  cofronting hypocrisyEarlier this summer I started a blog series about hypocrisy in couples therapy. I was pleased to see so many of you respond on the blog sharing your own examples of these vexing moments and hypocritical binds in your practice. I promised some follow-up. So here it is, including a video I prepared on the subject.… Read more...

Are you going to have this kind of Valentine’s Day?

Feb14-225Picture this. It might fit for lot of guys. Valentine's Day approaches. A week before this special, romantic day, Joe starts calling around for dinner reservations. He believes he is pretty smart thinking ahead like this.… Read more...

Conflict Avoidance: Shifting Relationship Impasses, Part 2

Thanks a lot to those of you who took time to write your thoughts about the transcript I last posted about shifting relationship impasses in a conflict avoidant couple. You were processing many of the issues involved. I picked this couple because they demonstrate many traits that are common in intensity avoiding and conflict avoiding couples. As I sat in the session with them, I could viscerally feel how disengaged they had become. I knew they would not change from insight alone! I asked myself: Why does the wife have so much difficulty expressing her desires? Why is her husband so sensitive to rejection? I don’t want to assume I know the answer to these questions.… Read more...

Regression and its Impact in Couples Therapy

This month let's look at regression in couples therapy. The old adage says “where the attention goes, the energy flows.” Regressed partners in couples therapy often demand that either you or their partner focus on them. At times, attending to and even promoting regression can facilitate change. However, often it is counterproductive and reinforces patterns that keep the couple stuck. In this newsletter, we will briefly explore what is regression, three issues that tend to intensify regression, and how a therapist may inadvertently contribute to increasing the regression. What Is Regression?… 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...

The Hidden Cost of Too Much Compromise in Your Relationship

Who hasn't heard about the importance of compromise in a relationship? But how often do we hear about the price that is paid for that compromise? In a relationship of significance, most people do things that are accommodating. But what happens when that behavior becomes passive behavior and is over-accommodating? What happens when you deny, suppress or repress a meaningful portion of yourself? The result is that you become embroiled in an internal struggle. One part of you clamors to be heard and responded to, and the other parts of you go into the accommodation mode. By continuing to compromise and deny important aspects of yourself you stay anxious and conflicted.… 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...
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