Developmental Model

Working with Couples Where One Partner Has A Severe Anxiety Disorder

When you apply the Developmental Model in your work with couples, sometimes you will encounter issues that add an extra layer of complexity. Examples of this include addiction or severe depression. An even more common example is when one partner struggles with a severe anxiety disorder. This month let’s look at some ways to begin a session when you encounter a couple with a very anxious partner. When one partner is extremely anxious, the process of defining what belongs to each partner can be frustrating and quite confusing. You will notice that if you are trying to encapsulate each person’s issues, the anxious partner will continue to circle back to anxious thoughts he or she has. … Read more...

Losing Direction: Where Are You Going and What Is Your Roadmap?

Direction-imageWe’ve been discussing losing control and losing momentum. Today’s post is about losing direction. It might feel like the same kind of discomfort, but the reason is different. Perhaps you are in the middle of a session and unexpectedly you feel surprised, overwhelmed, or incompetent.… Read more...

Ask Ellyn: 8 questions, 8 answers, 8 days!

Ellyn_Spring_2015_225You have probably had a couple who has stalled out. There is progress, then regression. This happens for many reasons: change requires time and developmental evolution; trauma gets triggered and re-triggered; partners don’t take home with them what they learned in therapy; and many more… So I've created a new series to help you when therapy stalls. In it I cover 8 common problems with 8 specific solutions to keep your work moving forward. It also includes principles and interventions you can apply immediately with your clients. Here are just a few of the questions from therapists like you that I will be answering: “I have a couple that often regresses into bickering, arguing and blaming.… Read more...

Clinical Example: Transcript of a Hostile Angry Couple

Young Couple Having Argument At Home   In my last blog post, I gave a list of practical suggestions to support your work with hostile angry couples.  To end my series on working with hostile angry couples, I offer you a transcript that demonstrates the last two principles that were on that list. These were my last two suggestions on that list: … Read more...

Practical Perspective for Fighting Couples

Oprah 225Recently we were fortunate to be published in The Oprah Magazine. It’s a publication that always puts things in a practical perspective. We were asked to offer a few insights into the frustrating and perplexing arena of fighting couples. You’ll find us in the November issue of The Oprah Magazine, on page 121.… Read more...