Practice Development Dispatch

New Homework Assignment

I am often asked the questions, “How do I assign relevant homework to couples that I am seeing? Do you have suggestions for fine tuning homework uniquely to each couple?” This month I thought I would share an easy to use, yet highly productive homework assignment. This assignment deepens each partner's understanding of how the other thinks about a particularly charged topic. Let's say that a couple is fighting about how they each discipline their kids. One says, “you are too strict.” The other retorts “you are too loose.” The more lenient partner wants support from the other, and you know that any superficial agreement they make will fall apart quickly.… 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...

Identify Two Common Inhibitors to Progress in Couples Therapy

  This month, we thought we'd address the problem of being “lost and wandering” in the middle stage of couples therapy. This can be tough because the couple may not tell you directly. You may not want to admit it to yourself. Or, if you admit it, it may take you time to figure out how to get back on track. Here are some ideas to simplify the process of regrouping. If you are “lost and wandering,” it is often the result of one of the following two problems. I. GOAL DIFFICULTY: You have lost track of the original goal, or the partners have become vague and ill-defined about their own goals.… Read more...

Better Communication Now

…Transferring Initiator-Inquirer Skills Learned in Therapy Sessions to Home We love getting questions and comments from our readers. This month we will answer a wonderful question that came from Heather in San Diego about helping couples achieve better communication between sessions. Heather asked: “I am successful in getting couples to do the Initiator-Inquirer in sessions, but not as successful at getting them to do the Initiator-Inquirer outside the four walls of my office. Do you have any thoughts/suggestions about how I am contributing to this and what I can do to help them push forward?” Heather's question is a common one.… Read more...

Integrating Individual Therapy Sessions into Couples Therapy

… 6 Advantages of Making This Choice This month we are writing our thoughts about the question that is asked more often than any other when we are teaching and training. The question is: Do you see partners individually when you are working with the couple? Our resounding answer is yes. There are more advantages of doing this than there are disadvantages. However, each case must be evaluated on a case by case basis. First, let's be clear. We are not talking about taking either partner into long-term, intensive individual therapy with us. We are talking about intertwining couples' and individual sessions throughout the process of couples work, while keeping each partner's goals in the forefront.… 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...

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 Step Process if You Want to Influence Your Spouse to Change

  Everyone has something they'd like to change in their partner. As a therapist, you know that the biggest improvements in a couples' relationship come when both people change and grow. Couples' relationships present an interesting paradox. Growth is spurred by partners pushing up against each other and challenging one another to change. This pushing and challenging can result in positive developmental changes and the softening of defenses. However, too often partners request change in a way that is controlling, demanded and entitled. These requests lead to power struggles and very painful interactions.… Read more...

Early Stages of Couples Therapy

… Define Yourself Clearly to Your Clients Last month we started working on your own definition of what you offer to the couples in your practice. This month we will talk about what you expect from your clients and how you tell them. Clarity on your expectations is a process of self-definition. This means you bring your own differentiation into the therapy. It is not easy to define what you expect from your clients–they represent a diverse group. And how can you describe your expectations of future clients, people you haven't even met yet? At first, when you write down your expectations, you might discover, like we did, that they are incomplete, ill-formed, vague, contradictory, unrealistic, incompatible, or impossible for all couples.… Read more...

How To Be a Better Couples Therapist

…with one Exercise–Guaranteed! Want to improve your ability and your self esteem as a couples therapist? You can, with one exercise. This one exercise won't be easy or simple, but it will be effective and will pay dividends for years to come. The problem. Couples enter therapy and after the initial sessions a common pattern emerges. They begin the sessions reporting on the fight of the week. Each person trots out their complaint and hopes you will somehow wave a magic wand and bring relief by fixing their partner. They are not eager to hear you ask, “Well, what is each of you willing to do to change these patterns?” They hope, expect and want answers from you.… Read more...
Menu