Practice Development Dispatch

Marital Therapy When Partners Have Incompatible Goals

“Practice Development Dispatch” Newsletter Collection It was the first session with a very distressed couple -the woman had made an irrevocable decision the marriage was over. We were discussing her decision, but her husband did not want to accept it. He wanted their kids, ages 9 and 7, to have an intact family, and he still wanted to be with her. After some discussion, I became very clear that the marriage was over for her, and that it had been for years. Her only objective was better communication for the sake of the kids. Their goals were clearly irreconcilable. I began by describing his dilemma: if he really heard what she was saying, he had no alternative but to feel depressed and grieve for a marriage that was over.… Read more...

Recognizing Beliefs that Foster Marital Disillusionment

  Partners meet. They fall in love and everything is wonderful – until within a year or two when they get mugged by the realities of daily life. Then comes the inevitable disillusionment. The partners don't conform to each others' fantasies and their flaws become more visible. This disillusionment phase is ripe for wrenching growth and for productive movement into the stage of differentiation. However, instead of growing in ways that are required to manage this painful disillusionment, many partners never progress. Instead of making the transition beyond symbiosis, they get entrenched in circular nonproductive patterns.… Read more...

7 Strategies for Establishing Positive Contact in Couples Therapy

  In this newsletter, we look at the issue of how you establish contact in the early sessions of couples therapy. Most graduate school courses teach the importance demonstrating unconditional positive regard for our clients. This is taught as a primary way to make good contact. While it can work well with individual clients, it's not as simple in the more complex triangle of couples therapy. Couples often show us many of their destructive or dysfunctional behaviors in the early sessions. We certainly don't want to show unconditional positive regard or acceptance for these behaviors. Also, partners watch carefully to see what we accept about the other.… Read more...