self-awareness

Fear of Couples Therapy

Many therapists are drawn to doing psychotherapy in order to be helpers and also because we enjoy the closeness with our clients. Individual therapy can be calming and comfortable. It feels good and we often like the experience of providing support and unconditional positive regard to our clients. I don’t mean to imply that individual therapy is without its difficult confrontations. But in individual therapy, our clients can titrate how slowly or quickly they inform us about their “dark side”. In couples work, the other partner may dump the worst aspects of their spouse on us in the first session.  And things escalate quickly because, after all, who is able to be openly, vulnerably accountable for their own behavior under these conditions?… Read more...

Working to Build Attachment while Facilitating Differentiation

Last month I invited readers to list Attachment and Differentiation-based interventions in two different lists on the blog. A special thanks to those of you who shared your ideas. Developing a strong direction with a high probability of success in couples therapy often involves supporting the couple's bond and simultaneously stressing differentiation. What does this actually look like as you start out with a couple? In early sessions, it is important to define what positive outcome each partner is trying to create. Ask the partners, “What kind of relationship do you want to be in?”  Often couples come to therapy because they are stimulating negative, traumatic reactions in each other and can't extract themselves from these cycles without help from a third party.… Read more...
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