Developmental Model

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...

What do you do when therapy stalls after the first few sessions?

couples therapy stalls Ask Ellyn #8: I am good at getting started with couples, but after 8-10 sessions I feel stuck. I seemed to make headway at the beginning, but now my sessions seem repetitive. What am I missing? The couple keeps bringing up the same old complaints. What do you do when therapy stalls?… Read more...

How do you work with a partner who is stuck in problem-solving?

Young couple with problem in therapy session on reception for family psychologist Ask Ellyn #7: A common problem I encounter is one partner who is stuck in problem-solving rather than being able to listen or be empathic. How do you start changing this dynamic?  … Read more...

How do you transform demanding, self-absorbed partners?

self-absorbed partner in therapy session Ask Ellyn #6: I get incredibly frustrated with clients who are so wrapped up in themselves that they dominate sessions and make outrageous demands on their partners while expecting little of themselves. I haven’t been able to disrupt this pattern.  How do you transform such selfishness?… Read more...

How do you stay focused when couples bring in new complaints every week?

couple that needs to keep focused Ask Ellyn #5: My angry, fighting couples dump so many issues on me. I want to keep them on track. How do you stay focused when couples bring in a new complaint every week?  … Read more...

How can you mobilize ambivalent clients who resist your interventions?

couple with therapist resist change Ask Ellyn #4: I have clients who seem to have clear goals. But then they ignore my suggestions and insights. How can you mobilize clients who resist and even thwart your interventions?  … Read more...

How do you help a betrayed partner get past anger after infidelity?

anger after infidelity Ask Ellyn #3: How do I help a betrayed partner get past unrelenting anger after infidelity is revealed?    … Read more...

How do you create more effective sessions with bickering couples?

bickering couple Ask Ellyn #2: I work with a lot of angry couples that regress easily into bickering, arguing, and competing. My attempts to have them take turns talking, look at what’s under their defenses, or set goals have little effect. Do you have any suggestions about how to create more effective sessions?… Read more...

How do you create change with conflict-avoidant partners?

conflict-avoidant couple with therapist Ask Ellyn #1: I find conflict-avoidant couples more challenging than hostile couples. At least the angry couples have a lot of energy. How do you create change with conflict-avoidant partners?  … Read more...

Suggestions for Working with Hostile Angry Couples

Young Couple Having Argument At HomeWe are now halfway through my blog series on Hostile Angry Couples. In the first blog I wrote about some challenges you face working with these couples. The second blog suggested goals for both you and the couple. At the end of the second blog post, I promised to summarize some solutions to these challenges.… Read more...
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