7 Traits of the Hostile Angry Couple

Have you ever felt yourself totally stymied by an angry fighting couple? That happens to just about every therapist, because change isn’t simple. Propelling reliable change takes working with a very specific set of principles and a very targeted set of skills. And, you need to be a strong leader, who sets firm boundaries, and addresses  underlying deficits without letting either partner bully you into discussing the fight of the week. That’s a tall order! Who would want to work with the type of couple that challenges you so much and so often? Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that these types of couples stretch you.… Read more... “7 Traits of the Hostile Angry Couple”

The Self-Absorbed Partner

charts and graphs of salesA very big thanks to you if you filled out my survey on the Self-Absorbed Partner. I must have hit a nerve because nearly 200 readers answered the questions.… Read more... “The Self-Absorbed Partner”

Regression and its Impact in Couples Therapy

This month let's look at regression in couples therapy. The old adage says “where the attention goes, the energy flows.” Regressed partners in couples therapy often demand that either you or their partner focus on them. At times, attending to and even promoting regression can facilitate change. However, often it is counterproductive and reinforces patterns that keep the couple stuck. In this newsletter, we will briefly explore what is regression, three issues that tend to intensify regression, and how a therapist may inadvertently contribute to increasing the regression. What Is Regression?… Read more... “Regression and its Impact in Couples Therapy”

Couples Therapy Tools: The Paper Exercise

When I am doing training, I get many requests to learn more about the Paper Exercise. I thought you might like having more information about it. The Paper Exercise is an exercise that Pete and I adapted from Susan Campbell’s book, The Couples Journey. The exercise sounds a bit contrived, but it is so revealing of couples’ dynamics that it is worthwhile learning to use it. It can be used either diagnostically or as an intervention into the couples’ system. Setting up the exercise You will need a piece of plain white 8 ½ x 11 paper. Hold it in your hand, look into the eyes of one partner, and say, “This piece of paper represents something important to you.… Read more... “Couples Therapy Tools: The Paper Exercise”

Beyond Plateaus

Quick Questions to Help Increase Momentum When Couples Therapy is Bogged Down Therapists often tell us that they're quite skilled at getting started with a couple, but they eventually arrive at a point where it seems like the couple is making little or no progress. They'd like to develop some momentum in couples therapy. This month let's look at some questions to ask yourself in the middle stages of couples therapy. This can be helpful even if you and the couple aren't stuck at a plateau, just to keep your work together focused and effective. When progress has slowed, ask yourself: 1. Has sufficient progress been made for now?… Read more... “Beyond Plateaus”