Initiator-Inquirer Process

Managing Control Issues in Couples Therapy

For this blog post, I am giving you part of a transcript from an Initiator-Inquirer session. It is about working with control struggles, improving couple’s communication, and what that means on a deeper level. This session was very rich in learning, so I am going to break it down into several posts. I’d like you to comment on what you see me doing and on anything you learn from reading this portion of the session. Then in a later mailing I will give you the next section. Vicky and Tom have been married for eight years and in business together for two years. He is 36 and she is 37. They came to therapy because they had been fighting, power struggling and getting nowhere on their own.… 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...

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...

How to Talk More Successfully About Household Clutter

… By Emphasizing 4 Quandrants of Effective Communication   The most common presenting problem couples report is…. Communication. But what does that really mean? If you ask couples what they mean, the responses are typically disappointingly vague. Often they think just one new skill is needed. Some believe it is a skill like archery, as if with the right technique they can hit one conversational bull's eye after another. Survey a large group of therapists and it's doubtful you could get a clear consensus what communication is or how to teach it. And yet, it is one of the most commonly used words in marital therapy and in couples' self help books.… Read more...
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