Getting past “I don’t know”

Wheel diagram of emotions

In our culture, many people, especially those raised male, have been given little training in making sense of or talking about their internal experience. Indeed, many were actively punished for showing emotions or expressing uncertainty, doubt etc. Shamed for their normal, human vulnerabilities they have understandably developed an aversion to talking about their feelings and … Read more

Where most couples get stuck

 The Developmental Model outlines 5 stages that people grow through in the course of a long-term relationship The secong of these stages is “Differentiating” and this is the place that so many of our clients are stuck at.  They cling on, unconsciously but desperately, to the fantasy of fusion, of “the two becoming one”, and … Read more

A tip to aid connection when working online

Dear colleagues We know the therapeutic relationship is at the heart of our effectiveness. Yet when working via video conference, it can be hard maintaining a strong sense of connection with your clients.  Here’s a tip from my misspent youth that night help… When I was an actor working in theatres I was taught that … Read more

WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN CLIENTS SAY “WE CAN’T COMMUNICATE”?

SUPPORTING TRANSFORMATION FROM A SILENT DANCE TO AN HONEST ASK Experienced couple therapists know that “communication problems” are almost never the real problem.  Formulating within the Developmental Model allows us to identify where each partner is held up in their relational development.  People who say “we can’t communicate” are often holding onto lifelong symbiotic fantasies … Read more

The “Big Three” Relationship Skills

The “Big Three” Fundamental Relationship Skills PART 1 Many of our clients have had limited opportunities to experience healthy relating directly as they were growing up.  Their role models were absent, ineffective or abusive.  As a result they are at a genuine loss to know what to do when trying to form or be present … Read more

An iceberg model of consciousness

Explaining how therapy works can be hard Clients who haven’t had much practice at self-exploration or even talking about their feelings often need quite a bit of psychoeducation about the therapy process. I have adapted Freud’s “iceberg” model by getting rid of the confusing notion of the “pre-conscious” and accepting consciousness is a function of … Read more

Finding the Middle Ground between Selfish and Selfless

Lots of couples have one person who is more self-centred and one who is more self-sacrificing.  Often we have learned these ways of operating as a self-protection in our formative years. It can be hard for clients to understand what the alternative is – often they fear that they might become like their partner (whose … Read more

Level Up your clients

Clients often mean ALL kinds of things when they say they have “problems communicating”.  But one thing it can be very useful to help them sort out is; what “level” are they communicating at? I describe 3 levels to my clients: 1. CONTENT level – we are having a discussion about whether we should try … Read more