The power of the “Paper Exercise”

In the Developmental Model we use a deceptively simple tool called the Paper Exercise to help assess the developmental level of clients.  Using a “projective” technique, we deliberately set up a conflict between a couple and observe how they deal with it.  Although it’s an artificial situation we set up, it’s usually a pretty good … Read more

Feeling vulnerable vs being vulnerable

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines vulnerable as ‘capable of being physically or emotionally wounded; open to attack or damage’. Understandably, many of us work hard to avoid being vulnerable. Why would you want to leave yourself open to being wounded or attacked? Clients will choose to make themselves vulnerable if they believe that the rewards are … Read more

Separating Explanation From Justification

couple with heads in hands

Hopefully, your clients are familiar with the notion that when we act on our self-protective impulses, we invariably behave in ways that are damaging to our relationship.  That’s why in the DM we call these “ineffective self-protective behaviours”.  We all have them and will do them reflexively when feeling threatened in some way.  When I … Read more

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