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 Where most couples get stuck
HELPING CLIENTS MAKE THE MOST OF COUPLE TIME Like a business or a garden or a vintage car, relationships need constant maintenance; frequent and consistent attending to. If your clients are not attending to their relationship by investing time and effort in it, they can’t expect it to work well. Even if your clients are … Read more Couple Time – time for what?
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 A tip to aid connection when working online
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 WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN CLIENTS SAY “WE CAN’T COMMUNICATE”?
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 The “Big Three” Relationship Skills
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 An iceberg model of consciousness
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 Finding the Middle Ground between Selfish and Selfless
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 Level Up your clients
In talking with clients, have you ever noticed people describing their partner (or themselves) as “needy” or “demanding”? They complain about pressure for (or a lack of) affection, sex, attention, talk etc. Yet our culture idealises the notion of needing your partner. “I need you” is generally offered up in a movie or book as the … Read more Using the important difference between “need” & “want”
Esther Perel recently published a new book called “The State of Affairs” which both Paula and I think is great and recommend highly. It’s got both of us thinking about how we work with infidelity and this is the first of a series of blogs on the topic – something of a warmup for our … Read more Defining Infidelity