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

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 An iceberg model of consciousness

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 Finding the Middle Ground between Selfish and Selfless

Using the important difference between “need” & “want”

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”

Challenging irresponsibility for sexual connection

In the second of two blogs reporting on Ellyn Bader’s recent therapist workshop on Confrontation, Paula offers an in-depth and advanced exploration of a very common issue for couples: In the workshop Ellyn showed us how to skilfully challenge subtle (and not so subtle) patterns of symbiotic regression which prevent couples from continuing relational development. She … Read more Challenging irresponsibility for sexual connection

Go for the Jugular Gently: Confrontation as the powerhouse of Couple Therapy

Recently Dr Ellyn Bader presented an online therapist workshop on Confrontation. In this she described “the how, the when and the what” of using confrontation skilfully in couple therapy. Here’s Paula’s report on the training Essentially the technique (or HOW) of therapeutic confrontation involves being able to help each partner see which specific aspect of … Read more Go for the Jugular Gently: Confrontation as the powerhouse of Couple Therapy