My Couple Therapy
- I work
on the well founded clinical assumption that
people in long term relationships always pair up
with an emotional equal, so if you believe that
you are either significantly healthier or more
dysfunctional than your partner, be prepared to
confront yourself about this.
opposite of dysfunctional is dysfunctional. The
cure for being violent or mean is not to become
overly "nice" and passive-aggressive. The cure
for strict, rigid parenting is not to baby
children and give them no limits. Being
dependent and clingy is not remedied by becoming
"needless" and over-independent. The cure for
boredom is not chaos.
not try to waste your time and money by using
our meetings as "complaint sessions" in which
you come in and tattle on your partner and then
look to me to pass judgment on which one of you
has been better or worse since our last session.
It is your marriage, and only you can make that
determination. My job is to help you confront
it may take a number of sessions for this to
occur, when both of you make the all-important
shift to asking what your own part is in the
problem instead of how things would be better if
your partner would just change, the therapy work
begins to accelerate dramatically.
definition, marriage is a sexual relationship.
problems that we all have in our sex lives have
the identical structure to our financial
conflicts, our battles about children, our
struggles with in-laws, and so on. In systems,
this is called isomorphism .
distance between an awful and an awesome
relationship is often minimal. What makes change
difficult for some people is that they either
want a dramatic, quick fix-there is no such
thing-or they are unwilling to change one small
belief about life that will turn their
relationship from a disaster into a blessing.
does not leave a relationship after six or ten
years. Passion and chemistry are essential and
permanent fixtures in healthy romantic/marital
relationships. If the passion is dead or dying,
it is most likely because the couple is either
afraid of conflict, or has engaged in
destructive conflict for so long that they have
become more or less constantly frightened or
numb. In either case, learning to have a clear,
strong self and clear, healthy conflict without
doing damage is key to having deep intimacy.
need to learn to both express and also contain
their emotions. Doing one without the other
creates big problems in a romantic relationship.
is always preceded by one, or some, or all of
the following: fear, hurt, shame, sadness, and
loneliness. These "softer emotions" are the keys
to relationship violence, but they are also the
keys to the deepest connections imaginable. It
all depends on how you use them.
about little stuff-being late, leaving socks on
the closet floor, using your partner's favorite
pen, etc. If you believe you shouldn't fight
about these things because that's not what
grown-ups fight about, you're wrong. You might
ask yourself why you believe that.