Anthropologist Helen Fisher uses her brain scanning studies (fMRI) of people happily in love, rejected in love and in love long-term to discuss the traits of romantic love, love-at-first-sight, and addiction to love. She focuses on her current research on 40,000 men and women to propose that four broad cognitive/behavioral personality trait constellations have evolved associated with the neural systems for dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen. Then she discusses her data on mate choice among 28,000 individuals to pro-pose why we are chemically drawn to one person rather than another.
To compensate for the brain’s innate negativity bias – making it like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones, which sensitizes couples to hurts and conflicts and undermines psychotherapy – we’ll explore a vital method in self-directed neuroplasticity: identifying key positive experiences and then registering them deeply in implicit memory.
Attachment injuries are a specific type of betrayal in romantic relationships that traumatize and fundamentally change basic relation-ship assumptions for injured partners and often create impasses in therapy. This workshop will present seven processes to restore love after an attachment injury and demonstrate elements of the healing process using video.
Some couples seem intractable and unchangeable, and their devotion to maintaining their misery seems mysterious. We often dread their next appointment. This workshop will demystify this well- known dynamic and describe and demonstrate concepts and processes that make working with the Couple-from-Hell joyful, even desirable.
Sexual infidelity often triggers a crisis that threatens the entire foundation of trust and connection in a couple. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the complexities of marriage, sex, intimacy, and monogamy in couples from a multicultural, nonjudgmental perspective. We’ll explore the motivations behind affairs and their possible meanings in different relationships, both heterosexual and gay. We’ll examine the benefits and costs of truth-telling and transparency, how couples can rebuild trust and intimacy, and why affairs can actually stabilize a marriage. With an eye on the existential, clinical and ethical aspects involved, we will focus on how our own assumptions, values, and personal experiences can influence our therapeutic work and elude the needs of the couple.
This workshop will identify the common mistakes in working with mixed-agenda couples (one leaning out and the other leaning in), and will teach you a protocol for “Discernment Counseling” to help clients make a decision that has integrity for all involved and that improves the odds that couples will try therapy to heal their broken bond.
A psychobiological approach to couple therapy utilizes a bottom-up versus a top-down approach to psychotherapy. This means that the couple’s therapist utilizes very fast, often surprising interventions in order to access implicit systems as revealed in micro expressions and micro-movements in the face and body, respectively. This workshop will introduce several exciting bottom-up techniques to use in couple therapy, including the use of surprise statements, movements, poses, and music.
In this workshop, we will look at fantasy as an ingenious way our creative mind overcomes all sorts of relational and intra psychic conflicts around desire and intimacy. Therapists can help clients develop a view of fantasy as a narrative that creates a safe space to experience the pleasure that can invigorate their loving relation-ships. They will decipher the meaning of sexual fantasies, approaching them more as dreams or complex symbolic structures than as literal narratives of secret intentions. In recognizing the depth, complexity and healing qualities of the erotic imagination, we explore sexual fantasy as a staging ground for action and escape that turns the tables on those responsible for earlier experiences of demoralization, defeat, and even trauma.