There is a deafening silence concerning mate selection in relationship therapy. Do we dare talk about what research says works–and doesn’t work? Are we afraid any insight might be used to justify leaving a good-enough relationship? While we all know relationships which defy logic, there are clear principles which can increase the probability of a more perfect union. These and other research facts will be explored.
Everybody lies. Some lies are loving and harmless. But, others are enormously destructive. Couples’ patterns of deception often begin innocently but end in couples destroying the love they once had. Self- deception, conflict avoidance and felony lies all undermine commitment and connection. Learn to identify and disrupt deception, confront evasiveness and hypocrisy and facilitate differentiation.
Attachment theory posits, along with those healthy ones, the ‘securely attached,” two important types of troubled groups – those with “anxious,” and “avoidant,” attachment styles. Said in plain English, this amounts to pursuers and distancers. But the pursuer/distancer dynamic has been a central concern to couples and family therapy since it’s inception in the nineteen-fifties. This workshop will look at some of the many ways this dynamic has been thought of and treated – from recursive feedback loops, to “love addiction/love avoidance,” to attachment styles and beyond.
Affairs can have a devastating impact on couple relationships. Emotionally Focused Therapy provides a powerful way to intervene when there has been an affair. This workshop provides a typology of different types of affairs and treatment strategies for each type. Using video and case demonstration, participants will learn how to identify, manage, and bring healing and safety to couple relationships when there has been an affair.
Gay men face unique challenges regarding intimacy, communication and personal autonomy. Hiding due to being gay along with being raised male, creates a dynamic of distancing as the norm. The goal of psychotherapy is to accept and verbalize vulnerabilities in a context of safety, encourage revealing oneself for the sake of self-acceptance, and to learn how to receive nurturance from others. This workshop will define the art of how to gain connection while maintaining autonomy. There will also be an emphasis on sexuality and how specific attachment styles effects choices related to safety, security and risky sexual practices.
All couples and couples therapies struggle with issues of mixed loyalties. At any given moment, do I choose my own fulfillment as an individual or do I yield to the needs of the relationship? Is it a zero-sum game in which one partner wins and one loses – and if not, how else can we think about it? This keynote address introduces a model integrating both attachment and differentiation in couples therapy through the idea of enlightened self-interest – taking care of yourself by taking care of the relationship – as well as a model of healthy sacrifice, which is missing in our contemporary, Narcissistic culture.
Research confirms our clinical experience. We can teach partners all manner of skills but in moments of triggering, emotional flooding, skills go out the window. Why? Because we are no longer in our adult selves. Our thinking brain has shut down and the limbic system has taken over. An inner child part has seized the wheel. This workshop introduces a model of working with the traumatized parts of the partners we treat by empowering individuals to come into conscious relationship with those parts—loving, understanding, and ultimately containing them.