Extrinsic forces, centered in racism, classism, sexism, heteronormativity, ageism, ableism, and other intersecting identities impact relationships. However, they factors are not extrinsic, as we are all steeped in and operate from or are operated on, but these factors making them all too present and, unfortunately, made invisible to us as clinicians and the relational systems that we work with. The panel will define these factors, explore the power of their invisibility and impacts on relationships at the micro, mezzo and macros levels of experience and discuss their clinical implications on relational and systemic therapies.
When it comes to sex issues, therapists are understandably concerned about crossing a boundary, making their clients uncomfortable, or getting outside of their scope of practice. However, when therapists shy away from bringing up sexuality, they may be missing serious (even life-threatening) issues. In this skill-building presentation, Martha will share her unique approach to bringing up sex, including how to follow up ethically and thoroughly once the topic is open. When should you refer or consult? Where is the line regarding scope of practice? What language will help both you and your clients feel comfortable? How much do you need to know about sex? How do you tell whether you’re dealing with relational issue or a sex issue? What should you focus on first? Discover the answers to these questions and more, and walk away with a set of tools you can apply in your very next session.
The process of working with erotic transference and countertransference is often avoided in clinical practice and in the training of psychotherapists. As therapists we must recognize and address that erotic transference and countertransference are significant pathways, albeit uncomfortable topics steeped in fear and defensiveness, toward greater vulnerability, healing, and the potential for growth within the clients we treat and the clinicians we long to be. This keynote discussion will begin a conversation on the process of removing fear from topics traditionally avoided within the realm of normative psychotherapy practice and parameters for their exploration within a boundaried and ethical framework will be provided.
For this workshop, we will briefly review research on discussing race related themes and concerns between interracial couples. The presenter will introduce 2-3 interracial couples currently in treatment with this provider and some presenting concerns around sociocultural identity differences, perspectives on social justice, and how the couple discussed or did not discuss microaggressions one partner of the couple experienced outside of the relationship. The presenter will address her own countertransference processes, how she conceptualized the conflicts, and how she addressed and facilitated dialogue between the couple. Participants will also have an opportunity to present their own cases, challenges moments, and questions they have regarding how to address race related presenting issues.
Dishonesty can damage relationships and undermine therapy, but honesty is hard, especially for some clients. And yet, for therapy to progress, romantic partners need to be able to navigate thorny discussions with honesty and respect—and couples therapists need to avoid getting roped into being the lie detector. Honesty and disclosure are an important part of effective therapy, but they are also an important goal to work towards. We will begin by discussing the different kinds of dishonesty, the purposes that they serve, and the impact that actual or suspected dishonesty has on the partner and relationship. Then we will discuss how to help clients build the skills to be able to be more honest with themselves, their partner, and their therapist, as well as how to help partners be better receivers of honest disclosure, so that both partners feel empowered to shift a dissatisfying dynamic.
What kills desire in long-term relationships, and how do you help clients with desire discrepancy find one another again? Desire may be mysterious, but relational dynamics that block it--like pressure for sex, managing sex pain, and sexual performance issues--are very predictable. Learn how to identify and work effectively with these tough but common blocks so that desire can bloom again. You’ll gain clinical tools for depathologizing desire differences, starting a collaborative conversation about pleasure, and helping partners build the skills to stay flexible and connected through sexual challenges.
The Solution Focused Approach has been around since the 1970s and in that time it has grown in prominence and popularity amongst professionals in many fields. One area where it has been gaining steam in recent years has been in working with couples. This is an approach about using questions to help the couple move their relationship from the problem towards a future that is more desirable to both partners.
Many therapists dedicate much therapy time helping betrayed partners heal deep emotional wounds in the wake of an affair. Therapy is often lopsided in a victim–perpetrator model, dealing with the injury of the betrayal. Less attention is typically paid to helping the partners who had the affair, one-night stand, or online infidelity, especially regarding why and how it happened. This workshop will give you a more nuanced understanding of the motivations for the infidelity and present practical interventions around the underlying meaning of the cheating and what it means about the relationship.
Most clinical conversations about couple relationship problems occur in individual therapy, not couples therapy. But individual therapy models offer little guidance for how to address relationship problems. The result is that therapists sometimes collude with their client’s view of the partner and offer one-sided narratives of complex relational problems. This doesn’t help the client and can undermine the relationship. Even couples therapists sometimes make the same mistakes when doing individual therapy. This workshop will provide specific tools and guidelines for helping individual clients in the context of their relationship, while avoiding common traps when we are seeing just one member of a couple.
The Developmental Model, or DM, is a sophisticated orientation to understanding intimate partner relationships. Organizing relational processes through the lenses of attachment theory, developmental and neuropsychology, and family systems theory the DM maintains a nonpsychopathologizing perspective while fostering interconnection through the process of differentiation. However, The DM, like many models of relational therapy, was not designed to explore the complexities and lived experiences of those with multiple intersecting identities or queer identity formation as areas of consideration and exploration in clinical practice.