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.
For this course, we will first begin by discussing common and unique issues in working with interracial couples. We will then review what “modern isms” are and how they are enacted from one’s historically included identities. After introducing the foundational knowledge and constructs, we will consider options for addressing and naming “modern isms” and that occur within the context of the therapy room between diverse couples and between one or both members of the couple and the therapist. The instructor will share several clinical examples and discuss how she addressed the modern isms in session.
The Solution Focused Approach is known for being a questions based way of working with clients, thus the key to mastering this approach lays within developing the ability to ask questions that lead toward change. This is an even more crucial skill when working with couples due to the fact that there is more than one person present in the session. This presentation will clearly show how to ask the kinds of questions that evoke love and happiness in a couple's lives.
As more and more people experiment with non-monogamy, therapists everywhere are being called upon to work with polyamory-related relational challenges. Are you prepared to help a client navigate the predictable pitfalls that come with a transition into an open relationship? Clients may be affected by pre-existing unresolved relational issues, like infidelity or substance abuse. They may have significant knowledge deficits about non-monogamous relationship styles, or difficulty making and keeping agreements. Or they may not be able to agree on whether to open their relationship in the first place. How can you help clients build the skills they need in order to make polyamory work well, and what skills are those? Gain concrete strategies for handling the key difficulties your clients will face when opening up. Expect case examples, worksheets and exercises, and an opportunity to ask Martha about your toughest polyamory-related cases.
In this golden age for models of couples therapy, therapists may wonder if they should be practicing the “one best model.” The research is clear that couples therapy models that have been tested are about equally effective, and that there are a number of key ingredients in any effective way to practice couples therapy. The presenter will describe these key ingredients that cut across models and some skills necessary to practice any model. He will argue that since this therapy is about improving relationships, the relationships we establish with our couple clients—balanced, caring, and sometimes challenging—are the heart of what we have to do well.
One out of eleven couples has one partner with ADHD which can impact not only the individual, but also makes certain relationship dynamics more likely—and makes these couples more likely to show up in your office. Unfortunately, if the one partner’s ADHD isn’t addressed directly, the therapist will get stuck in the same traps as the partners do. We will begin with a more useful conceptualization of how ADHD impacts an individual’s abilities to meet daily demands. We will then discuss how this sets up the dynamics that commonly develop in these couples, so that you can help these clients break free of the disempowering tug of war and create a more balanced and satisfying relationship. This will include how ADHD impacts a couple’s sex life and how to make yet another area of discontent into a shared activity that adds energy to the relationship. This presentation will be full of practical strategies you can use with your next client.
Working with sexuality and the erotic behavior many people engage in today can challenge a therapist’s deeply held beliefs about sex and relationships. It can be difficult just to keep up with the impact of technology on sexual behavior, especially with the advent of sex robots, teledildonics, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality. Intensive and fun, this workshop includes videos, expert panels, and small-group discussion to help therapists face their own preconceived notions and countertransference around sex and intimacy.
During this time of extreme polarization in the country, political stress has invaded couple relationships. Loyalties to different political tribes create tensions, as do different ways of coping with this stressful environment. This is new territory for couples therapists, and of course we are dealing with our own distress about what’s going on the country. The presenter will offer clinical strategies for helping couples in turbulent times, along with examples of how he has applied couples therapy strategies to create community interventions to reduce polarization, via the nonprofit Braver Angels.
Couple therapists must be able to organize each session in such a way that allows for measuring progress in their treatment plan. One such way is to think of placing the couple and therapist in discreet “containers” or exercises that stress the couple. These exercises, tasks, or games allow the therapist to test and retest hypotheses, test a particular capacity, or otherwise allow the therapist to view couple performance in real time. These containers include a task, timing, and possible roles casted by the therapist and may include a role the therapist must also play. An example might be a psychodrama whereby partners must replay a recent event – step by step – as the therapist, as investigator, gets the facts. Or another container might involve a deal breaker issue whereby partners are required to persuade each other out of a deal breaker while the therapist plays the role of mediating only the manner in which partners argue their points.