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.
The empty chair psychodrama was first made popular by Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt therapy. It has since been adapted into Redecision Therapy, The Developmental Model, Voice Dialogue, Family Constellation, and even Cognitive-Behavioral therapy. PACT has adapted this approach for use within the couple session when consistent projection or projective identification processes impede the forward development of one or both partners. This particular technique uses Self and Object Relations theory to capture real time archaic self and object representations that maintain an ego syntonic, regressed relationship with one (or more) original caregiver(s). The psychodrama provides an opportunity for the couple therapist to bring this maladaptive early relationship to light and to make strides toward ego dystonic rejection of the regressive behavior.
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.
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.