NP0011 Who's Afraid of Couples Therapy?

This blog focuses on discussion regarding the course NP0011 Who's Afraid of Couples Therapy?

NP0011, Couples, Session 5, Jette Simon

Explore this classic dynamic of couples therapy—an angry woman and a withdrawn man—that’s often confusing for therapists, with couples therapist Jette Simon. Learn more about what’s behind the feelings of anger and the behavior of withdrawing, and how clinicians can more effectively work with shame and fear of disconnection.

After the session, please take a few minutes to let us know what you think. What did Simon discuss that was new to you? What was most interesting to you? Do you have any similar experiences working with couples? We invite you to share your thoughts, questions, and revelations, as well as including your name and hometown with your comments.

If you have any technical questions, please feel free to contact support@psychotherapynetworker.org. Thanks for your participation.

12.30.2011   Posted In: NP0011 Who's Afraid of Couples Therapy?   By Psychotherapy Networker
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  • Not available avatar Linda Bilunka 01.04.2012 13:24
    Does this work for angry men and withdrawn women?
  • Not available avatar Anne Desmond 01.04.2012 15:25
    Rich and Jette,
    Today's session was very fresh, rich and alive. Thank you SO much! . . It was particularly helpful, Rich, each time that you asked Jette "what would that sound like in the session, what would you say?" And then, Jette, you gave us the language that you use with the couple, speaking to "him" or to "her" in ways that brought your approach, your thinking, to life for me. Rich, as you no doubt know, one of the most frequently asked questions from beginning therapists is: "How would you say that? What would that sound like?"

    Also, I was especially interested, Jette, in your handling of yourself and the couple in the first session -- that you spend a lot of time connecting, as therapist, with each partner, before having them dialogue with each other--except perhaps for an appreciation or something like that.

    Important to hear that you guide them in that first hour away from blame by asking what each does that irritates the other, etc . .Important for me to hear your early emphasis on intention. .even in the first session, and how that is a recurring theme or touchstone throughout the therapy.

    I see one couple with whom I so much wish I'd started in the way you describe. . and now wish we could back up and start again with some of the ideas and insights you offered today. I will think about how I may incorporate some of what I experienced listening to you today into my work with this particular couple -- but I must say I wish I lived closer to you and could have a the benefit of consultation.
  • Not available avatar Anne Desmond 01.04.2012 16:36
    Jette, of great interest, too, is the piece that you have each person write at the close of each session.
    I am wondering about it. A record of what each one learned in the session? Is that it. And about intentions, are they recorded too? Ongoing? So that the written pieces eventually comprise a record of new learnings and intentions that can be and sometimes are referred to?

    Shame. The word. The effect in your workshops of naming it, of using the word. The effect on both the men and the women.

    Jette I have checked Amazon and see no books authored by you. Can you suggest anything -- short of a book - -that you may have written? I know you referred to Sue Johnson's influence.

    I did hear you say that the best move for a couple therapist would be to come to one of your couples workshops, and of course that is true. But I am no longer part of a couple so that is not an option for me.

  • Not available avatar Joy 01.06.2012 14:23
    Oh what a delight to listen to Jette's wisdom drawn out by Rich's love! If that's what comes from getting to know the inside of us, and understanding my role in blaming or withdrawing, yes please! I also deeply appreciate the respect shown by checking with the couple - is this how it is for you? quite often, and reframing the explosiveness or silence, both, as ways of keeping the relationship, because the relationsip matters so much.
    Thank you for your wisdom Jette, and interviewing Rich to help us understand how paralysing shame can be. And the humour all through. Hope you had some good coffee together!
    Much love, Dave and Joy
  • Not available avatar Robyn 01.06.2012 18:27
    Absolutely wonderful and informative! Very helpful series. Thank you.
  • Not available avatar Shirley 01.06.2012 21:30
    Thank you for this session. There was much I hadn't thought about before and there were some ideas I had thought about before. I can't tell you how meaningful it was to hear what happens when one goes deeper and doesn't get entangled in content. I do feel that the client needs to feel heard through the story, but the process work bears the fruit. I also thank you for your language and examples of what you might do and when. Best wishes, Shirley
  • Not available avatar Andrea 01.07.2012 14:55
    Jette.. would you comment on the "pay off" for the angry, critical maximizer?
  • Not available avatar Al 01.07.2012 16:36
    Rich and Jette,

    Thanks for such an informative session. I have heard many talks on Imago therapy and feel that you both were very clear in describing some basic aspects of bringing it into the therapy room.
    Jette very good questions to create safety and openness by providing a specific structure.
  • Not available avatar Renee Segal 01.07.2012 22:46
    Great session, my favorite part was Rich talking about how shameful it is for men not too feel like a "REAL MAN". I think this is important, and I see this often when there has been an affair because he has become withdrawn and taken his needs into work and then realizes that his wife has taken her needs outside the marriage.

    I also enjoyed the interchange between Jetta and Rich, I could really feel your connection to one another and it was sweet

    Thank you! I look forward to hearing more from Jetta at the symposium in March!
    Renee (Minnetonka, MN)
  • Not available avatar leticia 01.09.2012 22:53
    What a great presentation, and how enriching that you are a couple yourselves, the very best of the series on "Whose afraid of Couples Therapy" and that´s no small feat because they have been extremely interesting. Thank you again and Bravo for the very dear Psychotherapy Networker"
  • Not available avatar Lynn Mikkelsen 01.09.2012 23:56
    Jette and Rich - I just watched your conversation for the second time and like someone else above said, your love and warmth for each other adds immensely to your presentation. It was a joy to hear how you weave several of your trainings together with your own personal style. This discussion of how you dialogue with couples is a refreshing and enlightening model of excellence.
    Thank you,
  • Not available avatar Sneha Nikam 01.10.2012 11:40
    Dear Rich Sir and Jette Ma'am first of all congragulations for a lovely couple that you both are. I liked this session, it was very detail covering subtle intricacies happening with such cases. Another great learning session.

    My sincere thanks and best wishes to both of you.

    Mumbai (INDIA).
  • Not available avatar Sheryl 01.10.2012 14:07
    I really enjoyed the session. Jette's warmth and connection in her approach to couples is evident. The part on contracts was particularly interesting to me, as was the discussion on men and shame.
    How can I access the article you mentioned pertaining to men and shame Rich?
    Was it by David Westler?. " The Secret World of men"- is that right? I couldn't find it in Psychotherapy Networker archives.
    Thank you

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