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Couples Therapy Today & Tomorrow, Session 1 with Bill Doherty: Comment Board


william_doherty_lrgWelcome to Couples Therapy: Today and Tomorrow. During these next five sessions, we’ll get a valuable opportunity to hear a variety of perspectives, expand our skills, and learn ways of enhancing our effectiveness with couples. Today’s session with expert couples therapist William Doherty, “Bad Couples Therapy and How to Avoid It” will delve into the most common mistakes therapists make when treating couples and how to avoid these difficult situations.

We’ll explore barriers that most frequently occur, how to effectively structure couples therapy sessions, and practical techniques for working with couples on the verge of divorce.

Reading and participating in the Comment Boards provided after each session will help all of us process what we’ve learned by discussing important questions and sharing relevant experiences. Please make sure to take a moment to comment on what stood out for you during this session. What do you think will be most applicable to your practice?

We invite you to please include your name and hometown along with your comment. Thank you again for your participation and for your reflections.

02.08.2011   Posted In: P003 Couples Therapy: Today and Tomorrow   By Rich Simon
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    • 0 avatar Carlton Brown 02.10.2011 07:10
      I would like to comment on the value of the process of presentation of this webinar - it was different than previous webinars and that was helpful for me, it stretched me to adapt to the new presentation, with the Flash Player and the realization that I could start and pause when I wanted to. Good show. The movie clip was hilarious! I have admired Bill's work for a long time and it was great to have an hour with him here to go back to the basics. I've been practising and now even supervising for a long time and lately have been having trouble holding my couples and helping them. I realized that I have been neglecting to control the process, to block interruptions, stop mind reading and most especially I have been neglecting to summarize and comment at the end of the session in a way that gives my couples a sense of hope and that someone is in control and helping them. Thank you for reminding me of my responsibility as a couples therapist. Carlton Brown, Hamilton, Ontario.
    • Not available avatar 02.10.2011 07:12
      Webinar with Bill Doherty was excellent. I was very impressed with the amount of information contained in one hour. Top mistakes and competent early session management tips were very concrete and will be useful in my work with couples. Looking forward to session 2!
    • 0 avatar Margaret Goger-Cranston 02.10.2011 07:12
      Thank you for this presentation. While I typically stop the interuptions, and I don't allow major attacks, I have at points let couple's "show me" what their negative engagement looks like and reflect it in that way, inviting them to look at what they do in that pattern and offering what could change. I do keep this limited - they don't need to keep doing the same thing over and over.
    • 0 avatar Susan Hagen 02.10.2011 07:15
      I found the webinar very interesting and insightful. I liked how you set up the first session. I have found some very important tools that I will use. i felt the information was well covered. I liked how you used the Camelot and Golden Age technique and set the stage with what worked and when things stopped worked and named it. I like the reference to movies as they are easy to access. Thank you and I look forward to the next webinar. I felt I needed to work on my ending of the session and work more on the letting them know of my observations. Good reminders. Susan from Montana
    • 0 avatar Mark Napack 02.10.2011 07:16
      Thanks. What struck home to me from this presentation was the way in which the theoretical and analytic insights regarding a couple do not necessarily work on a relational level, which flows well when there are appropriate boundaries, etc. It's as if there needs to be a kind of relationship "ethics" for flow, growth and transformation to take place. I also appreciated the "micro" seasonings that Bill added into the mix. Mark Napack, North Bethesda, MD.
    • 0 avatar Heidi Roth 02.10.2011 07:22
      This was my first webinar--I found the sound and video to be a little choppy and at the end, it just cut of mid-sentence. However, I found the content to be very helpful. I know that I am guilty at times of sitting back and letting the couple control too much of the session. It is great to be reminded of these basic building blocks that provide the backbone for the therapy. One thing I would like to hear a bit more on, is if in the couple one partner is not willing to make a commitment to the marriage or therapy what do you do at this point? Or they say they are committed but are obviously not invested. Heidi Roth, Bloomington, IN
      • Not available avatar 02.10.2011 14:22
        Heidi, I'd like to do another webinar on your very important question--what to do when one person is not into working on the relationship. In the meantime, I can refer you to my article "Couples on the Brink" in the Psychotherapy Networker a few years ago. You can download it from my website www.drbilldoherty.org. I use a special process for these couples.


        Bill Doherty
        • 0 avatar Heidi Roth 02.17.2011 07:23
          Thank you so much for your response! I am going to check it out right now.
    • Not available avatar 02.10.2011 07:22
      I enjoyed the webinar presentation and I am encouraged to participate in more of the Networker's webinar series. It's a wonderful way to stay engaged with top clinicians in the field. Thanks, Bill, for higlighting the importance of mentioning the "Golden Years" or, just having them to rememember a time with things were better than they are now. I find this to work well for launching problem solving and giving them hope that things can get better. I enjoyed your structure and management ideas as well. Florence Calhoun, Los Angeles, CA.
    • 0 avatar Clemencia Cartas 02.10.2011 07:26
      It was a great experience.!!!!! It was a priviledge to be exposed to the knowledge and expertise of William. I am sure that this hour will make me a better couples therapist. The micro-techniques presented were very usefull tools to use in sessions.Clemencia Cartas, Englewood, NJ
    • 0 avatar Jayeson Shaffer 02.10.2011 07:31
      Great hour of learning and validating many of the experiences I have had in "real" couple’s therapy, versus textbook models. I appreciated Bill's comments on this. Especially helpful for me was a way to avoid the pathologizing and mind-reading of the other's "basic character flaws" that I have gotten trapped in on occasions. Therefore leading to one, or both needing to do their "own work first” which is not why they came to see me in the first place. Thank you for that and many other "nuggets" of golden action and understanding I have taken from this very worthwhile viewing. Very much appreciated the ideas to help NOT pursue "bad couples counselling." Thank you to Psychotherapy Networker for offering these educational opportunities. I look forward to the next session. Jayeson Shaffer, Coquitlam BC
    • 0 avatar Don Boice 02.10.2011 07:34
      Most of what I use in couples counseling comes from John Gottman, PhD and I appreciate when therapists give info that overlaps with other therapists. What Dr. Bill talked about is highly researched and validated by the research and he speaks very well and got all that into an hour- tough to do. I look forward to reading his books.

      We are in charge of the session and while we don't want them to abuse one another in our office, we want to see how they interact so that we can better intervene. Gottman also has questionnaires that he has the couple fill out so that he can focus in like a laser. I have found those exceedingly useful. (I don't get a commission- just love his stuff- very practical.)

      I especially appreciated the info about connecting with both people. As someone who works with men more than women, I have found that making couples counseling friendly to the man as well as to the woman gets buy -in; instead of the stereotypical man being dragged to counseling. Wexler wrote a great book on Men in Therapy that addresses this in detail.

      Thanks for having this in a webinar. I love to hear new ideas and not have to pay for lodging and food and transportation to hear those ideas.

      Thank you,
      Don Boice- Rochester, NY
    • 0 avatar Dale Pavich 02.10.2011 07:46
      I took more notes during this webinar than any of the previous 4 I have viewed... a testament to the pragmatic applications of Dr. D's material,to be sure! I too have questions about engaging the partner who is not as invested in the relationship; either due to other "love interests", character deficits, addictions, secrets/shame/trauma issues, etc. The film clip was a wonderful reminder of the comical yet painful exchanges that can occur in couples/family treatment without adequate structure imposed by the clinician. Thanks to all the Networker family and Dr. Doherty for enriching our practice in such insightful ways.
      ~Dale Pavich, Santa Barbara, Ca
    • Not available avatar 02.10.2011 07:51
      I love the idea of refining the micro dialogue between therapist and client. I will take and put into use immediately not alienating the spouse of a talker by summing up the talker's statement before soliciting the non-talker's thoughts. That I found very helpful. I very much appreciate Bill's transparency around mistakes we all make because they are how we learn. This was great! Thank you Rich and Bill!
      Lailey Jenkins
      Bainbridge Island, WA
    • 0 avatar Charlie Love 02.10.2011 08:42
      I tried to log in right before noon CST but had a read out that it started in 1 hours, 10 minutes. Luckily, I had an additional hour to spend. When I came back on at 1 CST, the readout said it started in a day, x number or hours and minutes. I regrouped, clicked on and saw that the webinar was in progress.

      Bill gave tangible example of what could of often does go wrong and what can remedy the situation. I agreed that couples need to feel secure in the session because the therapist is there as a strong facilitator, well versed in handling explosions, sarcasms and interruptions. I liked how he addresses boundary invasion and acknowledges the intrusion into the other person's process. There are so many nuances to good couples therapy and Bill certainly is contributing by his knowledge and openness around own his mistakes. Thanks for an informational and engaged hour. Charlie Love, Austin, TX.
    • 0 avatar Kathleen Waegner 02.10.2011 08:52
      This was a great experience for me. I very much appreciate having access to leaders in the field via this process. The conversational format added an interesting and engaging quality to what was an information-packed hour. The film clip was a delightful example of bad therapy...one I hope never to experience first hand. I appreciate having the bullet notations very much.

      Kathleen Santa Rosa, CA
    • Not available avatar 02.10.2011 11:19
      Loved the format, although I didn't figure out how to play the video. It was refreshing to get nuts and bolts advise from a seasoned therapist. So much of it is common sense, but it really helps to get ideas about how to say things. I liked how Bill uses whats happening in therapy as an opportunity to make rules for safety, instead of setting up ground rules from the beginning like a parent.
      Susan Philo, Kodiak AK
    • 0 avatar Jennifer Lee 02.10.2011 19:43
      Thanks so much for a very informative session! I have found myself doing much more couples therapy recently and thought I was likely "guilty" of some of these mistakes so it's so helpful to hear alternatives and ways to correct them. I particularly thought the ways you gave examples of language to use in a session was helpful. It's great to have some ideas of how to summarize things at the end of the session and how to discuss moving forward with the couple. I would love to hear more about this from others!
      Jennifer, Seattle WA
    • 0 avatar Lynn Pearlmutter 02.11.2011 05:31
      Excellent. The "newest" idea I came away, that was most different from what I do, was Bill's inquiry about the couple's commitment. Usually I manage the commitment issue, in the middle of the first session, with getting them to commit to 8 sessions. I have good luck with this. I tell the couple it's not like Arthur Murray Dance Lessons. You do not have to pay for all 8 even if you do not come. Yet 8 sessions will give us a reasonable amount of time to work on more a satisfying relationship for both of you.
      I may consider revising this piece of what I do and see how using Bill's approach may improve my couples therapy.
      Lynn Pearlmutter in New Orleans
    • 0 avatar patricia hoeft 02.11.2011 06:18
      I ditto all the positive comments on this webinar and took copious notes. I also have a concern as to the mistakes one makes when working with individuals who come in saying they are ambivalent about staying in the marriage. They might say their spouse is not willing to participate - ( i.e don't want them to) - when to address getting the other spouse into treatment - when to make a referral - should one keep working with the individual while they are in couples therapy etc. or might this be addressed in future webinars. Thank you patrica - chelsea , mi
    • 0 avatar Laura Howery Siercks 02.11.2011 08:26
      After mostly doing individual, family and group I decided to try couples. I read a few things and thought "How hard can this be? I'm a fairly seasoned therapist" Well I quickly learned that I was in over my head and stopped taking couples until I received more training. I have been reading, reasearching and trying to gain more knowledge and I have to say this is one of the best teaching tools I have come across so far. Down to the nitty gritty and practical. Although I am doing some of these things right, I realized through watching this webinar that I was taking my strong knowledge and experience from family therapy and applying that to couples(cringing!). Lesson learned. Thank you Dr. Doherty
      Laura LICSW from North Dakota
    • Not available avatar 02.11.2011 13:15
      What I enjoyed about this webnar was the validation that you have to use yourself entirely differently than with individual therapy. Sometimes when I've tried to regain control of the session when one spouse has started to tear the other one down, I've alienated that spouse and the couple doesn't return. Another issue that comes up that I've felt stuck on is alcohol use/abuse when one partner feels strongly that the other has a problem. Any suggestions? Pat Jorgenson, Kalamazoo, MI
      • Not available avatar 02.14.2011 15:43
        Pat, When alcohol abuse is an issue with the couple, my strategy is to propose a third party evaluation that will involve both partners, with an agreement in advance they they will accept the recommendations unless they seem completely unreasonable. I pick balanced evaluators to send them to. The idea is to get the alcohol issue out of their relationship so that we can work on the relationship without our sessions devolving into he says/she says about alcohol use. This approach allows me not to have to diagnose alcohol abuse and become triangled into their dynamics. Hope it's useful to you.

        Bill Doherty
    • Not available avatar 02.12.2011 02:54
      Great seminar. I enjoyed the improved technology of being able to see the speakers with the camera feed, I`m a visual this help me stay focused. Helpful techniques, practical in nature which can readily be applied and the building blocks to therapy. Thank you. C. Pelletier, Gatineau, Quebec.
    • 0 avatar Patricia White 02.12.2011 05:37
      From Pat White Juneau, Alaska
      I came away from the presentation reassured that some of what I have been doing, that is the micro skills are supported by Dr. Doherty. In particular, the 'not allowing' the negative to eachother, but to have it flow through the therapist. I backed into that skill, and now know it is a valid one. Thank you.
    • Not available avatar 02.12.2011 07:51
      I have always been a big fan of Dr. Doherty!!That was a wonderful session. Here is what I learned that was most helpful: What to do with the monopolizer! I am glad you suggested turning toward the other member. I have tried paraphrasing and you are correct it just gives that person license to talk more. I also liked what you said about the person who is being the "therapist" to the other partner. I have seen several therapists as clients and have tried multiple ways of getting them to stop. I like the idea of setting it up as an emotional boundary violation. I often say, "how do you feel when she says that about..." but have never used it to educate the partner about it violating the boundary.
      I love the comment about the "Camelot of the relationship". Oftentimes, one partner will say they loved that time and the other will hate it. Then you have a great therapuetic issue to deal with.
      I am glad you talked about these micro skills. My supervisor is so concerned with analyzing me and my feelings that I rarely get the skill help that I need. I am grateful for the Networker for offering this to us for free. Thank you, Renee Segal, Minnetonka, MN
    • Not available avatar 02.12.2011 08:41
      from Charles Hershkowitz;psychiatrist & certified Imago therapist;Brussels, Belgium : I enjoyed this very much (being in the sunny Canary Islands on vacation helped to be receptive, too!). I'd read Bill's Networker article on this a few years ago, and appreciated it -- but the impact of the Webinar form this time around was far greater. For instance, his examples came across much more powerfully now than via the written article; the shades of voice intonation and way of looking left or right at each partner I could imagine in front of him, were expressive features that a written text can't convey. Bravo Bill, bravo the medium,and bravo Networker !!!
    • 0 avatar Nick Child 02.13.2011 02:38
      Nick Child, Family Therapist, Edinburgh, Scotland

      I've just started on this transatlantic journey! The Networker webinar idea in general and Bill's in particular, are just great stuff. Many thanks. I wish I'd caught the Ethics one too - we've been using remote involvement with clients and supervisors and need to get sharper with our ethics and permissions.

      It would take a book to explain how well-meaningly disparate the UK scene of relationship help remains. Our culture is still more of a welfare state provision and mentality (taxpayer and government pay, not clients and insurance companies). And Scotland is a different country and government to England as well. Couple Counselling and Family Therapy are two very different fields that damned well should be "married" as they are in the US and elsewhere. FT training assumes it equips FTists to do couple therapy, but how can it if FTists aren't the main place that couples go?

      Our small FT team is uniquely based in a CC voluntary agency. Yet we still don't really know what how our CCer colleagues think and practice. Bill's presentation is a wonderful bridge to confirm and help clarify.

      What he describes is very much in tune with my approach and ways based on long experience (as an NHS child and family psychiatrist) and various FT approaches. But I've never before been taught it; so that's a complete delight now, and to be more able to begin to have conversations with CCers across the UK that begin "Do you know Bill Docherty's work in the US / Have you seen the Networker webinars . . . What do you think? Is that how your first session looks like? If not, how does it work?"
      • Not available avatar 02.14.2011 15:50
        Nick, I found your note very interesting. As someone trained in both family therapy and couples therapy/counseling, I see the divide as unfortunate, as apparently you do too. One thing that couples counselors need is a systems understanding of the family; otherwise they can't help couples deal with coparenting issues and they will struggle with couples in stepfamilies. On the other hand, traditional family therapy doesn't deal with couples intimacy issues that couples counselors know how to handle. Good luck with your conversations with your colleagues.

        Bill Doherty
        • 0 avatar Nick Child 02.18.2011 08:16
          Thanks for your comment, Bill. Yes, that's pretty well how I'd put it!

          But it's not just that FT brings a systems understanding; I think FT brings a whole range of helpful ideas and interventions that (in psychodyanmic UK) would not be allowed. But then FT (in UK if not US) has gone all reflective for its own reasons now!!

          It would be too much of a distraction here that would be full of generalisation and uncertain understandings of words, but I'd love someone who knew or researched the US scene and the UK scene to give a comparative snap shot of what the trainings, the models and practices of CC/Therapy and FT are. Anyone done that?

          I don't know even the UK much. I presumed that the combined AMFT in the US meant integrated Couple and Family Therapy trainings unlike the UK. I gather that in UK there is a strong psychodynamic approach - and that would tend to go with "How not to do a first session" wouldn't it?! But then, surely (as you and others have described) counsellors would simply have had to do something more proactive in practice with their couple clients than nod their heads analytically?


          PS I'm enjoying the In Treatment series on DVD. Unusually gripping entertainment if not good therapy. I was wondering if it (or the like in film etc) maybe a good source of publicly available data to base a comparative discussion on!
    • Not available avatar 02.13.2011 04:28
      terrific learning medium. Felt live and easy to digest. Particularly liked the concrete approach to establishing ground rules as and when they arise as an educative opportunity and also felt supported by the illustrations of taking control.
      Look forward to the next session.
      Sally, London UK
    • Not available avatar 02.13.2011 06:07
      Thank you so much for providing concrete ways to manage specific situations that arise in couple therapy. I found the technique of "blocking" the spouse who is interrupting, pathologizing, and mind reading particularly helpful.
      Linda Palius, MFT
      Encino, CA
    • Not available avatar 02.13.2011 07:43
      I very much appreciate the content of this webinar. I have been doing counselling and psychotherapy with individuals for six years and have held off on couples work out of some fears about not having the appropriate skill set to do so. I agree that we are taught theories about models mainly in our training. When we combine this with the fact that many psychotherapists come from backgrounds where they may not have had modelled to them in their personal lives appropriate strategies for relating to people, it's no wonder therapists can get into trouble working with couples. I plan to follow up by taking a look at Bill's website and would be interested in further information of this nature. Thank you also fro the encouragement to comment; I welcome the opportunity of a conversational approach to all of this where we can all learn from each other.
      Laurie Kelly, MSW, RCSW
      Whistler/Pemberton, BC Canada
    • Not available avatar 02.14.2011 07:13
      Thank you so much for an excellent presentation. I found it conceptually helpful both for clinical practice and for teaching and supervision. I agree that we rarely talk about the nuts and bolts of what we do, and many supervisors and consultants are experienced clinicians but have difficulty conceptualizing in a way that can help others to learn. I include myself in this, and although I do a fair amount of couple's treatment, I found Bill's list of do's and don'ts illuminating.
      Lynn Rosenfield, LCSW Los Angeles
    • Not available avatar 02.14.2011 08:29
      This was an excellent presentation- I completely agree with the comments posted here--a tremendous amount of good, sound, practical instruction and application was packed into 1 hour. It is amazing to be able to learn from those in our field who are such important contributors. I was unable to access the video clip and would sure have liked to see it! I, too, have kind of "backed into" doing a lot of couples work, and was relieved to hear that there are some techniques I use that are as Dr. Bill would suggest--and I learned a great deal more about what I can do to improve this important work. Thank you, Psychotherapy Networker, for this great format for learning.
      Elaine Boyle, LMHC Tacoma, WA.
    • -0.1 avatar patricia winchild 02.14.2011 10:06
      Very much enjoyed this. I do a lot of couples work and have been for some time. But it still helped to hear these commonsense suggestions clarified. One can never be too good, right? I particularly found helpful the suggestions about dealing with a person who talks too much and another who is too quiet. Also, the ideas about summing things up was excellent. Patricia Winchild,LCSW-C, Baltimore,Md.
    • Not available avatar 02.14.2011 10:55
      I enjoyed the concrete guidelines, but especially appreciated the microprocesses and reframing to boundary issues. Now, I recognize the importance of blocking all mind-reading, pathologizing, etc. Paula L. Casey, LMFT, Oak Harbor, WA
    • Not available avatar 02.14.2011 11:53
      I found this presentation refreshing and useful. In many ways, I felt confirmed that I'm pretty much doing couple therapy the right way (I've been doing it a long time),but there are always some pointers, new wording and expressions that are helpful to pick up. I like Bill's s question about the "Golden Age" of the couple's relationship, as a focus of early exploration. I also liked his emphasis on not letting one spouse comment on the family of origin issues of the other. I never thought about this as a violation of boundaries before. Thank you! Risa Marlen, LCSW, Teaneck, NJ.
    • Not available avatar 02.14.2011 12:14
      Sharon Charles, Austin, TX
      As a graduate student about to start my first practicum, I am so grateful to have been given this insight before I sit with my first couple. I copied your verbage verbatim and will be using it rather than stumbling through my own words. What a wonderful gift! Thank you.
      • Not available avatar 02.14.2011 15:25
        Sharon, I wish you the best as you begin your journey as a couples therapist. It's wonderful, healing work.

        Bill Doherty
    • 0 avatar B Tuyet Brown 02.14.2011 14:05
      Thank you for a great session just now with drbilldoherty.org!

      I have worked mostly with cross-racial, cross-cultural couples, so appreciate very much the straightforward approaches in the session.

      In Vietnam where I just left, and where I had a private practice www.tuyetbrown-psychotherapy.com , please comment on the 2 following questions during the first session: a/ how hopeful are you that therapy may help solve your problem(s)? b/ please do not discuss the session content bwt you after leaving this session. Thank you. yukisnow@hotmail.com
    • Not available avatar 02.14.2011 14:32
      Thanks very much for the excellent webinar. I appreciated the details such as being able to watch the speakers and the video as well as the link to this page on the invitation to this session page. If the slides were available prior to the presentation, I would have appreciated having them emailed to me - or - being able to download them from the invitation page. Dr. Doherty's skill in sketching out the bigger picture efficiently (e.g. his systems, etc. orientation) and incidentally was great. The balance of principles (e.g. "shape" of the session) and examples of interventions (e.g. the "words" as I think Dr. D. referred to them) was very good. I wondered how/when Dr. Doherty would get a sense of whether or not there are additional factors influencing the coupleship's functioning - e.g. crises in kinship circles, addictions, violent behavior, etc. In general, the rhythm or pace reqlly worked for me. I felt able to clearly follow the conversation itself while noticing my own "Yes ! That's working for me, too." and things I need to pay better attention to. Also appreciated the open time period the webinar was available. Thanks! Maryann Parrott Guilford, VT
    • 0 avatar anna romeu 02.16.2011 11:04
      I am really surprised to see that I'm the only European participant, so here's my contribution to this great idea of the webinars: THANK YOU very much for letting us have this almost direct contact with experienced and renamed professionals that can be so easily accessible.
      I enjoyed Dr. Doherty's webinar and found it really useful to refresh some basic rules we often forget in our everyday routine and also to find some good practical advise on certain situations. But they brought to me some questions that I'm not sure can be answered here:
      how do you manage a couple therapy when you consider some situations to be a hidden (or some times not so hidden) mistreatment?
      do you use different techniques with multicultural couples, do you address this issue in a specific way or just ignore that cultural difference?

      Thank you again and I'm willing to watch the next webinar! Anna Romeu, Barcelona, Spain
      • 0 avatar Nick Child 06.12.2011 09:35
        Hola Anna
        It might not seem it but the UK is part of Europe! But I know what you mean!
    • 0 avatar Elizabeth Seabrook 02.19.2011 14:07
      I have avoided doing couples therapy knowing in my heart that I didn't have sufficient skills or the confidence to hold my space with two unhappy (maybe warring) partners. So, I signed up for these webinars to see what I could learn. Talk about timing... not long after I listened to this webinar, a couple called for a session. I had the first session yesterday and followed your suggestions of things "not to do" and did those things such as addressing mind-reading, interrupting and telling about someone else's inner experience. The couple got it. I also structured the session and summarized what issues they presented. They left expressing hope and making another appointment! I just listened to the second webinar and will work with Terry Real's suggestions also. Thank you for the clarity of your webinar and the really valuable information. Liz Seabrook, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
    • 0 avatar chris cable 03.07.2011 08:49
      I was impressed at how Mr. Doherty pointed out that some couples therapists are more ready than the couple to start divorce proceedings. I let couples know that I believe in the value of marriage and have been married over 40 years, but I'm here to just help them and not tell them what to do. I also tell them that sometimes separation is required for physical/ emotional health. I think it's good to let the clients know up front where the therapist is coming from regarding marriage and divorce.
      Chris Cable, Annapolis MD
    • 0 avatar Sharon Feldman 06.09.2011 12:29
      This was a wonderful web seminar and thank you for suggesting the reading, "Couples on the Brink. Sharon Jordan Feldman, Sparta, NJ
    • 0 avatar Colleen Russell 06.09.2011 13:08
      I greatly appreciated this presentation. After 20 years of practicing I felt validated with much of my work -- interrupting negative communication (interrupting each other, pathologizing) and asking the other partner for his/her response. It is also important, of course, to see the couple interacting in the session as they do outside and Bill gave specific responses in the early phases of management. Regarding family of origin issues, at what point does Bill bring them up? My understanding is that insight and change of patterns help in each person finding a more positive outcome (corrective emotional experience) in their current relationship than in the past. Thanks so much.
    • Not available avatar Connie Lawrence James 06.09.2011 13:09
      Very helpful -- I loved the concrete, clear, role-play-esque style of teaching. It makes the material very easy to assimilate. Thanks much
    • Not available avatar Lois Muir-McClain 06.09.2011 13:14
      This was very helpful to me and Bill Doherty has a lot of great knowledge and techniques to pass on. I, like most therapists, have made some of these mistakes, but I am learning quickly! One thing I would like a little more discussion on is about avoiding or stopping the "Hot conflict." Well over half of all my couples do this at some point. I agree that's it's just more of the same way they communicate at home that is negative and makes their problems worse. But how, as therapists, do we get that runaway train slowed down or prevent it from going off track in the first place?
    • Not available avatar Sandy 06.09.2011 13:23
      I really appreciated the examples that were given to address blocking mind reading etc. I've been working with a couple where both will refer back to negative things in their past often ruining the work in the present. I have pointed out to both of them numerous times and discussed how this is counter productive to the work of the present focus in their relationship. I have openly confronted it and blocked it per se but it still happens; any advice?
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