The Key To A Successful Relationship Is the Willingness To Put Yourself in Your Partner’s Shoes

It’s called empathy. Some people have a natural proclivity for it; that’s a gift. The rest of us have to cultivate this personality quality. In either case,  it’s difficult to control  when you’re angry with your mate but it’s essential for a...
Comment :0

Is That Your Idea of a Breakfast?

Here’s a joke.    A man has a 7 am appointment with his therapist.  He walks into the room in a panic, hair standing on end, clothes disheveled, and a wild look in his eyes.  He sits down facing the therapist and says: “Doc, I had this terrible nightmare just before I...
Comment :0

The Mandated Group Member–In Treatment Under Duress

By definition, the mandated group member is in treatment under duress.  More often than not, they don’t want to be there in the first place but are doing it to avoid jail. As a consequence, the only thing  they want is a  ‘report card’.  I tell  mandated members...
Comment :0

One-Sided Deals-A Case of Mind Reading

I have noticed a fascinating interpersonal dynamic in  both my personal and professional life. Some people make deals with others that exist only in their own minds; even though  the other person  hasn’t agreed to ‘the deal’ they are angry when their...
Comment :0

The Chronic Help Rejecter, Or She Had The Midas Touch–In Reverse

Wendy couldn’t take a compliment. Despite the fact that she asked for the group’s help with a myriad of interpersonal problems, whenever a member attempted to ‘feed’ her, she spit it out, finding fault with either the feeder, the feeding or both.  She...
Comment :0

She Colluded With Him Against Herself

One of the most self-esteem damaging dynamics in couples occurs when one partner allows the other to undermine her perception of reality.  This is  pernicious and crazy-making but complicity is always involved. Childhood patterns are hard to break; some patients’ default...
Comment :0

Group Psychotherapy For Dummies

A former colleague who practiced only individual treatment, told me that he planned to start his own therapy group. Half-jokingly, he said:” It’s easy.  All I need is a box of tissues and eight chairs in a circle”. I asked: “What do you know about group...
Comment :0

Through My Mother’s Eyes–Cataracts And All

My mother was an expert at knitting and crocheting. In her later years, she opened her own yarn shop where she sold her handmade, colorful sweaters. The sweaters were a big hit with teenage girls and young women.  My mother used a patchwork design, combining bright colors that...
Comment :4

The ‘Fait Accompli’ in Group Psychotherapy

Of all the treatment destructive resistances, one of the more infuriating to deal with is the fait accompli (the French term for an unilateral decision).  When a member announces at the beginning of the session, that this is their last one, or even worse, when they leave a...
Comment :0

The “Guilt” Dynamic in Couples

In my work as a couple therapist, I have observed a fascinating dynamic between partners. Some couples engage in an unconscious collusion to maintain the status quo, despite their mutual satisfaction with it. They  create an emotional environment that inhibits persona...
Comment :0

Some People Don’t Know How They Come Across In Relationships

Angie’s eyes would often go out of focus during intense group interactions. At those moments, she seemed far away; she retreated into her own world. So it came as a surprise to her to learn that her self-absorption had an effect on other people in her group. Sarah told...
Comment :0

The Non Aggression Pact in Group Psychotherapy Pt.2

Groups, just like individuals, have personalities; some are more aggressive than others. In a recent meeting, of a group with a self-acclaimed non aggression pact, a female member bitterly complained about the emotionally abusive treatment that she was receiving at the hands of...
Comment :0

The Non-Aggression Pact In Group Psychotherapy Pt.1

I use the term ‘non-aggression pact’  to describe the phenomenon in therapy groups where members habitually back off from calling each other out on their bad behavior.  The unspoken agreement is:” Don’t hold me accountable for my acting in and I...
Comment :0

You Call That A Breakfast?

Some mornings, before my early class, I like to stop at the local juice bar for a carrot juice pick-me-up.  The other day, when I walked into class, a coed approached me and said:” I know what you had for breakfast this morning!”.  I said:” Oh yeah, what did I...
Comment :0