Aikido for Bad Behavior

We had an opportunity to visit Japan several times, over the course of a decade working with Japanese psychiatrists to improve how Japanese psychiatric hospitals work with potentially violent patients.  During one of those trips, we came across a wonderful story that has stuck with us ever since.  It is the story of a young man who is confronted by …

Mood Phobias

We were talking with a couple of wonderful psychologists about what it is that helps people come to terms with moods and learn to live with them creatively.  One of the barriers to successful mood surfing is a fear of moods.  I suppose the analogy is of someone who is afraid of the waves trying to learn how to surf. …

Relationships: Too Many People in the Bed

Many years ago, a consultant we worked with made the observation that there are always at least four people in any intimate relationship. And often, six or more. The four people are (in the case of heterosexual relationship) the man, his female partner, his introjected mother (the internal mother that  developed from his childhood), and his partner’s introjected father. Often, …

Partners

This past week we had a chance to meet with a number of people who were very distressed when they first came to see us, and who made huge progress in creating lives worth living…. in living creatively with moods. It got us to thinking about why they succeeded. There are a number of reasons for their success – they …

Therapists Can Be So Annoying: Feeling Like You’re On Celebrity Roast

Therapists Have you ever found yourself all of a sudden the guest of honor at celebrity roast special. Sometimes that is what it is like being a therapist…. or husband… or wife… employee… boss…. or you name it… What do you do? You probably know that being defensive is not going to work. But how can you sit there and listen …

Codependent no more

We have never been big fans of the way the term “codependent” evolved in the non-professional world into a way of describing almost any show of compassion for someone with difficult problems. On the other hand, after years of struggle (and, yes, our own therapy) we finally came up with our own rules of thumb for when to back away …

Misunderstandings: Feeling and Thinking

Misunderstandings. There are so many ways that we can misunderstand each other. We like the Myers Briggs for its non-pathologizing approach to understanding and describing the differences among human beings. Yesterday we were talking to a young woman who told us of a “classic” misunderstanding that potentially could have had a catastrophic outcome. The young woman was talking with her …

Making Good Relationships: 4 Behaviors Predictive of Divorce

In a previous post we talked about our view that what is most important in successful long term relationships is not so much who we choose but how we build the relationship (of course, if you choose someone without morals or who is seriously disturbed, this doesn’t probably apply to you). But we deferred discussing what it takes to make …

Buy or Make: Theories of Romantic Relationships

Every once in a while  we find ourselves reflecting on lessons learned in a lifetime of coaching and counseling people. How we might have lived our lives differently had we known then what we know now. This afternoon, talking to a young man about romantic relationships, we found ourselves thinking about our own relationships, and the relationships of the many …

“Too Dependent”

From time to time we hear people complaining that they’re too dependent or that someone they know is too dependent on them. Usually the proposed solution is for that person to become more independent. The trouble is that this doesn’t work. People who have normal needs for social interaction are not able to be independent in the way that we …

Relationships and Chronic Depression

Many people with depression, particularly if they have been depressed for a long time, develop a pattern of interacting with others that is designed to protect them from disappointment. Avoiding disappointment is obviously a good thing, but it can lead to relationships that are not satisfying.  Addressing relationship issues is important. Almost everybody who is unsatisfied with their relationships can …

Negotiation: How to Deal With Conflict

Some of the best ways of dealing with conflicts in relationships, whether business or personal, are contained in the books about negotiation written by Roger Fisher and William Ury. In our own lives and in the lives of people we have counseled we have often seen a situation that seemed to be incredibly scary and full of potential catastrophe turn …

The Importance of Good Relationships

Good relationships are one of the foundations of creative living. In another post, we talked about one of the most effective therapies for people with bipolar: Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT). In that post we focused on regular routines (the SRT part) but equally important in that therapy was paying attention to the quality of interpersonal relationships and particularly addressing …