The Couples Therapist Couch is a podcast by licensed marriage and family therapist, Shane Birkel. The show provides education, support, and connection for Couples Therapists, Marriage Counselors, and Relationship Coaches. Each week Shane interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.
In this episode, Dr. Angela Clack discusses cultural legacies that have been passed down for generations. She talks about how to make people from minority cultures feel accepted and understood and hold space for the change that needs to happen in relationships.
Dr. Clack is known for her ability to teach, supervise, coach, and provide training in various areas pertaining to children, youth, and their families.
In this episode, Deirdra Fay talks about the transformational change that is possible when we understand attachment and trauma and are able to do deeper work within ourselves. Deirdre talks about the seven steps to a solid internal world and helps people learn how to become safely embodied.
The interview today was with Annie Chen who wrote The Attachment Theory Workbook. Not only does it go into depth explaining the different attachment styles, it also has tons of great activities to find out more about yourself on a personal level.
Research on attachment is guided by the assumption that the same motivational system that gives rise to the close emotional bond between parents and their children is responsible for the bond that develops between adults in emotionally intimate relationships.
So many of the couples we work with are going through the baby phase of their life. Whether they are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, have lost a child, or just had a baby, there is going to be a lot of stress and a lot that is hard to predict.
In this episode Bina Bird talks all about how to help and guide these couples as they go through these phases and how to identify if more intensive support is required.
In this episode with Lynn Grodzki, we talk about bringing aspects of coaching into our work with couples in therapy. There is a lot we can learn to make sure we are retaining clients in today's marketplace. Lynn talks about 9 skills we can start bringing into our practice now.
Lynn Grodzki is a practice building expert who has helped hundreds of thousands of therapists and helping professionals build the practice they want. Lynn has written 6 books.
In this episode, Erika Miley talks about the importance for therapists to get more comfortable with talking about sex. We all have our own sex "stuff" and the more we explore that and get education about sex, the more we can help the couples we work with.
Erika Miley is a mental and sex therapist. She is the founder of the center for mental and sexual health. She hosts a podcast called Sex Talk with Erika Miley and has a facebook group called Sex Talk with Erika Miley Professionals Group.
There is a growing reality of non-traditional couples who are coming in for relationship therapy. People who are in polyamorous relationships, want to open up their relationship or are among a number of other sexually marginalized populations are looking for guidance. As therapists we might not always know how to work with these types of relationships, but it is our responsibility to be as compassionate, understanding, and as open as possible.
In this episode Leanne Clarkson talks about the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy which was created by Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson. This is one of the leading model of couples therapy and Leanne does an amazing job of describing some of the ways this model can be used with couples.
She identifies the 5 stages of couple's development which include:
1. The honeymoon phase 2. Differentiation 3. Exploration 4. Reconnection and 5. Synergy
In this episode, Joseph Losi talks about a healthy masculinity and what men can do to be more intimate, vulnerable, and connected to their emotions.
The Couples Therapist Couch is the podcast for Couples Therapists about the practice of couples therapy. The host, Shane Birkel, interviews an expert in the field of couples therapy each week.
In this episode, Jasmine Foulkes talks about her journey in becoming a therapist and what has been helpful for her in her work with couples. She has a talent for connecting with couples and uses emotionally focused therapy as the primary model that she works from.
When working with clients in therapy I often wonder if someone might be displaying aspects of narcissism. I often question myself and my reality. It is important to realize that partner of people with narcissism feel this way all the time.
Wendy Behary is a leader in working with people with narcissism. She wrote the book Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed.
For many people, one of the most difficult times in their life can be going through a breakup or divorce or experiencing some other brokenness in their relationship. Because we are wired to connect as humans, going through this heartbreak can feel like a significant trauma. It is important to have the tools, support and resources to go through this type of experience.
Chautè Thompson talks all about how to recover from these types of situations in the episode today.
So often, the individuals and couples we see in therapy feel alone in their experiences. As therapists, art of what we can to for them, is make them accepted and normal. We can help them to feel like they don't have to be so alone in whatever it is they are experiencing. Even in our own experience as therapists we often feel alone and think to ourselves, "am I the only one?"
Lori Gottlieb reveals all in her column as well as her new book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.
We have had a few episodes about emotionally focused therapy (EFT) lately and for good reason. EFT is one of the most well respected and widely used models of couples therapy. This conversation focuses specifically on how couples heal if there has been an affair or other attachment injury.
Leanne Campbell and David Fairweather go into detail about the use of EFT to heal attachment injuries from trauma.
After years of studying couples, neuroscience, and attachment, Dr. Stan Tatkin knows what is necessary for a deep, enduring relationship. In this episode we talk all about those factors and also where couples get off track.
Stan is the founder of the PACT institute which stands for the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy.
It is becoming more and more evident over time that incorporating aspects of trauma work into couples therapy is incredibly beneficial. Using Emotionally Focused Therapy (one of the leading couples therapy models) is a great way to be able to work with how the trauma is coming up in the present relationship.
Kathryn Rheem is a certified EFT therapist and teacher of the model. She has worked closely with Sue Johnson for over ten years and does lots of training for therapists learning EFT.
Couples retreats and intensives are getting more and more popular and for good reason. It is a very good way of making a lot of progress in a short amount of time.
In this episode, Rachel Zamore and I talk all about retreats. We cover the difference between an educational couples experience with a group of couples vs. a private couples retreat vs. an intensive. We also talk about the various options like discernment retreats, affair repair retreats and repair and renewal retreats.
When working with couples in therapy, it can be easy to get lost in their story and stay focused on the content of what they are talking about. This often feels like a tennis match, watching the ball go back and forth. In the interview this week with Rob Fisher, he talks about how to use experiential techniques in order to help couples slow down, be more present, and tune into what is going on inside them.
In this episode Shane interview Lisa Ferentz, who is an expert on trauma and has trained and educated hundreds of therapists on how to work with trauma.
She talks about how necessary coping strategies evolve in childhood in response to not having a secure attachment and how these strategies impact adult relationships.
Bringing two families together can be one of the most difficult things for couples to deal with. Whether both partners have children, or one partner has children and the other doesn't, it is a very challenging situation. Most people go into these situations without any education or experience in knowing how to handle it. They often come to us as the Therapist looking for guidance and skills they can use to improve their situation.
Enter step-parenting expert, Karen Bonnell.
Using psychodrama in therapy has the capability to help people unlock neural pathways in ways that they wouldn't otherwise be able to with typical talk therapy. This episode explores that process as well as goes through several examples of how to use psychodrama with couples.
Walter Logeman is a therapist in Christchurch, New Zealand who specializes in working with couples. He is a supervisor, trainer, and qualified Imago therapist.
In this episode of The Couples Therapist Couch, Hedy Schleifer and Shane go deeper into the ideas created by Hedy in her method of working with couples called Encounter-Centered Couples Therapy.
She talks about visiting each other's neighborhoods and unraveling the survival knot. The way that Hedy works with couples is deep and transformative and leads them into much greater intimacy with one another.
Dr. Bill Doherty along with his daughter, Elizabeth Doherty Thomas, started the Doherty Relationship Institute. He has written 15 books and regularly teaches and trains therapists and couples. He has served as President of the National Council on Family Relations and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Family Therapy Association. He is also the founder of Discernment Counseling for couples on the brink of divorce.
In this episode with the amazing Couples and Sex Therapist, Dr. Tammy Nelson, we talk about the importance of therapists being comfortable with talking about sex. We talk about how much people's sex lives (whether they have much of one or not) is a huge part of how we define ourselves. Tammy also talks about how to recover from infidelity from a sex therapist standpoint.
This episode is with Jill Fischer who is a leading Emotionally Focused supervisor and trainer. She provides listeners with a fantastic overview of EFT as a model and what is necessary for training.
Emotionally Focused Therapy is one of the leading models in the world of couples therapy. We talked about the externship, core skills training, and how your own personal work as a therapist can enhance your ability to go deeper with the couples you work with.
When couples come for therapy they are usually aware of anger, frustration, and lack of connection. As humans we are very good at figuring out who to blame our feelings on instead of communicating with vulnerability. Emotionally Focused therapy helps people to connect with themselves and their more authentic emotions. When people tap into their feelings of sadness, fear, and hurt and communicate those from a place of vulnerability, they are more likely to be able to be heard and connect with each other.
As therapists we get lots of training and do an amazing job of serving our clients in therapy. What most of us don't learn and need help on is how to build, run, and grow a great business. Whether you have clients coming in the door, willing to pay your full fee might have little to do with how effective you are as a therapist. There is a lot that most of us can do to improve our marketing, presence on social media, and networking with our communities.
Because of the way that men and women are socialized differently, there are particular challenges that men face when it comes to relationships. For this reason, Quentin Hafner wrote a book that provides a clear and actionable roadmap for becoming a successful husband.
The book, Black Belt Husband, outlines twelve character traits necessary to be a great husband, man and partner. Quentin Hafner is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California.
Often people try to please their partner and lose sight of what they want for themselves. It is important that we speak up for what we want in our relationships in order that we don't grow resentful over time.
In this episode with Dr. Jameson and Herdyne Mercier, they talk about how marriage takes work and they are dedicated to teaching couples the skills they need to have great relationships. They work with couples in their practice in Florida.
Relational trauma related to growing up in our families and society is what causes stress and problems for us in our adult relationships throughout our lives.
In this episode, Kim Ploussard talks about the 5 core issues that form the foundation of Pia Mellody's work. This is the framework for Terry Real's Relational Life Therapy and he credits Pia with providing the foundation for much of what he teaches. The 5 core issues are: 1. Self-esteem 2. Boundaries 3. Reality issues 4. Dependency 5. Moderation.
In the last few decades there has been an amazing amount of progress and movement towards freedom for individuals in many societies. While this freedom has afforded new opportunities for people, it has also brought about a new level of anxiety. At the same time there have been advancements and a huge change in the way we use technology. People are more connected than ever, while feeling more isolated and confused about how to navigate these new waters.
As couples therapists, most of use have heard of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), but the same foundations of this model are being used more and more in working with children, their parents, and their families. This model is called Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT).
From an attachment perspective, there is an assumption that parents and children are "wired" together. Parents can be an active agent in healing for the child.
Get your free copy of The Comparison of 7 different Models of Couples Therapy. This report compares Emotionally Focused Therapy, Relational Life Therapy, The Developmental Model, The PACT, IMAGO, Gottman, and IFS.
The episode today discusses the 5 losing strategies and also 5 winning strategies that couples can use in order to stop feeling stuck. Shane Birkel also gets into how to use the feedback wheel which is a valuable resource for helping couples communicate.
As therapists, especially in private practice, we must have a deeper understanding of money both for our business and for our personal lives. In this episode Tiffany McLain talks about the psychology of money, how fear holds us back, having the life we want, talking with clients about money, setting fees and much more.
Tiffany McLain is a therapist in private practice in San Francisco. She is the founder of heytiffany.com which is a wealth of resources to help therapists make more money.
Dr. Jennifer Lagrotte describes the method for dealing with affairs that is taught by the Gottman Institute. The process involves the steps of Atone, Attune, Attach and she goes into detail as to what this looks like in our work with clients.
It is very important as therapists for us to have a clear sense of how we are helping people heal and recover from these situations.
This conversation explores the debate between differentiation and attachment. This episode is with the authors of an article entitled Attachment vs. Differentiation and in that article they use Emotionally Focused Therapy (Sue Johnson) vs. Crucible Therapy (David Schnarch) to compare these two models. We talk about whether these two developmental theories are compatible and whether or not it is effective for a therapist to try to integrate aspects of them at the same time, in our work with couples.
In this episode, Dr. Stephen Snyder M.D. talks not only about how to help guide couples to reduce their anxiety about sex, but how to help them have ridiculously great sex.
Dr Snyder has specialized in sex and relationship therapy for over 30 years in Manhattan, where he’s helped over 1,500 individuals and couples regain closeness and satisfaction in their relationships.
Dr Snyder is also the author of one of the most acclaimed sex and relationship books of our time, LOVE WORTH MAKING.
When couples come to us with issues related to money they often feel completely stuck. One partner might want to save for the future and one partner might want to give their children valuable experiences in the present. There is often a multitude of stuff going on beneath the surface that couples are only partially aware of.
In this episode with Kiné Corder we go into detail about how to help couples listen and understand each other's values without compromising their own.
This episode explores fundamental questions like why do we fall in love, why do couples fight and how can couples work through conflict? Harville Hendrix has been on the forefront of teaching about relationships for decades. He is the founder of the couples therapy model called Imago Couples Therapy.
Harville Hendrix Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt Ph.D. are internationally-respected couple's therapists, educators, speakers, and New York Times bestselling authors.
As Couples Therapists we all know that Couples Therapy is much different that Individual Therapy. It is easy to get off track and wrapped up in content. It is very important that we have the ability to stay still and redirect the couples we work with to stay with the conversations of process.
As we begin to collect data in the first session it is important to have a mental framework in mind for us to think about how we are conceptualizing the case.
Some of the most popular episodes on the podcast have been about working with sex in the context of Couples Therapy. There are so many dimensions to explore beyond the physical aspect of what is going on sexually. In this episode Ian Kerner talks about a range of ways to explore sexuality in more depth. Considerations include where clients fall in the life span, cultural, family of origin, medications, psychological issues, internalized beliefs interpersonal and relational issues.
This episode is packed full with advice for how to do good couples therapy. Some of the topics covered are the 6 types of confrontation, rethinking 1st sessions, and how to incorporate attachment theory, differentiation, and neuroscience.
Dr. Ellyn Bader is the co-founder of the Developmental Model for Couples Therapy. She and Dr. Peter Pearson co-wrote the book, In Quest of the Mythical Mate.
As therapists there is a lot we can do to make people feel more comfortable and safe to open up. Doing our own work to challenge biases is an important part of helping other people grow. Part of what is helpful is to be kink aware and come at any sexual conversation with a spirit of openness, understanding, and without judgement.
In this conversation with Heather Garner, she talks about how to get educated as therapists and continue to grow in order to make people feel safe and accepted.
Many couples fall into a predictable dance that neither one of them want to be in. They end up being stuck in this pattern and can't seem to free themselves. One partner is the pursuer and one partner is that withdrawer. The more the pursuer pursues, the more the withdrawer withdraws. In order to make progress, both partner must be able to give up their stance in this situation.
Expectations for relationships are changing faster than ever. What was considered "normal" for our grandparent's generation is being challenged and evolving all the time.
In this interview with Shadeen Francis, we talk about the ever changing realities of relationship expectations for Millennials and Gen Zs. Much of what we discuss is helpful and important for any relationship.
Melvin Escobar beautifully describes the dynamics of power, privilege, internalized oppression, and cultural (in)sensitivity. Melvin has a private practice in Oakland, CA. He is also a registered yoga teacher. Melvin identifies as a queer cisgender man of color and second-generation El Salvadorian.
The Couples Therapist Couch is the podcast for Couples Therapists about the practice of couples therapy.
Most therapists don't like the idea of being in front of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of others. We feel right at home with one or two people in our office, but we need to build confidence in showing up and getting our message out to the world.
Some of the best ways to do this is to have a fantastic website, being present on social media and reaching out to the media at large. Dr. Julie Hanks talks all about how to do this and what strategies to focus on.
50 years ago men and women were more likely to know what each of their different roles were and feel competent to fulfill their partner in the relationship. In the last few decades women have become more empowered in their careers and men have become more involved at home. This has been a positive evolution for humans, but has led to a lot of stress on relationships.
John Gray is the author of the most well-known and trusted relationship book of all time, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.