Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, March 5, 2012

Couples Therapists

From the New York Times:

WE’VE all had that horrible experience: you throw a party or invite a couple over for dinner, and they start fighting, right there in front of you — the character assassination, the barely controlled anger, the neurotic transference of their cooled sexual attraction onto, say, the hygiene of the family dog, all of which makes you want to fake choking and hide. Surely bearing witness to couples’ quarrels feels less bad to the pros, those credentialed and compensated marriage and family therapists whose job it is to help significant others work through issues and pain?

“Oh, no,” says Terry Real, one of a growing number of family therapists speaking out about how couples therapy feels from their chairs. “It’s so much worse.” At the dinner table, Mr. Real explains, you’re just a bystander, collateral damage. In a therapy office, he says, “You’re supposed to do something about it.”

The fact that couples therapy stresses out therapists has long been an open secret. The field, however, seems to have decided that now would be an appropriate time for its practitioners to address their feelings and vent. It started with the November/December issue of the trade magazine The Psychotherapy Networker and its cover package, “Who’s Afraid of Couples Therapy?”

Read more here.


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