By Alan S. Gurman PhD
See additionally Clinical guide of Couple remedy, Fourth Edition, additionally edited by means of Alan S. Gurman, which gives an authoritative evaluation of conception and practice.
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Extra info for Clinical Casebook of Couple Therapy
He seriously asked her what she thought about divorce; would she and the kids be better off if he lived elsewhere? “No,” she said. “I don’t want that. ” I asked Steve. “What about what you want? ” “Sometimes,” he said softly. ” There was a pause, Lisa looking at Steve with big eyes, Steve looking at the floor. “What do you imagine,” I asked. “Oh, moving to some beautiful tropical island somewhere. No responsibilities. ” He smiled ruefully. “But then I realize, in my imagination, that I 36 CLINICAL CASEBOOK OF COUPLE THERAPY can’t wait to tell Lisa all about the island.
Lisa was already pretty good at listening to Steve, and as he talked about the pain and sense of helplessness underlying his demands, she responded with Attunement, Disruption, and Repair 37 caring and appreciation. She let herself be touched by his descriptions of his experience and often teared up when he described painful events. I asked him to look at her face, and I asked him what he saw there. I helped him to receive her caring and empathy rather than block it with angry dismissal. It was very different for her, to hear him ask directly and describe his needs; she said she felt calm and close to him when he talked about his vulnerability and could relate it to her own.
They smiled at each other. I felt tears in my eyes. They had looked directly over the edge of the abyss at divorce and had decided to change their marriage. The next several sessions developed and expanded this process and these themes. Our understanding of the fight cycle was clarified. Steve’s anger was his secondary emotional response to his tremendous fear of abandonment by Lisa, and the fear, shame and grief he carried from his experiences in his family growing up. Lisa’s withdrawal was a coping strategy, her calm reasonableness masking both her own anger at being treated this way by Steve and her long-Â�standing, disallowed anger and grief about the way the role of peacemaker in her family had left her lonely and unrecognized for herself, with her own needs and fears and strengths invalidated and ignored.