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Category: Amy Begel

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The Problem With “The Perfect Couple”

Tensions in marriage are normal, and unavoidable. They’re part of the price of intimacy. Problems only occur when these underlying tensions are ongoing, and not acknowledged. They are semi-buried. Children are geniuses at feeling these latent tensions; they often help magnify what hasn’t been addressed. In fact, in their own way, they may be trying to help.

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Help For A Shut-Down Man

Therapist Avi Klein wrote about the shame many men feel about their emotions, particularly feelings that expose a sense of vulnerability. We see men like that often in therapy with couples. Here’s a case of how one man allowed himself to be un-masked, and how it transformed the couple’s relationship.

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“Control Issues”: A Young Woman With An Eating Disorder Challenges Her Family

In contemporary culture, as portrayed in commercials for pharmaceuticals, family members are portrayed as bystanders to suffering, having to “manage” the symptoms of their  bi-polar loved one, or “suffer” the effects of the depressed person’s symptoms or behavior. But families, couples, all of us, can unwittingly get stuck in patterns, sometimes destructive patterns, of which we are unaware. Those patterns can cause distress in ourselves and others, which can show up as a “symptom” in one person. This is rarely intentional, more a product of the tricky,  powerful and subtle  nature of relationship dynamics.

Eating disorders are no exceptions. Most of the clinical writing and popular assumptions about anorexia and other eating disorders note that these conditions are characterized by the need for individual “control”. There’s truth to this. But if you expand the lens to include the family,  you learn a lot about what this “control” can look like.

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An Unexpected Recovery From Depression: One Woman’s Story

Women who feel depressed often see this as a purely personal struggle, believing they have a “chemical imbalance”. They may feel burdened and alone, and responsible and/or guilty for their depression.
In fact, depression is rarely a simple personal affair. Most often, the roots of depression can be found in that person’s intimate relationship sphere, where important parts of our happiness/unhappiness live. Here’s one woman’s story of how she moved from depression to owning her own power.

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Dealing With Our “Stuff” Helps Us With Other People’s “Stuff”

The psychological defense mechanism of projection can distort a parent’s judgement about their kids, or it can create a wedge between a couple, since projection interferes with the ability to see one’s partner as she truly is. The (unconscious) grip from the past gets in the way. Here’s a therapy session that looks at how this projection process played out in one family, and how it was–for the moment-transformed.

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The Partner-Improvement Project: What You Need To Know

Most people believe that they can’t change their partner. “My husband is the way he is,” or “My wife is that way with everyone.” They imagine their partner to be a fixed entity. They see themselves as primarily responding TO their partner, a one-way street filled with frustration. People fail to understand the most fundamental Law of Intimate Relationship Physics: Each partner changes and helps to create the other. The only question is how.

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Rebuilding Trust After An Affair

Probably the most painful aspect of an affair is the breaking of trust. Most of those who’ve been betrayed wonder if restoring trust is possible. That’s understandable. And it’s impossible to have a lasting relationship without trust. In the case of affairs, regaining trust is absolutely possible, but it comes with a price. See if you think it’s worth it.

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Affair Repair

Extramarital affairs, that most painful of betrayals, can actually be a catalyst for a couple’s re-birth. But it’s a tricky process, and needs to be handled with care. Here are some tips on how to make it work.

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Don’t Worry About Feeling Bad

We have become a nation of fixers. We want to fix stuff as soon as its broken, including our moods. We don’t have much tolerance for ambiguity, or lack of resolution. Or emotional pain. What’s the problem with that, you might ask? Because often our attempt to “fix” our moods, or our pain, ends up making the problem worse, or more long-lasting. Here’s another way to do it.

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When A Couple Has “Trust Issues”

The ability and willingness to trust in one’s parter seems to be a precondition for a healthy and stable connection.  But lack of trust can be made of many things. You often have to look beneath the surface to uncover what’s behind this potentially corrosive force. It often began before the couple even met.

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How To Become An Alcoholic

While it’s always tricky to try to understand how someone becomes an alcoholic, stories from patients “in recovery” reveal some patterns. In this post, we get a glimpse into a couple’s therapy, where we learn what “pre-alcoholism” looks like. It can tell us a lot about some of the ingredients that go into making an alcoholic.