An X-ray, or CAT scan, is designed to show what’s invisible to the naked eye. An X-Ray of a couple, in the therapeutic setting, exposes the anatomy of the couple, revealing what’s beneath the surface in the relationship. Sometimes the patient doesn’t like the results.
Surgeon Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, has a lot to say about the unintended consequences of doctors’ failure to acknowledge the dying process. Here’s a case of a young woman whose complicated grief over her mother’s death reflects this failure.
Many doctors feel under pressure to prescribe medications to patients with even moderate anxiety or depression. But it doesn’t have to be that way: Here’s a case of a physician with courage and imagination who takes an unexpected path to help her patient.
Anxiety is a common human emotion, one that we all experience at one point or other. Though most of us feel anxiety as a painful feeling that we want to “go away”, our anxiety in fact may be a helping us learn something important about ourselves.
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.
In our current pharmaceutical-based culture, we forget that how we feel, our “moods” are strongly shaped by relationship dynamics. This holds true even for depression. Here’s a case that shows how this works.
It’s common for people to carry childhood wounds from their parents into adulthood. Sometimes they seek individual therapy for these painful issues. See what happens when the parent becomes part of the therapy.
The idea of being “ruthless” sounds jarring at first, until we realize how it’s an essential ingredient in healthy living, both personally and professionally. It speaks to how we maintain our integrity in the face of demands for conformity.
Difficult Husbands seem to come in two brands: The Overly-Cautious Guy and the Know-It-All. These guys often look good on the surface, but they can spell trouble in a relationship. Here are some thoughts on what makes these guys tick, and how they inadvertently stand in the way of real intimacy.
Teenage “cutting”: Teenagers are often seen in individual therapy for the self-mutilating behavior called “cutting.” Here’s a family therapy approach that stopped the cutting by revealing what was behind her apparent self-destructive behavior.
Fighting is part of both healthy and unhealthy relationships. But unhealthy fighting looks different Here are two types of couples with unhealthy fighting patterns: The Disconnect and The Immovable Object.
To be a parent is to know worry. There’s no escaping it, and there’s really no cure for it. As my blogging buddy David Keith says, “If you can’t stand guilt don’t become a parent.”
Couples in therapy are often like the Three Bears: The temperature in the relationship is either too hot, too cold–usually not “just right”. Here’s how a couple re-set their Passion Meter.
For Amy and Dave, common psychiatric “disorders” are part of relational patterns, usually embedded in the dynamics of the family. You just have to know how to look.
This Family Medicine hospital consultation involved a mute patient who had just had her leg amputated. The hospital staff was angry at her. Then this young doctor took the time to learn what was going on and everything changed.
When family dysfunction meets disease: How a therapy session transformed family patterns and helped a young woman improve her self-care.