Therapists Talk 
Shrink Rap 


    Michael E. Holtby, LCSW, BCD

Irvin D. Yalom, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine, calls the psychotherapist "love's executioner". He writes, "Love and psychotherapy are fundamentally incompatible. The good therapist fights darkness and seeks illumination, while romantic love is sustained by mystery and crumbles upon inspection." Consequently, the worst time to be in therapy is when you are newly "in love". Conversely, probably the best time to be in therapy is when you are undergoing a relationship breakup, or your relationship is in conflict. The reason is this is the time you are likely to be most conscious and introspective.

One quarter of my clients are couples seeking to improve their communication, sex life, ability to argue constructively, or the general level of intimacy and commitment in their relationship. Approximately two in five of my clients comes to see me during or following a breakup. This is a particularly painful period, but is one of potentially tremendous growth. And finally, I see a number of single individuals - particularly men - who have not been able to sustain an intimate relationship. Their concerns are developing the necessary social skills, understanding potential partners, increasing their self-esteem, and overcoming the road blocks to a fulfilling, long-term relationship.

I subscribe to an approach with couples called Emotionally Focused Therapy or EFT. Here is a description from the founder, Sue Johnson's book Hold Me Tight:

"Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, get to the emotional underpinnings of your relationship by recognizing that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in such a way that a child is on a parent for nurturning, soothing and protection....The way to enhance or save a relationship is to be open, attuned, and responsive to each other and to reestablish emotional connection."  

Research on the efficacy of EFT points to a 75% success rate with 85% reporting improvement.

There is a great poem about destructive patterns in relationships written by Portia Nelson:

"There's a Hole in My Sidewalk"

The link between depression and relationships is explored under my page on Depression

If you are struggling with the loss of a relationship go to: Grief & Bereavement

For further information check out : Codependency


Last messed with May 28, 2010

Copyright(c) 2001 Michael E. Holtby, LCSW. All rights reserved.