1st Edition

Common Dilemmas in Couple Therapy

By Judith P. Leavitt Copyright 2010
    223 Pages
    by Routledge

    254 Pages
    by Routledge

    Common Dilemmas in Couple Therapy addresses four common problems that couples therapists face everyday in their offices – problems that leave therapists exhausted, drained, challenged, alive, racing, and on edge. These dilemmas encompass not only the difficult challenges therapists face everyday, but also the passions and profound disappointments of human intimate partnerships. The purpose of this book is not only to explore and give case illustrations of these dilemmas, but also to give therapists strategies to use and help them understand and handle their own profound experiences while doing this work.

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    This chapter will describe the book’s developments, its goals, its overall content and its uniqueness. Each chapter is summarized and it will also include a description of the theoretical orientation of the book.

    Chapter 2: Secrets in Couples Therapy

    This chapter about secrets dares to wrestle with one of the most intricate and loaded issues in couple relationships. Twelve guidelines and different case illustrations are given for therapists to navigate through these emotional and ethical minefields. These guidelines delve into the therapist’s experiences working with secrets and give therapy strategies.

    Chapter 3: Dealing with a difficult Partner

    Here a difficult partner is defined as someone who obstructs the couples therapy process. How does a couples therapist survive resistance, manipulation, and blaming? How does she help a couple with a difficult partner become more open and more intimate? This chapter presents specific and comprehensive strategies for dealing with the three greatest challenges with such a couple: control issues, taking responsibility for oneself and coming out of hiding. It also explores six different types of difficult partners, their basic issues, and case illustrations.

    Chapter 4: Beak-up of a couples Relationship

    Dealing with a couple breaking up can be one of the most difficult and draining challenges of doing couple therapy. The sessions are usually quite emotional and demanding for the couple and the therapist. In this chapter, the author introduces six stages couples go through during the break up of their relationship (plus six more stages of healing afterward), which she developed herself. She delves into four types of common break-ups and how they unfold during each stage. The therapist’s experience of grieving, holding the caldron and bringing healing are probed at each stage. Specific therapist roles and strategies plus case examples are emphasized.

    Chapter 5: Dealing with a Partner who Won’t/Can’t Change

    This chapter introduced new conceptualization of issues in which there are both biological and psychological elements. They are "cross over" issues. Cross over issues share common features such as confusion of responsibility and ever changing available information about their nature. This chapter grapples with how distressing and immobilizing these cross over issues can be in a couple’s relationship. What does a couples therapist do: challenge the person with the issue or work for acceptance by the partner? Many approaches and strategies are presented. How does the therapist handle his own feelings of helplessness and frustration? The therapist’s experience is probed and case illustrations are presented.


    Judith P. Leavitt

    "A professionally wise and passionate resource. In this book Judith Leavitt offers an abundance of relevant theory, skillful direction, and effective thechniques for helping relationship therapists successfully handle some of our toughest cases." --Wendy Maltz, LCSW, DST, author of The Sexual Healing Journey and The Porn Trap

    "In this phenomenologically-based volume, Leavitt deals with some of the most common yet challenging themes in couples therapy;scholarly dissecting them, offering solutions, and clarifying the therapist's role." --Gerald R. Weeks, PhD, ABPP, author, professor and chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy, University of Nevada-Las Vegas

    "With empathy and eclectic uses of strateiges and techniques, Judith Leavitt provides experience therapises the opportunity to examine in detail the common dilemmas they face in one of the most challenging types of therapy." --Barry McCarthy, PhD, author and professor of psychology at American University

    "This book certainly fills a gap in the literature by candidly discussing some of the more frustrating and discouraging issues therapists encounter in couples work. She is direct and honest in her discussions about what it feels like to work with difficult couple issues. She does an exceptionally good job of helping therapists consider the boundaries between their responsibility in the room and the clients'. Her refreshing honesty, descriptions of these difficult issues, and potential strategies make this book an especially good choice for a beginning couples therapist."
    -Bobbi J. Miller, Ph.D., LMFT, Saint Louis University, MO, in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, Vol. 10, Issue 3

    "This is an excellent read for experienced couple therapists. Beginning couple therapists will find this text very useful as a guide when first faced with any one of these dilemmas, as it will help to clarify thinking when feeling stuck or overwhelmed by couples' emotions." - Julia Greer, psychoanalytic psychotherapist and couple therapist, in Therapy Today May 2010

    "In sum, this guidebook to couple therapy tradecraft helps close a gap in the clinical literature on technique. It would serve well as a text for graduate students and also will be of interest to more experienced practitioners looking to expand their skill sets." - Paul Efthim, Ph.D. Boston Institute for Psychotherapy, in New England Psychologist February 2011