Positive Couple Therapy : Using We-Stories to Enhance Resilience book cover
1st Edition

Positive Couple Therapy
Using We-Stories to Enhance Resilience

ISBN 9780203383995
Published March 5, 2014 by Routledge
202 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Positive Couple Therapy: Using We-Stories to Enhance Resilience is a significant step forward in the couple literature. Utilizing a strengths-based approach, it teaches therapists and couples a unique method for uncovering positive potential within a relationship. The authors demonstrate how “We stories”–created, recovered and made anew–provide essential elements of connection. With vivid imagery, these stories capture the couple’s sense of “We-ness,” highlighting memorable moments of compassion, acceptance, and respect. A shared commitment to the “We” simultaneously builds the relationship and enables each individual in the partnership to feel a greater degree of both accountability and autonomy. Couples that can find their stories, share them with each other, and then carry them forward to family, friends, and a larger community are likely to preserve a sense of mutuality that will thrive over a lifetime of partnership.

Positive Couple Therapy provides simple and practical instruction for reclaiming positive stories that can catalyze hope in relationships that have become stressed and strained. The authors weave together cutting edge thinking and research in attachment theory, narrative therapy, neuroscience, and adult development, as well as their own research and clinical experience to present vivid case histories, step-by-step strategies, exercises, questionnaires, and interview techniques. They cover a range of contemporary couple experiences: couples in conflict, LGBT partnerships, deployed and discharged military couples, and couples at various points across the life span. The authors’ unique Me (to US) Scale, a 10-item tool that assesses the degree of mutuality a couple possesses at the start of treatment, gives therapists of any theoretical orientation the ability to put this intervention to immediate use.

Table of Contents

1. What is the "We"? 2. The Power of Stories in Our Lives 3. Assessing the "We" in Therapy 4. Helping Couples Cultivate their We-Stories 5. Stuck Stories: Helping Couples Confront and Move Beyond Them 6. Building We-Stories across the Life Cycle 7. Living and Telling the "We"–Giving Our Stories Away

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Jefferson A. Singer is the Elizabeth H. Faulk Professor of Psychology at Connecticut College and a clinical psychologist in private practice. 

Karen Skerrett is a staff member at the Family Institute/Center for Applied Psychological Studies at Northwestern University and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University.


"Jefferson Singer and Karen Skerrett have done a great favor for couples and couples therapists. Our whole society needs a lot less focus on "me" and a lot more emphasis on "We." Perhaps the best parts of the book are the stories--the authors use illustrations from their own lives in addition to tales of couples who find meaning in the relationships they create together."--Gene Combs M.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago. Co-Author of Narrative Therapy: The social construction of preferred realities and Narrative Therapy with Couples.

"Positive Couple Therapy forges a creative, dynamic marriage: excellent scholarship and real-world tools. It offers an accessible, practical guide for helping couples reclaim their stories of togetherness. Beyond that, it inspires all of us to re-discover and share the precious crystals of personal memory that reflect our deepest love; to learn how to make the subtle but daring shift to not only being me, but being ‘We.’"--Susan Bluck, Ph.D., University of Florida

"Singer and Skerrett have written a wonderful book about working with less distressed couples that accentuates building and drawing on a sense of "We." This book artfully integrates positive psychology, narrative practice, and an often ignored thread of research that unequivocally points to the value a sense of "We" has in couple satisfaction and individual happiness. Full of wonderful life stories and case examples, Singer and Skerrett point to how couples can actively cultivate and grow their We-Stories and thus their relationships."--Jay Lebow, Ph.D., ABPP, Clinical Professor, Family Institute at Northwestern