Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Become Your Partner's Best Therapist

A link to a New York Times Article, "Talk Doesn't Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy", was posted by Diane Solee, founder of Smart Marriages (originally the couples coalition for relationship education) on March 6. I read the article (click here to read) and then wrote to Diane to agree with her exhortation to the SmartMarriages listserv that Relationship Educators could drive a train through the hole created by the majority of the 48,000 Psychiatrists in the U.S. who have decided that talking to patients about their problems doesn't pay, so they take 15 minutes (if you're lucky) to hear about symptoms (but not why they have them or other potential solutions).

Here is the email I sent to Diane that she forwarded to the Smart Marriages listserv.


Amen that we can drive a Marriage Education train through this opening!

Frequently we're asked by couples what they can do to help themselves outside of session. Here's our reply:

"Armed with knowledge, skills and exercises from the school of relationship education you can become each other's best therapists; you can hold each other's hearts, work through conflict in a way that builds rather than hurts your relationship, proactively build and sustain healthy closeness, learn to manage emotional and difficult conversations on your own, negotiate for shared goals and behavior changes, learn to meet each others needs, etc. We can teach you all of these things by modeling skills and exercises and then facilitate you through some practice. Once you get it, we'll be done and you can continue yourselves."

Everything we learned through relationship education since the summer of 2004 (Smart Marriage, Dallas) to the present not only equipped us to serve hundreds of marriages and families around the world, but also helped us to save our own marriage.

Drive the train!

Jeff and Jill Williams

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