Upcoming Event: Flash Forum on Couples Therapy

I’m very excited to be one of the presenters in Advances and Challenges in Couples Therapy Today, one of the Flash Forums at this year’s Psychotherapy Networker Symposium. Inspired by the TED Talks, the Flash Forums were designed as an energizing, streamlined format for allowing attendees to be exposed to the work of leading innovators in each of four different practice specialties: couples therapy, trauma work, grief treatment and applications of brain science. As with the TED Talks, each presenter will have no more than 20 minutes to give their talk using whatever multimedia materials they wish to give the most dynamic and impactful presentation that they can.

In contrast to the usual panel format, the emphasis in the Flash Forums is not on interaction among panelists but on highlighting different cutting-edge clinical perspectives presented in juxtaposition to each other. The strict 20-minute time constraint really pushes presenters to showcase complex, cutting-edge ideas in a way that’s compelling, energizing, and memorable. There’s no time for meandering!

To see how the format works, just click the link below to view the Flash Forum from last year that included Bessel van der Kolk, Barbara Frederickson, and Dan Siegel.
Symposium 2014 Flash Forum: Charting Psychotherapy’s New Horizons

To sum it up, each Flash Forum consists of three parts:

1. The Set Up
Each Flash Forum has a moderator, who will start things off, introduce the presenters, and keep an eye on the clock.

2. The Talks
In the energized spirit of condensed learning, the talks themselves will be presented rapid fire. After one talk ends, the moderator will introduce the next presenter and another talk will start.

3. Audience Involvement
After all four talks have been presented in rapid succession, the moderator will pose a question to the audience that they’ll discuss in small groups amongst themselves. The emphasis will be on giving audience members the chance to interact with each other to process what the ideas presented could mean for their practices.

I really hope you’ll consider attending the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium and participating in the Couples Therapy Flash Forum Saturday morning.

Register for the symposium here

Imago Think Tank: Wedding Planning is Therapy

Modern Brides & Modern Grooms coverMany of you know that I regularly host the Imago Think Tank, interviewing therapists, authors, and innovators in couples therapy. Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark O’Connell L.C.S.W., author of Modern Brides & Modern Grooms: A Guide to Planning Straight, Gay, and Other Nontraditional Twenty-First-Century Weddings.

Mark discussed how marriage is changing for people of all walks of life, and how events like weddings celebrate the story of a couple’s relationship. In Mark’s post about the interview on Psychology Today, Celebration Planning Can Be Effective Therapy, he discusses how wedding planning can be an important time period for couples who are creating their future together.

I encourage you to read his article on Psychology Today and listen to the Imago Think Tank interview below.

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Key to happy marriage: financial freedom

Financial freedomThe number one reason couples fight is money. Nobody wants to let arguments over household finances destroy an otherwise healthy relationship. But how do we keep money from tearing us apart?

I love James Van Praagh’s approach to financial freedom: money is energy. Where and how you choose to spend your money reveals what is most important to you. If you want more financial freedom (and really, who doesn’t) start with reading this: Choose Financial Freedom by James Van Praagh

5 Easy Hacks That’ll Save Your Toxic Relationship

Being in a toxic relationship is horrible enough; having to go through the same experiences on more than one occasion (and with different people) is even more frustrating. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with someone who really connects with you…only to discover that they have some less than desirable traits that are pretty much dealbreakers. You can only get drawn into so many fights and shouting matches before the bone crushing fatigue kicks in.

Honestly, are there ways to avoid falling into this vicious cycle?

As sad it sounds, sometimes you just have to know when it’s time to call it quits and accept that nothing will change. The problem lies in the fact that making that call isn’t always easy—Especially when there are kids involved. That’s just one of the reasons why it’s important to try to fix things before it’s too late.

But how can you tell if your relationship is even worth saving?

Making the decision to work things out isn’t the most important step — coming to that decision TOGETHER is. After all, it definitely takes two to tango. You can’t expect your relationship to improve if you and your partner aren’t on the same page. So, if you want to save yourself from a sinking ship, listen closely.

According to host Dr. Tammy Nelson, Imago Institute’s Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Psychotherapist Dr. Jamie Turndorf, Spiritual Psychotherapist Tracy B. Richards and Psychotherapist Ross Rosenberg, doing just one of the five things mentioned in the video after the jump can make a major difference in your love life. Seriously.

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Fifty Shades of Feminism

50 Shades of Grey posterI was in Paris for the opening of the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. There were over 2,000 advanced tickets sold for the opening night in Paris, and almost 5,000 tickets sold for the 2:00 p.m. show.

The movie opened to over $100 million in worldwide sales. Tickets will continue to sell out and men, women and couples of all ages will see this film for months and maybe even years to come.

As I walked through the underground Metro there are movie posters on the wall with Christian Grey holding Anastasia’s arms above her head and kissing her passionately. There is another of her biting her lip, seductively, waiting.

The words in French make it look romantic. But is the movie romantic? Is a movie about a man who abuses his power over a young woman supposed to be romantic? And why is it grabbing the heartstrings of so many viewers? Is this a reflection of women in our western culture giving up their power and a step back for feminism? Or is Fifty Shades a true modern-day fairy tale?

The risk of the movie, particularly for young girls or beginners who want to try some BDSM in their own relationship, is that power must be used with permission and with a safe word within a trusting partnership. This may not be clear in the film.

One of the reasons that the book has been such an overnight success is that it hits a combination of sweet spots in our history of feminism and erotic power, crucial to our role as women.

But do not underestimate or mistake our desire for ravishment by a strong man for weakness.

We are not giving up our power; we are taking back our power. We are coming into a time of real authority, recognizing our own internal strengths and finding real choices. We don’t want to give our power away to men. We want to open ourselves to a man who can handle it. We want sexual satisfaction and we will not settle for less.

Read the full article on Huffington Post: Fifty Shades of Feminism: Hot Sex and the New Fairy Tale