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Acknowledgements

A minister was once asked how long it took to prepare a particular sermon. He responded without hesitation, "All my life". I understand that comment.

From the time I decided to create a unique website for couples to the time the Couple's Workstation was launched was about a year and a half, but it has clearly taken me all my life to create this site, and it will continue to grow and change and undoubtedly improve as life continues to teach me about love, marriage and relationships.

Because of this complexity it is difficult to fully and accurately give credit where credit is due. I apologize now for those I leave out of these acknowledgments. I have been privileged to study under some of the best psychological and relationship thinkers in our times. I have two Master's Degrees and one Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. I am licensed in California both as a clinical psychologist and as a marriage and family therapist. All of these have required hundreds of hours in classes, supervision and thousands of hours with individuals, couples and families. I could not possibly remember or give proper credit for all who deserve it.

Giving proper credit is further complicated in that the therapeutic approaches that have appealed most to me as a therapist and as a person in relationship have been what are known as integrative theories. Both Gestalt Therapy and Imago Relationship Therapy are integrations that have acknowledged their indebtedness to a wide variety of therapies, theories, philosophies and systems of thought. Just as the three men looking at an elephant through three knotholes in a fence get only a partial picture, so no one perspective, theory, orientation presents a completed picture of the complexities of relationships. Even the integrative approaches, while being more inclusive, do not contain the whole picture.

So while we know more about relationships today than at any other time in history, there is still an element of mystery and "unknowable ness" about love. I like that.

But what I am presenting in the Couple's Workstation rests largely on the contributions of the following:

My Wife and Daughters
For almost thirty five years I have had a wonderful and courageous wife, Carol, who has partnered with me in this relationship journey, helped keep my head out of the clouds, kept me grounded in what works and without whose commitment to our relationship, I probably would have finished this project much sooner! Nevertheless, this project would never have happened had it not been for her support, input and dedication to marriage and family.

I also have two wonderful daughters who have married good men and are all committed to the relationship journey. We continue to learn from each other.

Ted Crawford
I want to acknowledge Ted Crawford who was the first to teach a systematic communication system, called the Revolving Discussion Sequence. It is his work that became the foundation for the Conscious Dialog Process taught in the Couple's Workstation. Ted has been a good friend and a wonderful consultant over the years.

Basic Marriage Communication Training
My doctoral dissertation was on the impact on marriage satisfaction of a training program in communications skills. The book, Basic Marriage Communication Training, was part of this project and became the foundation for my practice in the early years. This project put me in touch with the current thinking of the time on what makes marriage work and what doesn't. From that research I learned that the most important part of a successful relationship is learning to build on the positive, learn your partner's love language and focus on activities and behaviors that are nurturing and loving. I also presented in that book the first version of what is now the Conscious Dialog Process.

My practice was largely built around Basic Marriage Communication Training and I trained well over a hundred therapists in using that process and method. The program involved a "teaching machine" that was invented for it, and one of my next projects will be to computerize that whole system.

Gestalt Therapy
After getting my doctorate I spent several years in training groups in Gestalt Therapy. Gestalt therapy is probably one of the best orientations for therapists working with couples with its focus on working in the present, understanding the process of making connections and contact and learning the relationship task of "how to be a "self" while including an "other".

Imago Relationship Therapy
For the last twelve years I have been working mostly within the Imago Relationship Therapy system of thought. The roots of Imago Therapy are also in Gestalt as well as Transactional Analysis and so my attraction to Imago was easy and understandable. Imago Therapy also included a communication process, Couple's Dialog or sometimes called "Intentional Dialog"; so discovering a new integrative approach to couples work that included a communication system was gratifying to me.

Many of the skills and processes presented in the Couple's Workstation have a clear Imago flavor to them and I am indebted to Imago Therapy for that. Imago has been particularly adept at describing and emphasizing the positive strivings and the wonderful potential of committed relationships as a place where healing and growth can happen. The mate selection process and the wounds and protections from childhood that are a major source of conflict in relationships have been presented more clearly in Imago than in other orientations. And to clearly reframe the mate selection phenomenon as a positive striving for wholeness and healing rather than as the Freudian neurotic "repetition compulsion" was a major contribution of the Imago approach.

Pat Love
Pat Love was my first trainer in Imago Therapy. From her I not only learned the major concepts of Imago but saw that within the Imago system there are many different and creative ways of "doing Imago". Pat's books will be recommended in the "bookstore" area of Relationship-Help.com. Upon Pat's encouragement and recommendation, I became a Workshop Presenter and have been offering the "Getting the Love You Want Workshops" for over ten years.

Harville Hendrix
I received my Workshop Presenter training from Harville Hendrix, the founder of Imago Relationship Therapy. Harville's main contribution was in the understanding of the complexities and dynamics of the mate selection process and how this is a major source of both conflict in the relationship and the healing and growing potential of the relationship. (See the article, How We Really Choose Our Mates) Imago presents a very high view of marriage and intimate committed relationships and builds a strong case for commitment and the benefit of working hard on a marriage.

Harville Hendrix's second major contribution, in my view, was in his developing of "delivery systems" for presenting this valuable information in the form of the Workshops for couples and singles.

Harville, in my view, created one of the better overall systems for understanding and working on committed relationships and I am indebted to his contributions.

His books are also in our Bookstore. Getting the Love You Want is a book every couple should read.

Imago and Gestalt
I have often in my own mind compared Harville with Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy. Both created integrative systems, borrowing heavily from the insights and perspectives of many systems and both were not afraid of the "technology" of therapy. Gestalt developed a therapeutic model based on the I-Thou relationship and used a variety of "techniques" ranging from the "empty chair" technique to analysis of dreams. Imago developed a therapeutic model based on the mate selection process and developed a variety of techniques like the Couple's Dialog, the Behavior Change Request Process and "Caring Behaviors". Both use contact with other people as part of the therapeutic process. Gestalt focuses on contact in group therapy, contact with the therapist and contact with life partners; Imago focuses primarily on contact with the intimate, committed love partner.

Both have enriched my personal and therapeutic life and I am deeply appreciative of their contributions.

John Gray
I was trained as a therapist in the seventies where any suggestion that men and women were different in any ways other than anatomy and culture was cause to be run out of town on a rail. John Gray, author of "Men and from Mars; Women are from Venus" challenged this "unisex" approach and struck a chord in the American public and around the world. The last I heard, he was second only to the Bible in the number of books published.

I received some training from John Gary and found him to be a very engaging and creative man, but came away with the feeling that he had swung the pendulum a little too far in the other direction, perhaps making too much of the differences. Nevertheless, I believe he has made a significant contribution to understanding relationships and has certainly made it easier to talk about differences.

Cognitive Behavioral Approaches
The idea that we all to some extent create our own reality and emotional life through the beliefs we hold, the automatic thoughts that emerge and the "self talk" we do about our lives is best understood and presented in the Cognitive Therapy approaches to psychotherapy. You will find many ideas, approaches and processes on the Couple's Workstation that have been clearly influenced by the insights of this school of relationship thinking.

I hope you enjoy and benefit from this site.

 


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