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Forgiveness - Moving on from Hurt

Thomas had an affair. 

Gina has embarrassed Carlos in front of their closest friends.

LuAnn learned that Raymond wasn’t completely honest with her about the cost of a recent purchase. 

Royce looks on several years of marriage in which he’s felt prohibited from pursuing his interests.

Renee finally has a “voice” in her marriage, but is realizing how much resentment she’s built up for not feeling “seen” or “heard” for over 20 years.

Many of the couples I work with have experienced some painful incident that keeps them from “moving on” with their relationship. In therapy these couples often say, “We want to move on, but we don’t know how to get beyond this. How do we put this behind us?” 

Anger Issues for a Single Father

“Anger issues” is how Ben explained why he was in my office looking for help. Ben’s wife had passed away four years earlier, leaving him to raise their two sons on his own. Lately, he said, he had become “very short” and “lacked patience” with his teenage sons. He connected his current difficulties to a much longer term “problem with anger” and was eager to get a better understanding of his anger and develop some strategies for dealing with it. 

Change is Always Happening

In 2008 I had the privilege, along with about 200 others, of being with Michael White in San Diego for a conference on Narrative Therapy. Sadly, it was the last time we would get to be with Michael, as his heart failed that night and he passed away later that week (you can read more about his remarkable work and its effects on people around the world, here).

Michael was inspiring that day as he talked about the ideas and practices that comprise the familiar core of the narrative approach and as he shared the cutting edge of his own thinking about narrative.

Describing my Work with Couples

Recently, a client in couple’s therapy, who was obviously struggling with our work, asked me about the purpose of therapy and how it works. I thought it was a good question, and, surprisingly, one that I had been asked directly only a handful of times in my many years of working with couples. With his wife also in the therapy session, the three of us discussed his questions, but it was a brief conversation and left me wanting to give a more complete response. That led me to begin thinking more about how I would describe what actually happens in couples therapy and how I would capture that in writing. Below is my attempt to do so.

I think of this as a draft that will continue to be re-written and updated through time. Having articulated these ideas, having put them on paper, lets me step back and consider them from a little distance.