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Formerly the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP)

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Transforming War between Intimates: Working with High Conflict Couples

Dec 07, 2013 09:00am -
Dec 07, 2013 04:30pm

Event Description

Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., instructor

Gottman’s research on the predictors of the longevity of a relationship focuses on four key behaviors which lead to relationship failure. The four behaviors are: being critical, contemptuous, dismissive, and using stone walling in the relationship. Often these styles of relating stem from the influence of early childhood experiences and the attachment patterns, or defensive adaptations each partner in the relationship developed to cope with his or her early interpersonal environment. The ways each partner learned to cope, that were adaptive to their early environment but that are no longer appropriate, influence their relationships from partner selection to provoking their partner to treat them in a manner similar to how they were treated by their early caretakers.  

While financial strains and practical worries can take their toll on a relationship, the internal defenses individuals bring to the table are often at the root of the deepest conflict or distress between couples, regardless of external forces. What prevents most people from being able to sustain romantic, meaningful relationships that satisfy their needs and desires? Why do people often feel compelled to punish those closest to them? What are the factors that determine whether partners will end up experiencing love and fulfillment in their relationship or suffering pain and distress? This workshop helps answer these questions by providing participants with a theoretical model that integrates psychodynamic, existential, and family systems frameworks in a manner that can increase clinicians’ understanding of and ability to assist individuals in developing and maintaining intimacy in their relationships. Participants will learn how to help couples challenge hostile and self-protective behaviors that interfere with closeness and intimacy.

Upon completion, participants will be able to:

·         Recognize how methods or defenses formed to deal with pain and anxiety in childhood later come to limit people as adults in their ability to develop and sustain attachments.

·         Summarize how the concept of the fantasy bond, an imaginary connection formed with their partner, that relieves anxiety yet interferes with real relationships.

·         Apply the techniques of Voice Therapy to help partners identify and challenge negative thoughts toward themselves and their partner.

·         Apply attachment theory to understanding the dynamics operating in couples in order to provide more effective treatment.

·         Assess couple dynamics through the use of objective instruments and use this information to inform treatment planning.

·         Utilize journaling and communication exercises to facilitate change in high conflict couples.

Program Code: TW68
6 CE Credits
Location: at MSPP, Newton

Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and Director of Research and Education at The Glendon Association. She is involved in clinical training and research on suicide and violence, resulting in the development of the Firestone Assessment of Self-destructive Thoughts (FAST), the (FASI) and the Firestone Assessment of Violent Thoughts (FAVT), published by PAR Publications. She is co-author of The Self under Siege, Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice, Creating a Life of Meaning and Compassion and Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships. Dr. Firestone is a highly regarded workshop facilitator in the topics of suicide, violence and family relations.

Event Type:Continuing Education Program
Category:Innovators - Clinical Practice
Early registration ends on Aug 08, 2013.
Regular registration starts on Aug 09, 2013 and ends on Nov 26, 2013.
Late registration starts on Nov 27, 2013.



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