Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Does couples therapy work? It’s hard on therapists AND couples

by Patt Morrison

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A counselor coaches a military couple during a group marriage therapy session at a retreat for military families on November 12, 2011 near Granby, Colorado. John Moore/Getty Images

Screaming couples, couples who don’t talk to each other, couples where one person talks (or screams) and the other person remains stonily silent.

We’ve all seen or been in a couple going through rough patches, or just ripping apart at the seams. Imagine being a couples or family therapist caught in the middle of squabbling partners.

A recent New York Times article points out the challenges for couples therapists, as well as patients. These therapists say that being a passive voice in the mix doesn’t work, that you need to get in and “be a ninja,” said one psychologist.

The trade magazine Psychology Networker devoted an entire cover package to the subject for its November-December issue. At times, the therapist him or herself can become the target of venom.


Does couples therapy work? Have you been in couples therapy? Are you a therapist who has dealt with couples, and what were the highs and lows of that process?


Peter Pearson, psychologist, couples therapist and co-founder of the Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California with his wife, Ellyn Bader

Rich Simon, clinical psychologist and editor of trade magazine the "Psychology Networker," whose November-December issue revolved around the challenges of couples therapy

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