My interest in treating people with relationship problems has led me to my subspecialty of treating couples in distress. Relatively few psychiatrists or psychoanalysts engage in couple therapy, but I have been doing this for nearly 40 years and have recently written two textbooks on the subject. I see couples at all stages of their relationships—from those considering marriage, to newlyweds, to couples stressed by their first child or by teenagers, to empty nesters. I see couples who can’t agree on how to handle childrearing, money, or in-laws. I see couples in crisis after affairs or those who have grown apart and have stopped having sex. Many are hovering close to divorce and uncertain about whether to continue their marriages. Much of the time I focus on the maladaptive ways couples try to communicate with each other and on how what they try makes matters worse. Most couples I see feel caught in a whirlpool of emotions that they do not understand, do not feel that they are on the same team with their partners, and believe that their partners see them far more negatively than is justified.
My approach to treatment is comprehensive, utilizing the best methods currently available in this field. I focus both on the specific problems at hand as well as on the abnormal dances that couples engage in. I look for underlying issues and hurt feelings (psychodynamics) and I teach concrete skills (psychoeducation) including how to fight fair, how to regulate your emotions, and how to systematically problem solve.
My understanding is bolstered by having originated and then taught, for many years, a popular, nationally-famous, undergraduate course at Northwestern University, Marriage 101: Building Loving and Lasting Relationships.