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The Couples Therapist Couch

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The Couples Therapist Couch is a podcast by licensed marriage and family therapist, Shane Birkel. The show provides education, support, and connection for Couples Therapists, Marriage Counselors, and Relationship Coaches. Each week Shane interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.

The Couples Therapist Couch is a podcast by licensed marriage and family therapist, Shane Birkel. The show provides education, support, and connection for Couples Therapists, Marriage Counselors, and Relationship Coaches. Each week Shane interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.
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The Couples Therapist Couch is a podcast by licensed marriage and family therapist, Shane Birkel. The show provides education, support, and connection for Couples Therapists, Marriage Counselors, and Relationship Coaches. Each week Shane interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.




070: Bill Doherty on Marital Commitment vs. Individual Happiness

Never before in history has there been such a movement towards individual happiness. For a long time people have had a strong sense of commitment to their marriage and to their families. That has all changed a lot in the last 70 years. Couples and family therapy has a evolved a lot along with this movement. More than ever before, people feel the crunch between individual happiness and marital commitment. For this reason, Dr. Bill Doherty along with his daughter, Elizabeth Doherty Thomas,...


069: Tammy Nelson on Sex and Couples Therapy

In this episode with the amazing Couples and Sex Therapist, Dr. Tammy Nelson, we talk about the importance of therapists being comfortable with talking about sex. We talk about how much people's sex lives (whether they have much of one or not) is a huge part of how we define ourselves. Tammy also talks about how to recover from infidelity from a sex therapist standpoint. Dr. Tammy Nelson is a leader in the field of sex therapy. She has written books and regularly teaches other therapists...


068: Emotionally Focused Therapy Training with Jill Fischer

This episode is with Jill Fischer who is a leading Emotionally Focused supervisor and trainer. She provides listeners with a fantastic overview of EFT as a model and what is necessary for training. Emotionally Focused Therapy is one of the leading models in the world of couples therapy. We talked about the externship, core skills training, and how your own personal work as a therapist can enhance your ability to go deeper with the couples you work with. The Couples Therapist Couch is the...


067: Rebecca Jorgensen on EFT and Therapist Development

When couples come for therapy they are usually aware of anger, frustration, and lack of connection. As humans we are very good at figuring out who to blame our feelings on instead of communicating with vulnerability. Emotionally Focused therapy helps people to connect with themselves and their more authentic emotions. When people tap into their feelings of sadness, fear, and hurt and communicate those from a place of vulnerability, they are more likely to be able to be heard and connect with...


066: Allison Puryear on Building a Fantastic Couples Therapy Practice

As therapists we get lots of training and do an amazing job of serving our clients in therapy. What most of us don't learn and need help on is how to build, run, and grow a great business. Whether you have clients coming in the door, willing to pay your full fee might have little to do with how effective you are as a therapist. There is a lot that most of us can do to improve our marketing, presence on social media, and networking with our communities. Talking about all of this today is...


065: Connectfulness with Rebecca Wong

For so many of us we don't have a strong sense of what we want in our lives. We spend a lot of time doing what we think will make us happy or what we think others want. Connectfulness is the process of defining what we really want for ourselves so that we can show up in our lives and relationships in a more authentic way. Rebecca Wong is a couples therapist who works with couples in a deep way. She also works with therapists through one on one coaching, her mentorship program, and the...


064: Black Belt Husband with Quentin Hafner

Because of the way that men and women are socialized differently, there are particular challenges that men face when it comes to relationships. For this reason, Quentin Hafner wrote a book that provides a clear and actionable roadmap for becoming a successful husband. The book, Black Belt Husband, outlines twelve character traits necessary to be a great husband, man and partner. Quentin Hafner is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Orange County, California, who works with men and...


063: A Couple Educating Couples with Dr. Jameson and Herdyne Mercier

Often people try to please their partner and lose sight of what they want for themselves. It is important that we speak up for what we want in our relationships in order that we don't grow resentful over time. In this episode with Dr. Jameson and Herdyne Mercier, they talk about how marriage takes work and they are dedicated to teaching couples the skills they need to have great relationships. They work with couples in their practice in Florida. They have a podcast called the Couples...


062: The 5 Core Issues from Pia Mellody and RLT with Kim Ploussard

Babies aren't born with the ability to have a healthy self-esteem and good boundaries with others. As humans, we learn these things from our parents, but often the education and modeling in our upbringing is lacking in some way. This relational trauma is what causes stress and problems for us in our adult relationships throughout our lives. In this episode, Kim Ploussard talks about the 5 core issues that form the foundation of Pia Mellody's work. This is the framework for Terry Real's...


061: EFT vs. RLT Debate with Figs O'Sullivan

In this episode, Emotionally Focused Therapist, Figs O'Sullivan, conceptualizes a case from the standpoint of working from the EFT perspective. Relational Life Therapist, Shane Birkel, talks about how an RLT therapist would work with the same couple. Figs and Shane talk through some of the similarities and differences in the two approaches and how they view couples cases that come in for therapy. Figs is a Couples Therapist in San Francisco and the creator of the relationship quiz, Empathi....


060: Relationships 101 with Signe Simon and Simone Humphrey

In the last few decades there has been an amazing amount of progress and movement towards freedom for individuals in many societies. While this freedom has afforded new opportunities for people, it has also brought about a new level of anxiety. At the same time, there have been advancements and change in the way we use technology. People are more connected than ever, while feeling more isolated and confused about how to navigate these new waters. The need for relationship education is more...


059: Emotionally Focused Family Therapy with Gail Palmer

As couples therapists, most of use have heard of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), but the same foundations of this model are being used more and more in working with children, their parents, and their families. This model is called Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT). From an attachment perspective, there is an assumption that parents and children are "wired" together. Parents can be an active agent in healing for the child by: (1) interrupting symptoms and supporting health-focused...


058: The Five Losing Strategies in Relationships with Shane Birkel

Get your free copy of The Comparison of 7 different Models of Couples Therapy. This report compares Emotionally Focused Therapy, Relational Life Therapy, The Developmental Model, The Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy, IMAGO, Gottman, and Internal Family Systems. The episode today discusses the 5 losing strategies and also 5 winning strategies that couples can use in order to stop feeling stuck. Shane Birkel also gets into how to use the feedback wheel which is a valuable...


057: Tiffany McLain on The Money Mindset for Therapists

As children, we grow up with money messages that we don't even realize are being implanted in us. We often have a hard time knowing how to explore or challenge the psychology of money and how it impacts each of us in a personal way. As therapists, especially in private practice, we must have a deeper understanding of money both for our business and for our personal lives. In this episode Tiffany McLain talks about the psychology of money, how fear holds us back, having the life we want,...


056: Gottman and Infidelity with Jennifer Lagrotte

There is so much to consider when working with couples after an affair. The partner who feels betrayed is having a traumatic experience. They feel like the very person the depend on to support them is the one who has done something to hurt them more than anything. It is very important as therapists for us to have a clear sense of how we are helping people heal and recover from these situations. Dr. Jennifer Lagrotte describes the method for dealing with affairs that is taught by the Gottman...


055: Attachment vs. Differentiation Debate with Nathan Hardy and Adam Fisher

This conversation explores the debate between differentiation and attachment. This episode is with the authors of an article entitled Attachment vs. Differentiation and in that article they use Emotionally Focused Therapy (Sue Johnson) vs. Crucible Therapy (David Schnarch) to compare these two models. We talk about whether these two developmental theories are compatible and whether or not it is effective for a therapist to try to integrate aspects of them at the same time, in our work with...


054: Love Worth Making with Stephen Snyder

As Couples Therapists we know that most people just don't talk about sex. Because of this, when people face sexual issues it can feel overwhelming, anxiety provoking and stressful. In this episode, Dr. Stephen Snyder M.D. talks not only about how to help guide couples to reduce their anxiety about sex, but how to help them have ridiculously great sex. Dr Snyder has specialized in sex and relationship therapy for over 30 years in Manhattan, where he’s helped over 1,500 individuals and...


053: Money Conversations and Couples with Kiné Corder

When couples come to us with issues related to money they often feel completely stuck. One partner might want to save for the future and one partner might want to give their children valuable experiences in the present. There is often a multitude of stuff going on beneath the surface that couples are only partially aware of. In this episode with Kiné Corder we go into detail about how to help couples listen and understand each other's values without compromising their own. We talk about how...


052: Harville Hendrix on Imago Couples Therapy

This episode explores fundamental questions like why do we fall in love, why do couples fight and how can couples work through conflict? Harville Hendrix has been on the forefront of teaching about relationships for decades. He is the founder of the couples therapy model called Imago Couples Therapy. Harville Hendrix Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt Ph.D. are internationally-respected couple's therapists, educators, speakers, and New York Times bestselling authors. Together, they have written...


051: How to Have an Amazing First Couples Therapy Session with Shane Birkel

As Couples Therapists we all know that Couples Therapy is much different that Individual Therapy. It is easy to get off track and wrapped up in content. It is very important that we have the ability to stay still and redirect the couples we work with to stay with the conversations of process. As we begin to collect data in the first session it is important to have a mental framework in mind for us to think about how we are conceptualizing the case. We must also make sure to get each...