Find out about Clarity Based Couples Therapy

Immature love is loving someone for what they do right;
mature love is loving someone despite what they do wrong.

I offer an approach to couples therapy that is accessible and doesn’t require deep thinking or deep insights (something that most people find too difficult to use and apply, anyway) to be effective. Nevertheless, it is not for couples who are foolish enough to deny help when they need it. It is also not for newly trained therapists who feel that they need to listen to and indulge finger-pointing, blaming and excuse making for fear of ticking off their clients.

After years of seeing partners who were too blameful and excuse-making, or who saw themselves as victims with no responsibility for any of their problems, and after becoming exhausted from stepping in to stop them from acting on self-destructive or couple-destructive impulses, I’ve found that couples therapy has become much simpler and clearer — so much so that I refer to it as Clarity-Based Couples Therapy (CBCT).

CBCT is not for everyone. It is not for people who, rather than being committed to making their relationship stronger and better, feel that they have to be right and have to get their way. It’s natural for people to want to be right and get their way and to be disappointed when they don’t. It’s even natural for some people to need to be right and get their way and to be upset when they don’t. Each of those can be tolerated, talked through and even gotten over. However, whenever one or the other partner has to be right and get their way, anything that threatens them with the possibility of either being wrong or not getting their way will be experienced as an assault, and they will do anything they can to defend their position, resist and fight back. The focus of therapy then becomes coaching each partner to react to the inevitable disagreements, disappointments, upsets and frustrations in their relationship, by not becoming upset, angry, shut-down or avoidant of each other. It also involves not beating themselves up.

Conversely, CBCT involves teaching and coaching each partner to confront and fully resolve conflicts as they arise. As it turns out, most people avoid conflict not because they lack the will to deal with it but because they lack a way to do it. Even more apropos, they believe that confronting conflict will only make it worse and have close to zero confidence that it will make it better.

As partners learn the skills to effectively deal with disagreements, disappointments and upsets and make things better without making them worse, each develops emotional toughness, self-respect and self-esteem. Add to that effective conflict-resolution skills and tools derived from mindfulness and positive psychology, and any motivated couple can move to a shared future that more than makes up for any emotional baggage they may still have from their genes and upbringing. Nature and nurture are still only two strikes.

As both partners share victories with each other and live into their shared future, they create and build a relationship that they both begin to take pride in. Within a short period of time, others start to notice the positive changes, and when you go from a couple who is embarrassed by each other to one that other couples want to emulate, the change is phenomenal.

But as I said at the beginning, CBCT is not for everybody. People who have to be right and have to get their way need not apply.

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© Copyright 2014 Mark Goulston, M.D., All rights Reserved.
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  • CBCT
  • couples therapy
  • Healthy relationships
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Mark Goulston, M.D. is a business advisor, consultant, speaker, trainer and coach trained as a clinical psychiatrist who honed his skills as an FBI/police hostage negotiation trainer who increases people’s ability to get through to anyone. He is Co- Founder of Heartfelt Leadership whose Mission is: Daring to Care and Go Positive Now and is the Resident Big Brother at Business Women Rising and serves on the Board of Advisers of American Women Veterans and Dr. Oz’ foundation, Health Corps. He is the author of international best selling book, “Just Listen” Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (AMACOM, $24.95) which has reached #1 at amazon kindle in six business categories, #1 in China and Germany , #1 in audible audiobooks and has been translated into fourteen languages. Dr. Goulston and his book was also a PBS special entitled “Just Listen with Dr. Mark Goulston.” His next book, REAL INFLUENCE: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In, co-authored with Dr. John Ullment will be the lead book for the American Management Association in January, 2013 and will focus on influencing people in a post-selling world. Dr. Goulston’s development of those skills started with his education: a B.A. from UC Berkeley, an M.D. from Boston University, post graduate residency in psychiatry at UCLA. He went on to be a professor at UCLA’s internationally renowned Neuropsychiatric Institute for more than twenty years, become a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and was named one of America’s Top Psychiatrists for 2004-2005 and again in 2009 and 2011 by Washington, D.C. based Consumers’ Research Council of America. A partial list of companies, organizations and universities he has trained, spoken to, provided executive coaching to or consulted with include: GE, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Xerox, Deutsche Bank, Hyatt, Accenture, Astra Zenica, British Airways, Sodexo, ESPN, Kodak, Federal Express, YPO, YPOWPO India, Association for Corporate Growth, FBI, Los Angeles District Attorney, White & Case, Seyfarth Shaw, UCLA Anderson School of Management, USC, Pepperdine University. He is or has been a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and is the best selling author of four prior books including the international best seller, Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior (Perigee, $13.95) Get Out of Your Own Way at Work…and Help Others Do the Same (Perigee, $14.95), is a contributor to Harvard Business, blogs for the Huffington Post, Business Insider writes the Tribune media syndicated column, Solve Anything with Dr. Mark, column on leadership for FAST COMPANY, Directors Monthly. He is frequently called upon to share his expertise with regard to contemporary business, national and world news by television, radio and print media including: Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, Los Angeles Times, ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox/CNN/BBC News, Oprah, Today. Dr. Goulston lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.