011: Pragmatic/Experiential Therapy with Brent Atkinson

When we think about relationships, we often minimize how much work it takes to maintain the happy, healthy connection with our partner. We often feel like love should just come naturally or that if we are with the “right” person everything will just fall into place. What good couples therapists know is that being in a satisfying relationship absolutely does take a lot of effort.

In this interview, Dr. Brent Atkinson talks about how there is often too much insight and understanding as the focus in couples therapy and too little focus on repetitive practice. He proposes that we are all programmed in a way that makes it very difficult to get unstuck when unhealthy patterns play out with our partner. We need to learn to recalibrate the way that we interact with our lover in order to be capable of communicating in a different way.

Dr. Brent Atkinson is the principle architect of Pragmatic/Experiential Therapy. This approach translates new knowledge about how the brain processes emotion into practical methods for improving relationships and increasing personal success. He is Professor Emeritus of Marriage and Family Therapy at Northern Illinois University and his ideas have been published in several journals and magazines. He continues to facilitate trainings and has been the keynote speaker at many professional conferences.

The Couples Therapist Couch is the podcast for Couples Therapists about the practice of couples therapy. The host, Shane Birkel, interviews an expert in the field of couples therapy each week. There is an episode released every Tuesday about the practice of couples therapy and a bonus episode the first Thursday of each month about the business of private practice. Please subscribe to the podcast for more great episodes!


Visit Dr. Brent Atkinson's website at The Couples Clinic

Check out several articles by Brent in The Psychotherapy Networker magazine

Train with Brent in Houston this February in this 5 day intensive training for mental health professionals

Click here to join the Couples Therapist Couch Facebook Group  

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How to get results with your clients, defeat burnout, and build the practice of your dreams, even if you aren't sure where to start. 

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