Psychotherapy Blog


Dan Wile, PhD

Dan Wile, PhD is the developer of Collaborative Couples Therapy, and the author of Couples Therapy: a Nontraditional Approach, After the Honeymoon: How Conflict Can Improve Your Relationship, and After the Fight: Using Your Disagreements to Build a Stronger Relationship, as well as over 20 articles and chapters. John Gottman, the preeminent researcher on couples therapy has described Dr. Wile as "a genius and the greatest living couples therapist." His website is

Turning Blaming into Confiding in Couples Therapy

Posted by Dan Wile, PhD on 6/23/11 - 9:06 AM
The defining task in a Collaborative Couple Therapy session is to create an intimate conversation out of whatever is happening—frequently a fight. Sometimes that means helping the partner who has just been accused deal with the accusation. Sometimes, and this is my focus in this write-up, that means reshaping the accusing partner’s angry statement. I speak as if I were that partner, translating his/her blaming statement into a confiding one, in a method similar to doubling in psychodrama. I show...
Filed under: Couples Therapy

Collaborative Couple Therapy With High Conflict Couples

Posted by Dan Wile, PhD on 4/16/11 - 11:40 AM
What’s hard, when dealing with high conflict couples, is getting their attention. If they do register your presence, it is to recruit you to their cause, confiding in you conspiratorily, “Look what I have to put up with.” And if they do acknowledge what you say, it is to turn your comments into ammunition against their partners, assuring you, “Ido what you’re saying, but he never does.” High-conflict couples attack each other at such high velocity that you don’t have...
Filed under: Couples Therapy

Interacting Sensitivities in Couples Therapy

Posted by Dan Wile, PhD on 3/13/11 - 3:03 PM
It is a typical night at Tom and Betsy's house. Tom has his nose in a newspaper.  Betsy is leaning in the door of his study trying to talk to him, getting more and more frustrated at his periodic, vague “Uh huh.” After a few minutes of trying to entice him into a conversation, Betsy starts complaining, and then criticizing him for being cold. Tom snaps, “Can't you just once leave me alone?” Betsy yells, he withdraws further, and Betsy...
Filed under: Couples Therapy

Rules for a Good Relationship

Posted by Dan Wile, PhD on 1/16/11 - 7:43 PM
1. Never go to bed angry.
Stay up all night yelling and screaming. After the way your partner behaved, he doesn’t deserve to sleep.

2. Don’t jump in to help when your partner is telling a joke
--unless, of course, you can tell it much better.

3. When fighting, take a time out.
That will give you a chance to come up with more devastating putdowns.

4. Don’t interrupt your partner.
You need to have all the facts in order to show her how totally wrong she is.

Bids for Emotional Connection in Couples Therapy

Posted by Dan Wile, PhD on 11/15/10 - 12:03 PM
John Gottman’s concept, “bids for emotional connection,” is practically a complete theory of relationships in itself. Hearing the word “bids,” we picture partners reaching out to each other in a variety of ways. Gary Chapman, in his book, The Five Love Languages, lists five such ways: words of affirmation (“That situation was delicate and you really handled it beautifully”), touch (“How about a hug?”), quality time (“Let’s get a babysitter and make a reservation at Chez Alouette”), gifts (“This scarf...
Filed under: Couples Therapy

Empowering Clients in Couples Therapy

Posted by Dan Wile, PhD on 10/7/10 - 5:50 PM
When I do couple therapy, I bring partners in on my concerns about what is happening in the session. If I am concerned that one partner might feel I’m siding against him or her, I might say, “Ben, I’ve just realized I spent more time today developing Lisa’s position today than I have yours. Is that your sense, too? And if so, do you feel left out or sided against or ganged up on?” The person (here Ben) often responds...
Filed under: Couples Therapy
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