We, as a couple, work with all the participants in a circle. Everyone witnesses everyone else's exploration. Initially, most people experience some nervousness about entering a group (see "Group Work" ), but after that passes, they discover that this is a very exciting way to go. First, you get concentrated attention from two very experienced helpers pretty much when you need it. Then you get to learn from everyone else's situation - and you will learn a lot! Next you get to see that you are not alone. And nothing is quite so enlightening as witnessing a person who is clearly stuck earnestly voicing your very own lines. During the entire time, you get to practice speaking and hearing personal truth - in ways that are rare in our society, but so needed.
In general terms, we begin by identifying an issue that is problematic-either in an individual's life or in a couple's situation. We start off by exploring the surface appearances of that issue (usually something that has been done many times by the participants before they arrive here). This time, instead of hashing through the problem using the intellect only, participants begin-with our help-to uncover the feelings that exist underneath the issue. Getting to these feelings helps to get to deeper levels of understanding, deeper than the rational mind alone is capable of. New realizations invariably emerge. As we explore the problem in deeper ways, we also begin to engage in feelings training, which is about learning how to locate, how to express, and (just as importantly for those who want to experience deeper intimate relating), how to receive feelings.
If individuals have a desire to get to the roots of an ongoing, unnourishing pattern, we use our accumulated experience with human dynamics to go deeper yet. Many times as the roots become more evident, we discover some unfinished business with families of origin. We have a unique way of working with families of origin, and it has nothing to do with blame or with vilifying anyone-in fact, quite the opposite. We call it "harvesting our families of origin," and we believe it is work that must be done if we want to come to our fullest maturity and capacities as adults.
If you want to get a better idea of what our work is like, a read through our latest book, The Shadow Side of Intimate Relationships: What's Going on , will give you a good idea about our approach. Our second book, Making Your Second Marriage a First Class Success, will give you an even better idea. (Don't be misled by the "Second Marriage" title -the majority of the material is pertinent to all marriages.)