Why Couples Rush to therapy

Couples Blog for Bravo – Jen Glantz
Originally written for Bravo, Personal Space, September 2017. Personal Space is Bravo’s home for all things “relationship.”


The days of When Harry Met Sally when you could marry your long-time best friend aren’t over, but they have taken a backseat to new ways of meeting online. Rules for relationships aren’t clear online and they need to be written in a way that is understandable. But Integrity, honesty and being upfront about who you are haven’t gone out of style though, and when things get rough more couples are going to therapy in real life. And because media always keeps up with real life, you can catch celebrities working it out on the air in Couples Therapy.  So why is everyone using therapy to help their relationships?

1. The illusions precipitated by media, magazines, movies, the Internet and TV about love and romance do not match what occurs in real relationships. Couples look for the ideas about love that they have grown up with or seen on their favorite shows and sites. These images do not reflect “real” relationships, but are instead are “reel”  images, those that are designed for your entertainment. When couples realize their real relationships don’t match what they have imagined from media exposure, they quickly want to find out why. In my award-winning book, Get Reel: Produce Your Own Life I explain just how these illusions are formed and how to break them and move on to a much more successful “real” relationship.

2. Therapy is much more acceptable today and more couples and men are seeking treatment when in the past therapy was considered a sign of instability, rather than the growth process that it is today. Relationships can be the most challenging part of life, because with career, home and hobbies, you are largely in control, and your habits, experiences and goals are purely your own. In a relationship, you have an entire history and personality, as does your partner. Navigating the road to a partnership may require some professional guidance

3. Couples are still making new rules for relationships and they are not clearly defined. Ever since the 60’s and feminism, the changing roles of men and women have been evolving and are still taking shape. Couples often need help to navigate their own rules and what works for them in an era of Millenials, Gen X and Y and Boomers all trying to get along.

4. More couples meet online. While online relationships are often highly successful and lasting, the path to dating online is a different one and often both women and men need help to navigate the new way of matching up! While it might appear easier to find a partner with all the dating apps and websites, sorting out a relationship after meeting someone over the Internet has its own challenges. I find that many people in therapy want help with social network relationships, red flags that someone is not who they appear to be or signs that someone is sincere.

5. Older couples whose relationships have deteriorated are feeling that therapy is more acceptable and are taking on long-standing issues.

Some considerations for deciding to go to couples therapy are:

  • Experiencing negative communication in a relationship
  • The partnership seems to have no life in it
  • There has been betrayal
  • You can’t seem to solve problems effectively

Look for a therapist who uses some of the most successful theories in couples counseling. Those would include the work of Virginia Satir, John Gottman and Harville Hendrix. But understand that progress takes time. Many couples don’t seek help for up to six years after they realize that they have a problem. A good relationship is a work in progress.

Why do people like Hillary Clinton Love Watching HGTV?

Originally appeared in Dow Jones Moneyish interview  Sept. 19, 2017

Of all of the magazines that I have in my waiting room at my psychology practice, HGTV is the one that everyone reads! And the HGTV channels are the ones that everyone watches because they can they can lose themselves in a sea of possibilities. Many Pinterest pages are really about decorating and home projects, as these topics are very appealing to a large number of people.

Home Improvement and even the idea of it is very nurturing and satisfying. Hillary Clinton, in her new book, says she likes design projects because they have a beginning, a middle and an end. There is also a tremendous satisfaction in doing, or even in imaging doing, something that is totally your idea and over which you have full control. And Hillary has used this de-stressor following the election as part of her self-care regimen.

From a psychological perspective, home improvement shows use a part of the brain that takes us out of our normal routine and allows for imagination. Thoughts such as, “Well that would work in my office, and even though I won’t do a full do-over, that one thing would work for me,” Or “I never thought of hanging that on my wall,” and “Wow, that color is beautiful, I never thought of that!” allow for an openness and variation from normal routine that is inspiring and invigorating, yet relaxing. A sense of Flow occurs during creativity that uses a different part of the brain than normal daily activities that keeps you young! Studies on longevity and happiness have a related flow to accomplishing these states of being.

I shared with Meera Jagannathan at Dow Jones: Moneyish that home improvement shows also open viewers’ imaginations as they picture how they might use a particular color or position a shelf in their own home. Even imagining doing a project of your own can give you a sense of control, reducing stress. Networks like HGTV, National Geographic, PBS and the History Channel provide educational viewing experiences with few disturbing images, offering a positive viewing experience. Beautiful images are powerful and can create a sense of calm. There are so many things about it that are just nourishing.

Kathleen Finch, the chief programming, content and brand officer for HGTV parent company Scripps Networks Interactive explains how every show has a happy ending. Projects end and look beautiful. Not to mention that the contractors are pretty interesting themselves. Overall, HGTV delivers the experience of consistency, a trait that is treasured by the heart, mind and soul!

Is YouTube a Good Idea for Toddlers?

Originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times reporter David Pierson and I looked at why preschoolers like YouTube and whether it is good for them. And it is hard to avoid. While TV time can be limited, if your youngster has an iPad, then they have access to TV through YouTube all the time. Those who have never seen TV may be familiar with Hannah Montana in any case.

“The family and learning space is incredibly important to YouTube and one that is continuing to grow,” said Malik Ducard, YouTube’s global head of family and learning. And a quick review of the YouTube toddlers’ options proved that the same preschool shows that are available on TV are also on YouTube. Kids can meet Big Bird on Sesame Street. Read More

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