M. Christina Benson, M.D., D.L.F.A.P.A


Other Types of Therapy

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt techniques tend to be experiential and emotive. An example of a Gestalt technique might be to have the patient pretend their spouse or boss or some other important person is sitting in a chair next to them and to express to that person whatever they feel toward them in a role played conversation.

Behavioral Therapy

If a person has a phobia, for example, a behavioral therapist might expose the person to the feared stimulus in small doses. This is in order to desensitize them to the feared stimulus. Behavioral techniques tend to work in the realm of conditioned responses and behavior rather than deeper meanings.

Couple’s Therapy

Couples therapy differs from psychotherapy because a relationship is the focus of attention, instead of an individual. Couples therapy focuses on the problems existing in the relationship between two people. But, these relationship problems always involve individual symptoms and problems, as well as the relationship conflicts. For example, if you are constantly arguing with your spouse, you will probably also be chronically anxious, angry or depressed (or all three). Or, if you have difficulty controlling your temper, you will have more arguments with your partner.

In couples therapy, I will help you and your partner identify the conflict issues within your relationship, and will help you decide what changes are needed, in the relationship and in the behavior of each partner, for both of you to feel satisfied with the relationship.

These changes may be different ways of interacting within the relationship, or they may be individual changes related to personal psychological problems. Couples therapy involves learning how to communicate more effectively, and how to listen more closely. Couples must learn how to avoid competing with each other, and need to identify common life goals and how to share responsibilities within their relationship. Sometimes the process is very similar to individual psychotherapy, sometimes it is more like mediation, and sometimes it is educational. I use psychodynamic and psychoanalytic approaches and a range of other techniques in my work with couples. The combination of these components is what makes this approach to couples work so effective. In addition, I draw on decades of work in the Tavistock model in the study of groups and organizations. This model deals with the unconscious dimensions of psychological life that are active when people come together intimately.