Therapeutic Resources for Relationships

People often ask me for information and resources.  I have welcomed this over the years and continue to enjoy my role among my peers. However, it is very difficult at times to keep up with the demand. So in an effort to document more of my advisement for my colleagues and supervisees, I’ve decided to write a series of posts on my favorite resources.

This week’s focus is therapeutic resources for relationships. You may be familiar with most of them. I recommend these to clients, supervisees and colleagues.

This is not a definitive list. If something well known or popular is not listed below it is likely that I categorize it separately from relationships and you will see it in an upcoming post or I don’t actually use that resource based on my personal preferences and experiences.

Resources for Relationships

  1. The Gottman Blog – Drs. John and Julie Gottman’s longitudinal research findings and strategies to treat and strengthen couples. Their blog is written to assist the public as well as clinicians. I completed the Gottman Institute’s training levels 1 and 2 a few years ago. They also offer a level 3 which I hope to complete at some point.
  2. Lies at the Altar: The Truth about Great Marriages – I was introduced to Dr. Robin Smith when she was a frequent guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is a Psychologist and a Minister. I find this book useful for singles, couples and therapists. It is very engaging and easy to read. She includes a list of questions every couple should discuss before they get married.
  3. In Quest of the Mythical Mate – This is a developmental approach for working with couples. It is great for clinicians. The assessment questions are my favorite for getting to know, witness and understand a couple’s developmental challenges from the outset of their relationship. I recommend this tool for therapists in particular.
  4. Getting the Sex You Want – a book by Tammy Nelson is a great resource for therapists and couples. Dr. Nelson is knowledgeable and engaging. She offers training and programs for therapists and for the public. She also provides supervision and training for those who want to become Certified Sex Therapists via the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.
  5. Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen Lakelly – are perhaps best known among clinicians for the process called the IMAGO which is explored in their book Getting the Love You Want. The IMAGO illustrates the aspects of our relationships with our chosen partners that reflect the unfinished business of childhood. It is a remarkable process and I don’t know anyone who wasn’t profoundly impressed by their IMAGO experience when they’ve participated in this training for couples and/or therapists. I also recommend their book Receiving Love.
  6. The Woodsfellow Institute – Dr. David Woodsfellow is a Licensed Psychologist in the State of Georgia. He specializes in marriage counseling and in training therapists to become knowledgeable and effective couples therapists. I’ve attend several of his workshops over the years and I recommend him to colleagues regularly.
  7. The Five Love Languages– by Gary Chapman is a widely known resource. I find it very helpful as a resource for couples. Additionally, once you learn to recognize the 5  love languages it can assist in one’s observational skills about what is meaningful to us and why. I have found it is very useful in understanding the heart of misunderstandings between people who care deeply about one another but have difficulty getting on the same page.
  8. The Missing Piece Meets the Big O – a children’s book by the late Shel Silverstein. I consider it to be a therapeutic story. I absolutely love this book. It was introduced to me by one of my supervisors early in practice. I have read this book to adult clients in therapy, specifically those who struggle with feeling lonely or incomplete because of not being in a relationship. I think reading this book to someone has great therapeutic value. Consider this: When was the last time someone read a book to you? Reading to someone is a bonding activity that is often left behind in childhood. I think this book should be in every therapist’s toolkit. Check out this animation of the book:


Lastly, for those interested in specializing as couples therapists, it may be of interest to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. My first supervisor was a LMFT. I had the great privilege of learning family systems theories and practices during my internship. This included practicing family therapy with a co-therapist while receiving feedback by a team of therapists behind a two way mirror.

Marriage and Family Therapists have Training Programs across the country. You can also learn more and get advisement from the GA Chapter of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

The licensing board that governs counselors in Georgia also governs Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. In Georgia, counselors can provide couples therapy without being LMFT’s. However, no one should provide couples or family therapy without education, training, supervision and/or consultation.

Competency is developed by –

  • learning;
  • putting it into practice;
  • getting oversight (supervision or consultation) to promote quality;
  • and discussing the ethics of practice.

I hope you have found this useful.

Copyright © 2017 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.

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