Treating Couples Well

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Published by: Routledge
Release Date: October 24, 2019
Pages: 200
ISBN13: 978-0415787758


Treating Couples Well shows clinicians how to create a collaborative approach to couple therapy which will empower couples to take charge of their own treatment.

Written in an engaging and conversational style, the book carefully explains how to help couples choose between a variety of clinical approaches and offers effective treatment strategies for a wide range of issues, including infidelity, intimacy and sexuality, communication, mental illness, and addiction. Chapters also explore the importance of considering the therapist’s own life experience and its impact on working with couples. Practical interventions, clinical vignettes, and homework exercises are included throughout to help therapists to successfully support the needs of each couple and to encourage meaningful work between sessions.

Drawing on a plethora of case examples from the career of a leading couple therapist, Treating Couples Well will be a valuable resource to couple and marriage and family therapists at all levels.


"Bravo! This book is a clinical game-changer! It teaches readers that couples therapy is not simply a matter of teaching relationship skills or following a strict, unvarying protocol with every couple; it's about the artful blend of utilizing theory and more importantly, the healing therapeutic relationship. As Treadway unpacks his therapy approach, readily apparent are his vast expertise from years of being in the trenches with couples along with his own long-term marriage, his warmth, vulnerability and profound respect for clients. Anyone working with couples (or for that matter, in a relationship themselves) will benefit from Treadways' astute perspectives on how to help people love each other more completely."
-Michele Weiner-Davis, author of Divorce Busters

"David Treadway is known far and wide as a therapist’s therapist. He is a consummate clinician who’s fingerprints have become an indelible mark on thousands of therapists across North America. Treating Couples Well is the summation of his life’s work - an inside look at what actually goes on behind closed doors - how a highly gifted healer thinks blow by blow. Brimming with insight and practical tips, Treadway makes a superb guide for any couples therapist new and overwhelmed or experienced and in need of inspiration."
-Terry Real, author of New Rules of Marriage

"This is the kind of wisdom we hope for from our old masters. Psychotherapists of all ages, but especially the young, will feel informed, held, pushed, and pushed again. Every one of them will emerge from this plunge into the living heart of marital therapy a more confident and competent professional."
-Dr Barry Dym, co author of Couples

"Like a master chef opening his book of favorite recipes, David Treadway invites us to sample and savor a collaborative approach to caring for couples. Treating Couples Well is a personal and practical guide for new and seasoned therapists alike. The “art and the mystery” that comprise the craft of couples therapy are well situated within a collaborative framework for those whose love’s been lost, hidden, or awaiting the hope of transformation. Treats are best enjoyed when they are shared - our thanks to David Treadway for sharing his life’s wisdom."
-Jay Lappin, LICSW


In the end, I believe the essence of treating couples well is helping them become more comfortable with each other’s discomforts and differences, with sharing their feelings without shame or “shoulds,” and with hearing the other’s feelings without taking them too personally. Each member of the couple needs to learn how to carefully be true to themselves while in the presence of the other; to apologize and forgive, and to accept their own and their partner’s limits and failings with empathy and compassion. In other words, couples need to learn how to live the Serenity Prayer: accepting the things they cannot change, having the courage to change the things they can, and having the wisdom to know the difference.

After all the theories are spoken, all the models considered, and all the techniques applied, the best we have to offer our clients is creating a nurturing sanctuary where they can share their yearnings, fears, and flawed humanity without shame and with deep compassion; where they can dare being vulnerable and take the risk to change.

Couple therapists are not all-knowing guides marching fearlessly ahead of our clients along harrowing mountain trails. Yes, we do have pitons, ropes, and hammers. Yes, many of us have made the climb before. We have maps and weather reports. It is good to have this experience and equipment. But ultimately, our willingness to share the risk, to give gentle voice to the fear, and to hold the sweaty palms is the gift that heals.

It’s taken me a lifetime of successes and mistakes to learn how to help couples most of the time, get from here to there by the simplest and best possible route. And yet, sometimes, I still get lost along the way.

I would like Treating Couples Well to be a useful guide, even a kind of GPS, for therapists. But most important, I want it to be a supportive companion for all those couples therapists finding their own path after me. This is my life’s work. I look forward to sharing it with you.