Conclusion - RonaldMah

Ronald Mah, M.A., Ph.D.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist,
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Therapist Resources > Therapy Books > Out of Dev Chrysalis Intimacy/Relationship

Another way to conceptualize the therapy is that many people are somewhat bi-cultural.  Individuals in and out of intimate relationships have familiarity with both their dysfunctional relationship process and behaviors and also with more functional dynamics.  They are able to hold conceptual principles and while only erratically practicing productive behaviors.  They are logical and reasonable and also are emotional and selfish.  However, the individual or neither partner nor any family member is necessarily bi-culturally sophisticated or balanced.  Nor are they able to make cross-cultural choices effectively to remain stably functional.  Parents may be seen as the failed bi-cultural or cross-cultural trainers of children trying to balance among and integrate the immature egocentric world of infancy, the first community of the family, and subsequent communities.  Poor parenting had left children trying to balance and transcend attachment and independence, impulse and restraint, anxiety, unpredictability, security, and risk, and other developmental energies and challenges.  Out of the chrysalis or out of the family crucible the individual has emerged to attempt intimate relationships.  Whatever that was developmentally healthy and empowered enables relationships, while whatever that was developmentally dysfunctional disables relationships.  As the individual, couple, or family re-enters the formative process, the therapist becomes the new and hopefully more wise and purposeful bi-cultural (probably, multi-cultural!) and cross-cultural trainer for the specific subsequent communities and relationships of adulthood, including especially the intimate romantic couple.  The model of individual, couple, and family therapy as re-parenting may be especially effective and appropriate model when the individual or one of the partners or parents comes from a culture that support seeking authoritative guidance from elders.

As the therapist better understands developmental processes, experiencing conducting therapy somewhat like re-parenting lost children is less surprising and more logical.  Instead of pathologizing and labeling behavior as immature, such behavior becomes key to diagnosis and treatment goals.  Rather than being too controlling or authoritarian, the therapist may find using re-parenting principles to be particularly sensitive and responsive to client needs.  Acceptance of the transference of being seen as parental and using appropriate counter-transference in an authoritative role can help clients who were poorly nurtured and had poor experiences with boundaries better monitor and regulate their emotional and relationship processes.  The therapist can be a therapeutic "Daaadeeee!" or "Momeeee!" with conceptual clarity and integrity consistent with his or her preferred therapeutic style.  Similar to the goal parents have with raising children, the role and therapy is a transitional process with the explicit goal of launching a self-sufficient individual, couple, or family.  When the individual, partners in the couple, or members of the family (or at least the parent or parents) have internalized a therapeutic guide, therapy can be terminated.  They can manage on their own the 5A's of the intimate relationships: anger, anxiety, attention, availability, and attachment.  The therapist would have performed a facilitative role in the critical period to meet rushed or skipped developmental tasks that will help bring them to the healthy and functional qualitative relationship they sought.  The individual, couple, or family can then proceed… fly on his/her/its own to face its next developmental stages based on a restored sequence and progression.

3056 Castro Valley Blvd., #82
Castro Valley, CA 94546
Ronald Mah, M.A., Ph.D.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, MFT32136
office: (510) 582-5788
fax: (510) 889-6553
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