A series of landmark studies in the past three decades has identified
exactly what people who succeed in their intimate relationships do
differently than those who fail. Researchers discovered a core set of
emotional habits that are so powerfully positive that, when people have
them, they end up having satisfying long-term relationships over 90% of
the time. PET-C will help you and your partner more fully develop these
emotional habits that are so highly predictive of relationship success.
The attitudes and behaviors necessary to succeed in relationships are
easy to understand and learn, but can be very difficult to do, because, at
key moments, you may find yourself in a state of mind that isn't compatible
with the needed behavior or attitude. In order to change your thinking or
behaviors, you must develop the ability to get into the right frame of mind
for the task. Marriage researchers have discovered that, when a marriage
is distressed, each partner generally reacts to the other during arguments
in highly predictable and patterned ways. Thanks to some very helpful
brain research in the past 15 years, we now know that this is because,
across our lives, each of our brains gets conditioned to produce highly
specific response programs. These are conditioned brain circuits that are
pre-programmed so that, once triggered, they unfold as if they had a mind
of their own, producing a predictable pattern of thoughts, feelings and
behaviors. Brain researchers call these brain states "executive operating
systems" or "intrinsic motivational circuits." Ordinary people call them
"states of mind" or "moods." The important thing is not what they are
called, but to recognize that these internal response programs can
dramatically dictate how you interact with your partner. To improve your
relationship, you will need to become familiar with the specific mood state
patterns that happen inside of you during key intimate situations. Your best
shot at acting differently comes when you develop the ability to shift
internal states when needed. Your therapist will help you and your partner
increase your abilities to shift out of mood states that often propel you into
My practice serves the following communities: Maplewood, Woodbury, Saint Paul, Lowertown, Oakdale, Roseville, as well
as other Eastern Suburbs of the Twin Cities, Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. Located at 413 Wacouta Street, Suite 550,
Saint Paul, MN 55101
Pragmatic Experiential Therapy for Couples (PET-C)
Pragmatic Experiential Therapy for Couples is an approach that helps partners build the skills of emotional
intelligence. During the course of couple’s therapy, partners use a personalized digital workbook (Developing
relationship habits. As therapy progresses, the therapist also makes digital recordings consisting of
"reminders" and messages of support that clients listen to on a daily basis. These messages are recorded on
digital sound devices, then burned onto CDs so that people can listen in their cars while driving.
Couples therapy usually begins with an assessment process that spans three hour-long sessions. Typically, I
meet with both spouses together in the first assessment interview, and then schedule separate hour-long
appointments with each partner. Partners are also asked to complete some well-researched and established
relationship assessment instruments that they can take home and fill out. In the assessment sessions, your
therapist will be looking at the extent to which communication processes are happening which research
studies show are predictive of marital success or failure. Using this information, your therapist will suggest a
plan for building upon your relationship strengths and changing unhelpful communication patterns. The
length of therapy varies according to each couple's needs. However, effective couples therapy generally
involves weekly sessions (1 hour or 1 ½ hours per session) for a minimum of three months.
You can expect that your therapist will...
• understand and care about the things that are most important to you.
• expertly guide you (and/or your partner) through the stages needed for healing and change to occur.
• provide clear leadership and direction during therapy sessions and give step-by-step guidance about
how to do things differently.
• operate on the basis of established scientific evidence about relationships, rather than personal opinion.
• challenge you and/or your partner when needed in a direct, yet non-threatening, supportive way.