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2013-2014 Scientific Meetings

Why is Marriage so Difficult?

Presenter: Arthur Nielsen, M.D

Discussant: Caryle Perlman, M.S., L.C.S.W.

This discussion is based on a chapter from Arthur Nielsen, M.D.’s upcoming book, “Couple Therapy Integrated: Systems, Psychodynamics, and Psychoeducation.”  It will cover the research and clinical literature that helps explain why so many marriages–despite optimistic beginnings–fail to last or become devitalized. The main categories of challenges that will be discussed come from: unrealistic romantic fantasies, wishes for cure from the partner, “immaturity,” human nature (including tendencies to focus on negative events and ” negative sentiment override”), and managing conflict.

Arthur Nielsen, M.D. is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. For many years he has been the course coordinator for the popular undergraduate course at Northwestern, Marriage 101.   As a faculty member at The Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis he has taught various subjects including courses in couple therapy.  He is also on the faculty of The Family Institute at Northwestern.  Dr. Nielsen is in full-time private practice of psychiatry and psychoanalysis in Chicago with a specialty in couple therapy.

Caryle Perlman, M.S., L.C.S.W., is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. Before joining the Institute, she held faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has taught courses in the Core Psychoanalytic Program and the Adult Psychotherapy Program, and is the director of the Institute’s Fellowship Program.   Ms. Perlman practices psychoanalysis and psychotherapy with individuals and couples. Her special interests include treating misbehavior and  integrating psychoanalytic and psychodynamic perspectives into couples therapy.  

Educational Objectives:
1. Participants will learn some of the reasons why success rates for intimate relationships are so disappointing.
2. Participants will learn to recognize how “human nature” presents specific challenges to intimate relationships.
3. Participants will learn to recognize when conflict and its management pose specific challenges to intimate relationships.

Target Audience: Psychoanalysts, other interested mental health professionals, and members of the community.

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