The problem is the glue.


The glue is the problem


Many years ago, I treated a fellow for domestic violence on his wife.

The wife had moved to the local battered woman’s shelter.

Following an initial consultation with the fellow, he never returned.  But I did see him again, by chance.

I later learned that he had been arrested by the local police sitting in his car outside the battered woman’ shelter, with a trunk full of dynamite.  Allegedly he was planning to blow up the place.

Several months later, while doing my grocery shopping, I spotted the fellow again with his wife.  They were strolling arm in arm through the aisles appearing to be a couple deeply in love.

What I took away from this is the sense that there is a glue that holds couples together.  And if this glue remains unseen, prediction of future events will miss the mark.

More recently, I believe I have sensed this “glue” or template in my consulting room:


They come for marriage counseling. He is convinced that she has a drinking problem, but he cannot get her to see that she has a problem.

He has been trying for 20 years to convince her.  To no avail.

The mother calls me.  She believes that her daughter has an eating disorder–bulimia.  I meet with the daughter.  She does not think she has a problem.

The mother persists in her attempts to get her daughter to see she has a problem.

Another couple comes for marriage counseling. The husband writes that the problem which brought him to seek professional help is that ,”My wife thinks we have issues”.  I laugh when I see this, suspecting that the only problem the husband has is that his wife thinks there are issues.  I am correct.  The husband does not continue with therapy, hoping that his wife will to fix her “problem”.


It appears to me that in these couples there exists an unseen template that keeps the partners stuck in repetitive moves with each other.  This template is quite rigid and resistant to change.  Change appears to be a signal for impending catastrophe.

The image I have of this template is that it is a chain tied to both partners, so if one moves, the chain forces the other person to move.


A planet with a satellite orbiting/revolving around it.  There is something that keeps the two in place, repeating the same movements over and over.  What can’t be observed is that they each hold the other in place.  Without one, there would not be the other, and as long as they each keep making the same moves, the orbit is preserved.


Of course, this unseen model, templates, also applies to the therapeutic couple. Not only does the patient bring their template of rigid, repetitive moves into the consulting room, but I have my own template of moves.

On my good days, I am able to sense the patient’s template and how I am being positioned by the patient to move in a particular way.

On other days, I may, after the session realize that I had joined the patient’s template.  This is an unavoidable experience.

There is always more for me to learn about my own template.  Which allows me more freedom to see the patient’s template.


Dr. Brody


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