Marianne Ault-Riché, LCSW
11 Homer Lane, Menlo Park CA 94025
members what they hope to get out of therapy—in other words—if they were to look back at the time we had worked together, and if they were to consider that it was time and money well spent…what would be happening that is not happening now and what would not be happening that is happening now. In this way, we have a specific list of objectives against which we can measure our progress. I then get a family history, going back a couple of generations, because it is primarily from our families of origin that we get our values and ideas about what is to be a good husband, a good wife, a good parent, etc.
Often clients have a need for both Couple and Family Therapy. If so, I provide these two therapies in an integrated way. Sometimes the couple is working on their functioning as parents only, because they are not troubled by other aspects of their relationship. Some, however, are finding that the unhappiness in their relationship with each other is affecting how they parent and so we work in both domains. Some are coming to therapy only to work on their couple relationship because they don’t have children or if they do, are able to parent effectively despite their dissatisfactions with each other. Here too, I get a multi-generational history and a very specific list of goals. The therapy then has a dual focus. On the one hand I am teaching skills of communication, assertiveness, problem-solving, conflict-resolution, and self-regulation. On the other hand I am inviting each partner to understand what it is in their past experience which gets triggered, activating them in unhelpful ways. This process is in keeping with the latest findings about mindfulness and the neuroscience of personal relationships.
When I work with individuals, I am always seeking to understand them in the context of their family relationships (past and present) as well as in the context of earlier losses. These may pertain to serious traumas or life’s everyday struggles such as rejections and disappointments. I frequently make use of EMDR Therapy in my work with individuals and also draw upon Bowen Family Systems Theory as popularized in Harriet Lerner’s 1985 book, The Dance of Anger. Recently I have been integrating ideas from Coherence Therapy and Internal Family Systems (IFS) into my practice.
I have been practicing and teaching Family Therapy for more than 45 years. Early in my career I was privileged to have been sent, by the Menninger Clinic, all over the country to study with the creators of the field, which was then being developed. Thanks to this experience, I was able to develop a model of Family Therapy that draws upon a wide range of approaches. I start by asking family
Sometimes we are aiming to do things just as our parents did and sometimes we are trying to do just the opposite. Knowing something about the history of each person helps us to understand their dreams, their expectations and their disappointments. From there I move into helping parents in very practical ways to realize their goals. My style is very direct. It is not my place to say how families should be, but I am happy to share my personal and professional experience—a good part of my therapy is educational.
EMDR is an empirically validated treatment for trauma, recommended by the APA, the Defense Department and the World Health Organization.
Developed during the 1990’s by Francine Shapiro PhD in Palo Alto, EMDR is guided by the adaptive information processing (AIP) model which posits that except for symptoms caused by organic deficits, toxicity or injury, the primary foundations of mental health disorders are unprocessed memories of earlier life experiences.
When people experience suffering, whether it is from major trauma such as combat or sexual assault, or more common life experiences such as,
-being criticized or neglected
-losing someone or something significant
-surviving a car accident or other frightening situation,
they often develop beliefs about themselves or the world which negatively effect their decision-making, relationships and experience of life, e.g.: “I am at fault,” “I don’t matter,” “It’s not safe to relax.” After successful EMDR treatment, people report they:
- can recall the memory without being triggered by it;
- feel more positively about themselves;
-are less reactive in general ;
-are able to be more forgiving of themselves and others.