Self-Abandonment and the Clinical Treatment of Couples

Self-Abandonment and the Clinical Treatment of Couples

When watching Paul (the therapist) working with Jake and Amy, I also saw some of the sources of their disagreements and differences are not just based on behavioral and communication levels rather it goes deeper than that — the powerful beliefs, myths and themes which inform the behavior. In helping them to unearth all that, I must make sure their themes must be co-evolved by me and Amy and Jake; to make certain that the theme does not end up laying blame on one partner (the process has to be non-blaming); and continuously to challenge their beliefs which are constricting or impoverishing to them both. (i.e. Personal beliefs, what the beliefs do in the primary couple relationship; how these beliefs play out in other relationships and, finally, how they manifest in the family of origin and culture.)

In all of my therapy and training, not one therapist or teacher had told me I am supposed to be responsible for my own feelings or taught me how to love myself. It took me years to learn and now my core work is just that — additional to the conventional therapy, I also coach my clients to take responsibility for their feelings and to learn to love themselves so they could share their love (instead ‘to love to get love’) with their significant other.

Last and not least, based on Karen Horney’s three Personality Types of neurotic people, I will use the HDS (Hogan Development Survey) to help Amy and Jake to further develop and grow. By doing their own individual work it resets everything, once they learned to take responsibility for themselves, the whole energy changes between them and the good news is it does not take very long.


Adshead, G. & Jacob, C. (2009). Personality Disorder (The Definitive Reader).Philadelphia, PA, USA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Burger, J.M. (2008). Personality (7th Edition). Belmont, CA, USA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Mobley Group Pacific (2009). Hogan Assessment Inventories.


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About the Author

Barbara KiaoMs. Barbara Kiao is an Australian licensed clinical counsellor (MACA9601), published author, integrative life coach and inspirational speaker. She has been providing counseling and life coaching to individuals, couples, and organizations for more than a decade. Barbara is a sought-after speaker who regularly conducts workshops and lectures globally. An Australian national for 25 years, Barbara recently moved her 8 year private practice from Shanghai, China back to her home Sydney, Australia. She has also served on the board of SIMHA “ Shanghai International Mental Health Association for a term of 7 years. She specialises in relationships and behavioural counselling so offer executives, families, couples and individuals a calm environment where personal and relationship difficulties can be explored. Prior to becoming a full-time counselor, she also assisted hotel owners in development of marketing plans and business strategies for new and existing properties. She was a Student Counselor and an adjunct Lecturer at the T.A.F.E. College (Australia) and Northern Territory University in the field of Human Relations, Organisational Behavior, Communications and Marketing, Management Her Mission is to be fully present in the NOW so to engage, serve and empower every client that is attracted into her life to live their fullest potential. Together they push humanity forward by standing in their own truth.

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