3×05 Couples Therapy

Awkward silences, frequent “jokes” and cynicism for each other – and lack of sex can be signs for a couple to seek therapy. And when you have kids, the distance can be amplified since work/kids take all the focus off of the relationship. As avid couples therapy fans, we turned to Ken Howard, a therapist who specializes in gay men, to discuss some of the elements that are brought up in couples therapy, and how they present themselves in a gay male couple.

“When you feel like you don’t know what the solutions are, when you feel like you can’t get passed your point of you versus your partner’s point of view” – That’s what gay men’s therapist Ken Howard advises to look for as an indicator of whether a couple should consider therapy. “I think it’s when you get to that ‘now what?’ feeling,” he says, that can lead you to follow your commitment to the man you love and work on the relationship at a deeper level.

Lack of sex can also be an indicator that something is off in the relationship.

“Although people forget that that’s awfully normal in both straight and gay relationships,” Howard says. “My mentor Michael Shernoff who is a gay men specialist therapist for 30 years in New York used to say that ‘sometimes a period of hot sex cools into a lifetime of warm sex.’ And I do work with couples who do not necessarily have sex with each other.”

Howard also teaches his clients ‘The Three C’s’ principles of Commitment, Communication and Compromise. It emerged following years of treating couples and noticing what do long-term happy couples tend to have in common. “Relationships work in four levels,” he explained on Daddy Squared podcast, “emotionally, physically including sexually, domestically-meaning managing a house together which a lot of couples underestimate, particularly manning finance, and a forth one  I call ‘managing the other,’ which means coping with stress in a gay relationship that come from the outside in, a homophobic relative… you know, gay couples have stresses that they have to fend off that straight couples don’t have.”

Our Guest: Ken Howard, LCSW

Ken Howard is the founder of GayTherapyLA and has over 27 years experience as specialist in therapy for gay men and gay male couples. He helps gay men overcome challenges, setbacks, barriers, and losses in life, to heal and thrive again, overcome challenges such as depression, anxiety, trauma, job stress, career direction, dating/relationship skills, sexual dysfunction and addictions, as well as building a better relationship with your partner. Ken also teaches graduate courses in psychotherapy practice and LGBT issues at USC. In-person and phone/webcam sessions available.

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Episode Credits

Co-Hosts: Yan Dekel, Alex Maghen
Guest: Ken Howard, GayTherapyLA.com
Opening Theme: Hercules & Love Affair, “Leonora” buy here
Articles Related to this episode:
Gay Men’s Relationships: Reconciling the Living Room with the Bedroom (Ken Howard, GayTherapyLA)
Keeping The Passion Alive (In Marriage) (Sarry Refael, Imperfect Thing Called Love)

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