Special Guest: Mary Kay Cocharo, LMFT

About Mary Kay Cocharo:

Mary Kay Cocharo, LMFT, has been working with couples and families for over 30 years in her private practice in West Los Angeles. She is deeply passionate about helping couples improve their communication skills, deepen their connection, resolve conflict, and rediscover the joy of being together. She offers weekly sessions, Private Intensives, Workshops, and Weekend Couples Retreats. She is active in preparing engaged couples for marriage through several different formats, including The FOCCUS Premarital Inventory and Start Right, Stay Connected Workshops. Her Ebook entitled, 8 Essential Topics to Discuss Before Saying I Do, is available on her website.

Mary Kay has two Advanced Certifications in Couples Therapy: Imago Relationship Therapy and Encounter-Centered Couples Therapy.

Mary Kay is happily married in an intimate relationship and is the mother of three grown children. She also plays an ongoing role in being a teacher and mentor to new couples therapists, students, and interns as they learn and practice their art of connection.

Where you can find her on the internet:
Mary Kay’s Website: https://www.mkcocharo.com/
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-kay-cocharo
Facebook: https://facebook.com/MaryKayMFT
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mkcocharo
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/mkcocharo
Alignable: https://www.alignable.com/los-angeles-ca/mary-kay-cocharo-lmft
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mkcocharo/


[Jon Dabach] 00:00

I’m so excited to introduce you to one of my new great friends in the field Mary Kay Cocharo she is a LMFT and has been working with couples and families for over 30 years in her private practice. In West Los Angeles. She is deeply passionate about helping couples improve their communication skills, deepen their connection, resolve conflict, Rediscover joy of being together, and she offers weekly sessions private things she does premarital counseling.

[Jon Dabach] 00:30

She’s just, she is so wise and has so much to offer. And I’m really excited to introduce you to her and everything that she does in this space. You’re listening to the relationship revival podcast with Jon Dabach, also known as Mr. Spirituality. That’s me.

[Jon Dabach] 00:47

 I’m your host giving you insights and guidance from over 10 years in the field of this amazing journey we call romance on this show, I go over everything you need to know about how to get into a relationship, how to get the most out of a relationship, and sometimes even how to gracefully end a relationship without pulling your hair out and going crazy.

[Jon Dabach] 01:07

 And occasionally, I’m even joined by new and old friends who are also relationship experts to bring you guidance and wisdom with new perspectives. Thanks for stopping by Mary Kay Cocharo thank you so much for joining. I am really excited to talk to you. You’ve been at this for a little bit of time.

[Jon Dabach] 01:27

 And and I’m sure you have so much to share about how to improve relationships. And I want to just jump right into it. First of all, how long have you been, you know, do focusing primarily on couples and relationship counseling?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 01:44

Well, first of all, thank you for having me, John. It’s a pleasure. And I like when you said a little bit of time, that was sweet. But actually, it’s been about 33 years that I’ve been a couple’s therapist in Los Angeles. And prior to that I was in Texas in Houston. I’ve really been a psychologist psychotherapist about 35 years, and probably about 30 years ago, transitioned into seeing couples, almost primarily, I would say about 98% of my clients are couples.

[Jon Dabach] 02:25

And what made you decide or what made you kind of steer towards working with couples?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 02:32

Two things really. When I was in Houston, I was at the Child Guidance clinic and all of our families were coming through the court system, lots of abuse, lots of neglect. And I had an hour week with these very traumatized children.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 02:50

And I was beginning to realize that while play therapy is is really nice if you only have the ability to influence a child’s life for an hour or two each week without really being able to work with the parents or the adults in that child’s life that you weren’t going to make much of a dent in the family system.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 03:11

 So I started, I was a bit of a renegade, I started inviting and parents to a Child Guidance clinic which back in the day was kind of unheard of we were only supposed to work with the children. So, I started really working with parents and became more systemic in the way that I was working with the family.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 03:30

And then when I moved back to Los Angeles because I had just been in Houston for the internship and the postgraduate fellowship. When I moved back to Los Angeles. I started realizing that I only wanted to work with the couples. So I went through advanced training, I was certified about 28 years ago and Imago relationship therapy, which is one of the weighting modalities for working with couples.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 03:57

And then from there also got certified in counter center couple’s therapy. And so, I have these two advanced trainings to work with couples. And unlike a lot of my colleagues who get the MFT after their name and literally get no training in marriage. It’s really a specialty of mine and the subspecialty being premarital counseling, and I also got a lot of training to do that. Through the Catholic Church.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 04:25

 They were referring a lot of couples to me before marriage, so I just kept training. And I like to think that my my office here has been like a living laboratory for me because each couple who’s walked through the doors talking about that door, right so I’ve done a lot of training and supervising and mentoring of other therapists into the field.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 04:47

 therapists who, you know, like me had gone through graduate school and licensure and never seen a couple and never really had much formal instruction on couple’s therapy. So, through training people, I’ve learned more seeing couples, I’ve learned more. And then I do have these two formal certifications.

[Jon Dabach] 05:11

It’s so interesting the way you phrased it. And one common thing that I’ve seen, and it’s interesting because I, I talked to relationship, experts have different ILCs on this show. So, some of them are, a lot of them are therapists like yourself, some of them are divorce attorneys, but the kind of the common thread with therapists that at least I talked to is, there’s a constant desire or a yearning to learn.

[Jon Dabach] 05:36

 So, when you say every couple teaches you something, it’s kind of indicative of the mentality, and probably why you’ve been so successful for over 30 years in the field. You mentioned that you have two specialties. So why don’t you talk a little bit about, you know, why you decided to get a second specialty after having one for so many years?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 06:00

Yeah, well, they’re not so completely different. And so, it happened organically, John, I was certified as an Imago, relationship therapy therapist, and as you said, therapists are always seeking, they’re always seeking more training, more learning. And, you know, we, we work with humans and humans are endlessly fascinating and ever changing, ever growing, ever expanding.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 06:24

 And so, to really keep up your understanding of how to work with people is, you know, just what therapists do. It’s one of the things I like about being a therapist is that we’re all in this seeking mode all the time. My husband joke says, do we know enough yet you have to go to another. Which really, I think it is the name of the game when you’re a therapist, but a lot of my Imago relationship therapy training was with a woman named Hedy Schleifer.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 06:55

 And Hedy was a master trainer, globally renowned for Imago for many, many years. And she began adding different things from her own thinking her own marriage of 70, some years, her own Judaic tradition, studying Martin Buber who’s an Austrian Jewish philosopher, she started morphing, not the underlying theoretical pinning’s of a Lago, but the methodology, she started shifting the methodology.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 07:28

 And it got to the point where she walks away from a Mago and started encounter centered couples therapy. So, because I had already done a lot of a Mago training with her, and because her work resonated with me, just in terms of my personality, and the way I see things, I just sort of followed her into that. And then when she formalized the certification process in that model, it was a three-year program that I flew to Miami and did, and that was probably 12 years ago or so.

[Jon Dabach] 08:02

You actually stayed there for three years, or was it a remote

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 08:06

and forth a lot. And the craziest thing is when people say did you love Florida, the only thing I saw during those trainings was the Airport Marriott. Like eight days, we would go from eight in the morning till eight at night, eat in the hotels, sleep in the hotel train in the hotel, then I get on the plane and come home. Like I don’t know anything about plan.

[Jon Dabach] 08:34

Yeah, it sounds like there was a lot to learn, I’m going to look into it, I’ll admit, I don’t know much about encountered centered couples therapy, I almost became an orthodox rabbi. I’m married to an MFT, who’s now getting her Psy D. And so, I think there’s some and the reason I got into it is because people kept kind of asking me for help.

[Jon Dabach] 08:55

When I was when I was on that rabbinic path, and I learned very early on that in order to be effective, I had to be somewhat spiritually agnostic, but the kind of the lessons and the philosophies, you can’t really, it’s like, you know, you can’t just leave it at home. It does it becomes a part of your identity and informs what you do. What I mean. Tell me more about it. What makes encountered center couples therapy so transformational.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 09:20

Yeah, and it is transformational. In fact, she calls it he calls it encounter centered couples’ transformation. It’s ECC T. You I think John would really love it and be drawn to it because Hedy has a very strong, Judaic background, and is very spiritual. In fact, she’s one of the truly charismatic humans that I have ever met.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 09:46

She is really fascinating woman. And if you watch, I don’t know if you watch a lot of TED talks, but she does have one. It’s called the power. It’s called The Power of connection. She filmed it It’s one of the 22 Minute ones, she filmed it back in Tel Aviv a number of years ago. But it’s truly lovely.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 10:06

And so, I would recommend that to anyone. And, you know, Imago is a brilliant modality Harville Hendricks and his wife, Helen, look, Helen Hunt’s printed getting the love you want over 30 years ago. And it’s very powerful work. And it’s a strong communication model.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 10:27

 But I feel like Hedy’s work has sort of taken the communication part of that added a lot of what we know now through neuroscience, and what’s actually going on in the various parts of our brain, how healing really occurs, and how we can use the biology of connection in couples therapy, to create what most couples say they want when they pick up the phone and call a therapist.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 10:51

 They want to learn how to communicate better, they want to deepen their emotional and physical connection. They want to resolve conflict, but they want to know how to do it in a way that keeps them in connection. Because the way they’re doing it at home is creating a lot of disconnection and launcher, nobody.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 11:12

 So, Hedy’s work is truly just beautiful. And she talks about there being four levels of learning. At the base level, there’s, and I’m saying this because it has to do with the way I train other therapists to become a CCT therapist, but it also has to do with what the couples learn from you in therapy.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 11:37

 And at the very base level, it’s like, okay, I heard it, maybe I took some notes, but nothing soaked in. At a deeper level, it’s okay, I learned a tool are a skill. But when I leave your office, I don’t really know what to do with that. I think a lot of therapy and it’s there. At a deeper level, it’s there’s a tool, there’s a still I’m using it and it’s making my life better. Most therapists would count that as a win that Hedy does.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 12:09

But Katie does not. Hedy says that’s not enough, we have to go to the fourth level of learning, which is, I heard it, I took notes, I’ve got the skill, I’m able to use it, and I am transformed. Now that I know this, I will never be the same again, I cannot go back.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 12:32

You know, it’s not just a tool I use here and there I am literally different. becomes a character. Yeah, in terms of who you are. It. Yeah, and the conditions for that are a bit of a mystery. What we do is try to create the environment in which that kind of learning can occur. And we know a lot about what that is.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 12:59

And I can tell you more about that if you’d like, but that the intention of the work is to always coach couples into transforming each other. Because when they can do that, they transform the space between them, which is where the relationship lives and changes, the changes, and they don’t need to be in therapy with you forever consulting on every little thing that comes up, because they have changed the very quality of their relational space.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 13:27

And so, they can work through things in a different way moving forward.

[Jon Dabach] 13:32

That’s so interesting. I, you know, it’s your right, I would respond to this on a personal level I I have as a coach, I do things like meditation, because there is that big gap between learning something cognitively and making it part of your character and creating those environments. I’ve experimented with different practices. Tell me more about how the space is made. In is it ECC T is that is that am I getting the acronym? Right? Okay. Yeah,

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 14:01

absolutely. Yeah. Well, the first thing is, I would say, I don’t. And I know this is a radical thing to say for a therapist, but I don’t go, I don’t go to where the couple is, I invite them to come to where I am. So, in a way,

[Jon Dabach] 14:20

the opposite of the way most of us have been taught about it. If you

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 14:25

think about it, couples want to come in and complain about each other and tell you what’s wrong with the other guy. And if only he would and if only she couldn’t and you know, it’s it’s the they come in with this mindset that they are going to sit on my sofa and dump the problem of the week or month or year into the space and then somehow magically the therapist is going to mediate that and make it all better.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 14:52

 And I actually don’t believe that couples therapy is problem solving. Right? I think if all you do is solve a couple’s problem it alone maybe a week or two until they’ll come in with a new problem. Yeah, the goal is really to help couples create a sacred space between them, where they can approach whatever is going on in their lives in a way that they are compassionate and respectful and bonded to one another, so that they create a little bubble around themselves. That is their Couplehood.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 15:26

And, you know, I don’t know why, but it seems that there are a lot of reasons but it seems like we live in a culture that’s a fairly narcissistic one. We are pretty young. I, you know, it’s even heard things like, well, I can’t love you, because I don’t love me, well, love somebody else first. No, that’s boring.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 15:48

We, you know, we come into the world in connection, we get disconnected, which is our suffering, and we heal by being reconnected. So, connection is very, in the middle of what we do in ACC t. So, you know, I think when a couple first comes in, I shock them a little bit, because one of the things I’ve learned is that if I let if I say, how, what brings you here, or how was your week, I’m going to hear nothing but problem.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 16:22

And I think there’s a distinction between who people is in their essence in their core being and who they are, when they’ve pulled on their defensiveness, their survival suit, as he calls it, you know, what we learn to do we feel threatened in the space between? Well, I’m so much less interested in who you are there, I want to get to know who you really are, and what you’re dreaming.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 16:45

So, we start, we start at the beginning with really establishing what Hedy calls the wildest dream, I think of it as the deepest intention for the relationship, the highest aspiration. And we really share that out, we get that down, we really work with that to make a quite a large dream. And as the couple comes into the session, and begins to think about that, like, why are we here?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 17:13

 Why are we fighting for this marriage? What is it that we’re trying to create together? It gives us a direction. And I think energy follows intention. So, if we pay attention to that intention, then we can begin to build on that. It also gives me something to refer back to, when a couple is engaging in an interaction that is below.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 17:36

Anything that’s going to get them to that, I can point that out, because this is going to get you to that place of trust and respect that you told me it was so important for when I teach them a new way to be I can point down to ta tell me about the space between you right now.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 17:55

 And they say, well, it feels warm, it feels connected, it feels friendly. Oh, that sounds consistent with what you said you were here to do. So, it gives us a way to know where we’re going. And it’s really, I mean, they’re not cry when they hear the other one’s articulation of the dream. Right, it kind of takes them back to the beginning as to why they’re together in the first place.

[Jon Dabach] 18:20

Yeah, I was going to say like it was, it seems like there’s, it helps them come up with such an exciting goal to kind of move towards, as opposed to what I call just fetch therapy where they come and complain and complain, and nothing feels like it gets solved. Yeah, they might get a little bit of relief.

[Jon Dabach] 18:39

But there’s this shared and eventually, I assume, once they both share their vision of what they want, there’s a common ground and it becomes a shared goal. And so, they immediately have a sense of teamwork, that they’re kind of joined in forces with

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 18:55

light. And then the second thing we do with them is shocking, because I invite them then to have their worst conversation. So, we’ve really gone through the dream. And we know what the essence of each person is, and what they’re hoping to create, like you said, as a team or a unit.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 19:14

 But then I say we’re going to shift gears, and we’re going to have a 10 minute or 12-minute exercise where you take your toughest conversation, your worst one, the one that really gets you going, where you get triggered, where you’re not your best self, the one you can never resolve the one that just makes you are with each other. And we’re going to have it but only for 10 minutes. And when I say stop, we’re going to stop.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 19:40

We’re going to back out, we’re going to look at it differently. And you know, I say it’s not a roleplay take something that’s real for you. I don’t care what it’s about, and I really don’t even listen to the content. Because I’m watching the process. I’m watching the process.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 19:54

So, this begins to allow me in a very short period of time to cut Through sessions and sessions and sessions of convention, as you put it, because I get to see the process in the moment right there and whose energy expands? Who’s the fighter whose energy constricts? Who’s the turtle that goes in the shell and shuts down? If they do one minute of fighting and nine minutes of sitting in the sofa in silence, that I know what’s wrong here.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 20:25

 They can’t they both shut down. They can’t bring it up. If they escalate, escalate, escalate, escalate, and it begins to get louder and louder and somebody runs from the room. Well, then I know we have two fighters in the room. So, what I’m looking for there is what have these two individuals learned in their lives as children. And every year since then, what have they learned to survive? When things feel threatening to them emotionally?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 20:52

What have they learned to do? And as mammals, we don’t have that many choices, we can fight, we can flee, we can freeze, we can submit, there aren’t that many choices. And we don’t consciously choose, but we go, our brain goes to the one that has worked the best for us in our lifetime.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 21:08

So, in that 10 minute, I’m finding out about their adaptive strategies. I’m seeing where the problem in their communication and relating is, I’m learning a ton about their families of origin. And we haven’t even talked about mom and dad yet. It’s a very interesting piece of work.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 21:26

 And what’s really nice, is it’s a beautiful, strong, just juxtaposition for them. Because we were in essence, and then I say to them, this is not you, this is your survival suit. Hedy calls it the universal dance of survival. It’s what couples do all around the world at every socio-economic level, when they feel threatened by the

[Jon Dabach] 21:51

and you fall in the first session?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 21:53

Well, I do long sessions, let me just tell you that Okay, so the first session is two hours, okay? Most of my couples do come for two hours, some of them come for three, I will do the shortest, 90 minutes. And I also do all day intensives, or couples will come from nine to six, one or two days in a row. Because the work is quite structured, and each exercise is kind of built on the one before it.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 22:22

So, like when I do a weekend Couples Retreat, or I do a private intensive with a couple all day for two days. What’s beautiful about that is that we’re not stopped by the clock. You know, if there and we need to go deeper, we’ve got the time to do it.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 22:40

And we we go we I tried to balance the intention so that we go very deep, we go into childhood that we come back up to the present, we take a break, we write in notebooks, we do a little fun thing, we come back, you know, but we’ve got the time to really allow the process to happen.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 22:59

 Now I do you see a lot of couple’s week to week, 90 minutes, two hours, and that’s different, you know, because sometimes they just get a little piece of something, and then they have to go home. And hopefully they deepen it. Sometimes they undo it, we have to start over.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 23:15

 You know, so it’s a different pacing, right. And personally, I love the longer chunks of time. The work as you can imagine, John is slow, because we’re letting things really sink in. And ocean Neuroscience tells us it takes about six times longer to really metabolize your, your, your partner’s message than it does just to hear the words in your brain. So, it’s slower. And people will sometimes say why is this so slow?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 23:45

 And I say it’s not slow, it’s a tune. And attunement is what none of us got enough of as children. So, when our partner shows up, and they’re looking in our eyes, and they’re saying, tell me more, and they’ve got that eager face like you’re the yummiest thing on the face of the earth, and I can’t wait to hear more from you. Things begin to heal in our limbic brains, those memories begin to shift. So, it’s a very, in my mind, it’s unique in this way,

[Jon Dabach] 24:15

how does this change when you’re in a retreat with small groups of maybe five or six couples, and you’re not just dealing with one couple at a time.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 24:26

I do deal with one couple at a time. So, on the retreats. If I the most of them are taken as six couples, I like five some of that as a function of the house. We do it in it’s a very beautiful retreat site up in Montecito. And it has a bedroom, but I like each couple to have their own bedroom and bath.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 24:48

And I bring one assistant. So, there’s a therapist for each couple. So, the way that it’s structured, John is that we’re in a circle and I take A demonstration couple somebody volunteers to do the process with me. And so, I am working with, you know, two people facing each other and me on the side coaching, we’re all very close proximity. And I work with them while the others watch.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 25:17

Then we do some, what did you notice? What did you learn? Where are your questions, then we break off and everyone goes with their partner and an ECC T therapist to do that piece of work. Then we come back to the group, what did you learn? How did that go? What are your questions, a lot of real strong appreciation for the process.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 25:43

And and then we go into another process with a different demonstration couple than everybody breaks up and goes and does it. But nobody just goes and tries to replicate what they’ve only seen once they go with a seasoned DCCT therapist. Got it. So, in that way, it’s

[Jon Dabach] 26:02

right, but you’re still learning from the other couples, but it’s not in the classic conventional sense of a group session or anything like that.


Yeah, you learn from the other cup they learned from the other couples. And the synergy that gets created is astonishing. Like I remember the first time I did one of these retreats. It was they meet on Friday evening. They come from all over the place different walks of life, different ages, different circumstances.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 26:32

We had a couple that was premarital. We had one that had been married 50 years, we had one that was recovering from sex addiction. We had one that was pretty solid, but wanted to get better. You know, just everything. And by Sunday, the break on Sunday afternoon, I walked into the dining room and for the couples for the five couples are sitting around a table with their laptops open, pounding. What are you guys doing?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 26:58

And they said, oh, we’re buying airline tickets. One of the couples had a house in the Philippines. And they’ve known each other for two days, and we’re planning this big trip to the Philippines together. Wow, there is so much support and bonding that happens in that retreat experience.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 27:16

 And as far as I know, I’m the only one who does it this way. Some of my other ECC T colleagues, including Hedy Schleifer will do like a weekend in a hotel. But I have managed to avoid that by going to this house. Because I think it’s a more, I think it’s a deeper experience when everyone stays in the same house and eats together.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 27:45

 Because when you go to a hotel, you do the work, you’re in the conference room, times up 6pm Everybody scatters goes and has dinner on their own at restaurants sleeps in their own rooms, you know doesn’t see each other at all. But in the house, people stay up late, they sit in the jacuzzi, they meet up in the kitchen, they get up early for breakfast, we do couples yoga, we go on hikes, you know, so they’re together a lot. And I think it makes a difference. I think it’s a brilliant model.

[Jon Dabach] 28:15

To it, I mean, it sounds completely transformational. It’s like a, it’s like two years of therapy trick crammed into two days.

[Jon Dabach] 28:23

It’s a lot of therapy. And I say we go we go vertical rather than horizontal. Yeah, you can spread it out over a long period of time. But this is pretty intensive. And of course, people need some follow up and some support when they leave because it’s a lot all at once.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 28:42

And my experience is that couple’s honeymoon for a couple of weeks with the material like there literally are some chemicals, those falling in love chemicals that come on board from the retreat and from the intensives and then they start to wear off and people are gone kind of like we feel transformed. But we want to be sure we can you know, keep it up. And so, when we you know try to write in some follow up sessions for them as well.

[Jon Dabach] 29:07

Sure. Yeah, that makes sense. Just to kind of have a little bit of continuity of care there. If needed.


I’m trying to put together another one for the last weekend in march up in Montecito. And the woman who owns the house sent me pictures yesterday of the flooding that is taking place she got it awaited from this house and it was like this legit water. Yeah, so this is my this is California, right?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 29:33

So um, but you know that the current dates on my website are from March 31 through April 2 and I’m also talking to some people in Florida about possibly doing one on the east coast this spring.

[Jon Dabach] 29:47

Let’s make sure everybody has I’ll put it in the show notes but make sure everybody has that web address if you want to share it.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 29:55

Yeah, it’s mkcocharo.com

[Jon Dabach] 29:58

MK Kucera and control in case you are listening to this and not seeing it, it’s C O C H A R O So mkcocharo. And you also have some seminars or webinars for therapists who want to learn more about ECCD. Is that right?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 30:16

I do I do. I’ve done a number of these podcasts, and I’ve done some teaching, like, you know, Institute’s where people, you know, are training to be therapists, and prior to COVID, you know, that would mean getting in the car and drive into a classroom and writing on the board and everything.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 30:39

And then the only maybe silver lining in COVID, is that we all got really good on. And so, I’ve been asked to do a lot of that in the last couple of years. And invariably, at the end of an hour, two hours, or, you know, whatever it is, I’ve gotten emails saying, where can I learn more, and Hedy Schleifer is not doing any more master classes. And so, I spoke to her about it.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 31:05

 And I said, you know, you, you need to be teaching therapists how to do this work that is so beautiful, and so powerful and effective. And, you know, she just made some training videos, they’re not out yet. But she was very encouraging to help me start sharing this with other therapists.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 31:23

 And because I’ve been getting these requests for people who want more, and I have taught Mago in the past, but I really want to focus on ACC t now in my teaching, so I’m doing two free webinars. Just intro kind of teaser sort of things in February, to see you know, who shows up and whether or not they’d be interested in, in an actual externship, which I will then sell? Yeah, that’s the and, and so that is the, I’m gonna be the same

[Jon Dabach] 31:59

way the 17 from nine to noon, which is a Friday, and then you also have one on Thursday, February 23, from four to 7pm.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 32:10

We’re actually only two hours. So, 211, and four to six. But yes, those are the correct dates. And because there’ll be on Zoom, will be able, the reason I staggered them that way is because I think some East Coast and European therapists will be able to attend one and not the other because of the time difference, right?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 32:30

 There’ll be the same. So, there’s no, I, my plan is to talk a little bit about the theory as we are today and then work live for 20 or 30 minutes with a couple and then break into some chat rooms to to see what you learned and what your questions are.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 32:54

 And you know what, what it would mean to the individual therapists practice to have more training as a couple’s therapist, because honestly, John, every time people ask me what kind of work I do, and I say, I’m a couple’s therapist, I get a grown.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 33:11

Other therapist, you work with couples, like it is the hardest thing on the face of the earth. And it’s not easy if you’re not if you don’t have a relational paradigm to work from.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 33:24

 Because if you’re just you know, in therapy, we learn how to work intra psychically. With a person on the inside, and couples therapy requires inter work. The work is in the space between the two people who are there. That’s a relational paradigm. And if you haven’t been trained in one, I think couples therapy is really hard.

[Jon Dabach] 33:47

Yeah. The I saw, I saw that when I was learning. I’m a big Gottman guy. And when I did my research on Rosarian therapy and how it doesn’t work for couples therapy, and only active listening goes so far. I mean, everything I kind of, you know, ran up by my wife is over 10 years ago, and she’s like, yep, yep, that’s why I was frustrated with it.

[Jon Dabach] 34:06

And I totally hear you. I mean, I I had a startup with one of the co-founders from StubHub and I talked to over 1000 therapists and you’re spot on, most of them were like, don’t do couples don’t prefer them. If they come, I’ll take them but only if I need to, and to stay on a panel or something.

[Jon Dabach] 34:25

 It’s not it’s not embraced by the community as much as I wish it was because I feel like it’s one of those things. As as you pointed out, the way your career started it, it kind of is the crux of family systems, and you’re passing on these communication and, and different skills to children. And it’s it becomes a generational issue at that point.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 34:46

Absolutely. And we always say that the children live in the space between their parents. And so when that space is polluted, or worse, toxic that Yeah, children are growing up in this toxic place, and they don’t have a lot of power to get out of it. So, they have to adapt. And we used to call those adaptations neuroses, but it really isn’t right. They’re learning their survival suit, like what do I need to do to get through this family of origin.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 35:20

 And I think what will you know, if couples could learn how to keep that space sacred and safe, they would want to be there and be happier. But on top of that, the children that are in that space, would grow up with less need for a strong adaptive self. They could be more often in their essence, playful, joyful. So, you know, Harville Hendricks always says that Imago therapy is about healing the planet one couple at a time.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 35:52

 And there’s some truth to that, because when a couple learns how to be together, in this creative way, it spreads out all their relationships, with their children, with their bosses, with their friends everywhere. Yeah. So, there will be a tipping point where enough people have learned how to do this.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 36:15

And the world will be a more peaceful, joyful place. You know, look at, look at our, you know, the country is in our political entities, like we have no idea as people how to get along, how to be respectful, how to have passion, how to joyfully celebrate the other. We just spend all our time trying to get the other to be more like us, right?

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 36:39

There’s no we do. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, we’ve got all kinds of examples going on in the world right now. In different countries in parallel. So unbelievable. Work. It’s important work. And I just wanted to spread it out a little bit. So, I’m going to start doing these trainings.

[Jon Dabach] 37:01

I’m so excited. I’m so excited to see what happens. And there’s so much more for us to talk about. We didn’t even touch on your premarital counseling, which is all. I feel like it could be a whole other podcast. So, we might have to have you come back if you have the time. Or your time.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 37:18

Yeah, no, I appreciate that. I do a radio talk show on premarital counseling. And it is, you know, to just to piggyback on the last thing I said, it’s just an important thing to do.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 37:31

 Because too many people make the commitment at a time where they are really still under the influence of those chemicals and hormones that get going when we fall in love. And they’re going to wear off and when they were on are really here to write.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 37:48

So, it would be really nice for everyone to have some idea about how to earn that secure relationship with one another because it doesn’t, it doesn’t stay for free for all that long, as you pointed out, so it’s a part of the work I really enjoy. I do one day workshops for premarital couples and I also do a four-session package. There’s some research that shows that when couples do six hours of premarital therapy, they have 30% Less divorce.

[Mary Kay Cocharo] 38:20

Wow. So, I took that. So, I did that. I took that six-hour piece of research and broke it into four sessions. So, it’s 490-minute sessions, which adds up to six hours. And then I did a discount for premarital couples. And that’s some of my favorite work because people are still hopeful. It’s easier. Yeah,

[Jon Dabach] 38:45

that’s great. That’s great. I can’t thank you enough for your time. It was a education and a half. Again, the website is mkcocharo. That’s M K C O C H A R O whether you’re looking for counseling, I don’t know if you’re even taking on more clients at this point. Or if you want to learn more about ECC T.

[Jon Dabach] 39:04

I’m sure she’d be happy to fill in the gaps of what you’re looking for. And at least if she’s busy, she might be able to refer you out to somebody as well, I’m sure. Thank you so much.

[Jon Dabach] 39:16

I really appreciate it was it was wonderful talking to you.


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