Terry Real

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  • CAMFT's 2022 annual conference
    Friday, May 20, 2022 | UCLA Luskin Conference Center
  • CAMFT's 2022 annual conference
    In-person on Friday, May 20, 2022, and on-demand!

Terry Real, LICSWTerry Real, LICSW

Terry Real is a nationally recognized family therapist, author, and teacher. He is particularly known for his groundbreaking work on men and male psychology as well as his work on gender and couples; he has been in private practice for over thirty years. Terry has appeared often as the relationship expert for Good Morning America and ABC News. His work has been featured in numerous academic articles as well as media venues such as Oprah, 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today and many others.

In 1997 he published the national bestseller: I Don't Want To Talk About It, the first book ever written on the topic of male depression. That was followed by How Can I Get Through To You? an exploration of the role of patriarchy in relationships and most recently, The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work, a practical guide for couples and couples therapists.

Terry founded The Relational Life Institute in Massachusetts, dedicated to working with the general population to help women reclaim their voices and men open their hearts. The Institute offers a training program for therapists as well as workshops for couples and individuals.

For more information on his work, please visit his website, www.terryreal.com.

"The Healing Power of US: Teaching Couples to Live Relationally"
This is a recorded presentation and will be available in the On-Demand Library


The toxic culture of individualism and patriarchy rests on the delusions that we stand apart from nature and in control of it. Whether the ‘nature’ we are trying to control is our partner, our kids, our bodies (I must lose 10 pounds) or our own minds (I must be less negative).

Our autonomic nervous system scans our bodies 4 times a second “am I safe?”, “am I safe?”, “am I safe?”, “am I safe?” If the answer is ‘yes, I feel safe’, we remain seated in the wise adult part of ourselves, our prefrontal cortex. We remember the whole, the relationship. But when the answer is ‘no, I feel in danger’, we shift into subcortical parts of the brain, knee jerk automatic responses in which we see the world as a zero sum, I win, you lose power struggle.

In heated moments we lose the wisdom of us. We need to equip our clients to cultivate the ongoing practice of ‘relational mindfulness.’ Shifting from you and me consciousness into the centered adult parts of ourselves. Remembering love—that the person we are speaking to is someone we care about and not the enemy. This is the critical first step, the first skill from which all other skills depend.

Once we equip our clients to think ecologically and relationally, all of the terms change. For example, the relational answer to the question of who is right and who is wrong, is who cares? The real question is how are you and I going to work on this as a team? Come learn how to help people deal with their own trauma effectively triggering and not inflict it on their families to deal with.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding the tri part system of the psyche: wise adult, adaptive child, wounded child.
  • Understanding the neurobiological underpinnings of trauma adaptation and recovery.
  • Equipping our clients to use their relationships as crucibles for their own transformation.
  • How to give our clients a relational map and tool kit, a relational technology, that has the power to deliver on our new romantic ambitions.

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