Has it been a while since you’ve have been thinking to go to couple therapy — and, really, who doesn’t? — but are thinking about what to expect, you can now insert your headphones for a podcast preview. There’s a show dedicated to almost any relational issue: the effects of 24-7 technology, unforeseen consequences of 50/50 parenting, the intricacies of polyamory.Perhaps the most highly sold is Esther Perel’s “Where Should We Begin?” — which since May 2017 has straightforwardly let its audience listen to actual couples therapy sessions.
“I have always thought that what happens in this room is like the Dostoyevsky novels,” Perel, 60, said of her private practice. The couples on her podcast have applied to work with her and agreed to be taped.
Currently streaming as an Audible audiobook and arriving on iTunes later this spring, Season 3 (“The Arc of Love”) records a queue of relationships at different stages, from “nascent love to small-town affairs to mother/child to happily divorced.” It also consists of the unconventional couple told by Perel they’ll be better off as friends. “Once you hear what happened there, you will understand what could lead me to make such a statement, which I make very, very cautiously,” she said.
A celebrity of her field, consulted on the television show “The Affair,” where Perel appears to have inspired an entire genre of podcasts. You just have to type “couples therapy” or “marriage therapy” into your phone’s podcast app search function, and they’ll pop up, many with bewildering similar names.
“Podcasts reach people in a specific way; you can get deeper than you can in an article or a book,” said Ellyn Bader, who founded the Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California, in 1984 with her husband, Peter Pearson, along with whom she has written many books.
Bader doesn’t host any program yet, but has been a guest on other people’s shows. “What has surprised me is how many people have called me after who have heard it,” she said. “People are listening and are being affected.”
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