How I developed Decision Triangle Solutions
Growing up in suburban Northern Connecticut by Ukrainian post WWII immigrant parents, I learned how interpersonal relationships help people survive the various hardships of life. As I studied laboratory methods in Biology while in high school and college at the University of Rochester, I developed critical thinking skills and how to formulate my observations into research. I went on to study how interpersonal relationships interact with a person’s ability to cope with stress at Long Island University where I developed the Marital Coping Inventory as part of earning my Master’s Degree. The Marital Coping Inventory is a self-report checklist of behaviors a person says they do in response to something “less than ideal” about their spouse. It is a validated measure and is able to predict distressed couples as well as depressed individuals. I continued this research at Fairleigh Dickinson University where I received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and that is where I realized that studying interpersonal coping was much more complex than I had originally had thought, and certainly much harder to assess than by simply using a self-report measure.
I went on to study interpersonal relationships by taking classes at The Ackerman Institute for Family and completing a two-year intensive family training program at the Multicultural Family Institute. I also received continuing education training in a variety of other treatment modalities including: EMDR, DBT, CBT, and Motivational Interviewing, and learned to treat a variety of clinical conditions: trauma, addiction, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, dementia and end-of-life issues, panic, anxiety, and OCD. I applied what I learned to treat new mothers and their babies, children, adolescents, adults, and older adults and their families. To me this was all stress and coping, and always I focused not only on how I as a therapist can help someone resolve their presenting issues but also how can I help people establish healthy relationships with others. I found that helping create a healthy interpersonal environment maintained progress made beyond the therapy setting. I went back to what I learned in my childhood and throughout my personal life: healthy relationships can help people cope with whatever hardship a person experiences.
Over the 25 years since I left graduate school, I’ve expanded on my initial research on the interpersonal coping process and have developed Decision Triangle Solutions , an approach to help improve the quality of a connection between two people based on healthy conflict resolution. This approach combines elements from Bowen’s Family System’s Theory, Motivational Interviewing, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as other clinical approaches to teach two individuals how to resolve disagreements in a healthy way and to develop true mutual understanding so that the couple can find appropriate problem-solving strategies. The basic idea behind the techniques of Decision Triangle Solutions is: conflict, if resolved correctly, is an opportunity to bring two people together.