Power Dynamics in Intimate and Sexual Relationships

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CE Credit: 3

Length: 3 hours

Exam Items: 10

Closed captioning and transcript are provided with this webcast.

Every intimate relationship involves power dynamics. People run into trouble when they use power unconsciously, or to manipulate. We see people use power defensively, creating distance, inducing guilt or confusion—while denying they’re doing so.

This workshop will examine how adults use power—and how we can help clients see and change their dynamics. We’ll discuss how chronic conflict about particular topics, such as parenting, money, or sex, is often an unacknowledged struggle over power. Power struggles can also erupt when couples won’t talk about their contrasting value systems or relationship goals. We’ll look at several examples of how power struggles may unravel, including infidelity, pornography and household chores—and effective clinical responses. Original webcast date: Mar. 23, 2017.

Learning Objective 1
Examine how to assess the power dynamics in a relationship.

Learning Objective 2
Discuss the chronic relationship conflict from a power dynamics perspective.

Learning Objective 3
Explain how to teach couples to make and keep clear agreements.

Presenter: Marty Klein, PhD


Dr. Klein has been a California Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist for 35 years, working with men, women, and couples. His Silicon Valley practice specializes in high-tech engineers, designers, executives, and ancillary professionals like attorneys and venture capitalists. He is the award-winning author of seven books on sexuality and relationships, including the ground-breaking Sexual Intelligence. Psychology Today simply says “To improve your sex life, buy this book.” His newest book is “His Porn, Her Pain: Confronting America’s PornPanic With Honest Talk About Sex.” He is frequently quoted by popular media such as The New York Times, National Public Radio, and The Daily Show. His blog is frequently cited as a source of innovative thinking about sexuality, culture, politics, and the media.

Supplementary Materials

  • Presentation PowerPoint Slides (pdf)