Newswise — “I’m sorry” doesn’t always end couple conflict in a satisfying way. Often something more is needed, an expression in words or actions that speaks to and “corrects” the underlying experience of one or both partners.

Dr. Aaron Cooper, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, is available to comment on how the right words and actions can often exceed — without necessarily precluding — the value of an apology in effectively resolving conflict.

“There are two kinds of underlying experience characterize much couple conflict: The first is when we perceive threat from a partner — when power or authority is flaunted in a way designed to stifle us, to demonstrate how wrong we are, to scold and belittle us,” explains Dr. Cooper. “The second underlying experience is when we perceive neglect — when a partner’s actions or words send a message of indifference.”

Dr. Cooper earned his doctorate from Loyola University of Chicago, following a three-year internship at the Loyola Guidance Clinic. Prior to that, he received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) from Harvard University.

To speak to Dr. Cooper about the value of an apology in effectively resolving conflict, or to learn more about The Family Institute, please contact Cyndi Schu, Director of Public Relations, at [email protected] or 312-609-5300, ext. 483.

ABOUT THE FAMILY INSTITUTE AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY –The Family Institute at Northwestern University ( is committed to strengthening and healing families and individuals from all walks of life through clinical service, education and research. An affiliate of Northwestern University, The Family Institute is a unique, innovative mental health system, governed by its own independent Board of Directors and responsible for its own funding. The Institute offers a wide range of high quality mental health counseling through our staff practice and our sliding-fee scale Bette D. Harris Family and Child Clinic, where we are committed to serving at-risk, under-resourced communities. The Family Institute also operates two nationally-renowned graduate programs in marriage and family therapy and counseling psychology in affiliation with Northwestern University, and conducts cutting-edge research projects that lead to a better understanding and treatment of mental health issues.