How to train your brain for better dates — and sex

If things aren’t working out in your love life, maybe it’s about time you saw a doctor.

A New York City psychologist is using a special kind of therapy to help her clients take charge of their bad dating habits and find love.

Elizabeth Cohen, Ph.D., has been using cognitive behavioral therapy with her clients for 15 years. The therapy, which is more broadly used to treat anxiety-related issues, identifies a patient’s more destructive thoughts, assumptions and behaviors and, with the help of the therapist, corrects them. About 12 years ago, Cohen found that the therapy’s principles were just as useful for her clients who were frustrated with their dating prospects and needed help figuring out what they wanted in a relationship.

or example, a lot of singles may assume their dates are going to reject them, perhaps because of past experiences. Negative assumptions like this are called cognitive biases, and fixating on them tends to distract people from the more encouraging parts of a date, like flirtation, Cohen says. This can result in behaviors that are real turn-offs to romantic interests.

“We want to bring our cognitive biases [into] our awareness, so we can understand how they’re impacting us and make different choices,” says Cohen.

She says she’s helped about 15 of her clients find love using this technique. Their success inspired her to host an eight-hour workshop for single people on April 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (for more information go to The cost of the NYC workshop is $500, but here, Cohen offers some free tips:

Know what you want

Think of a date like a job interview, and consider whether the person is someone you’d enter a long-term business arrangement with.

“Knowing your behavioral and emotional goals is the first step of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, because you need to identify behavior you want to modify,” Cohen says.

Breathe before you text

Before you pick up your iPhone, consider about what you’d like to communicate to a potential partner, instead of trying to predict what he’ll say back.

“It’s difficult to … write a text that is really what you feel and not what you think will get the response you want,” Cohen says. But it’s crucial. “Authenticity is the key to a healthy relationship.”

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