Relationships and interpersonal connections are the foundation of our lives. Research has shown that the happiness a person feels is in direct correlation to their most intimate relationships. Being in an intimate relationship is life affirming, yet most of us were never taught how to do it in a conscious, functional way.
the art of love
We all come to relationships with our own core wounds. Your love partner can actually be a mirror and guide you on your path to personal growth. Couples that come to counseling are usually caught in gridlock issues and often blame and shame their partner.
When couples come to therapy the first thing I have them do is take an in depth questionnaire that assesses exactly where their strengths and weaknesses lie. I also have them take an attachment quiz so that we can understand their conditioned relational patterns.
each couple has their own unique issues, however, there are certain goals that we work towards to improve the quality of the relationship:
- Move couple from gridlock to healthy dialogue on perpetual issues
- Teach couple how to repair ruptures in their connection and how to de-escalate fights.
- Explain The 4 Horseman (Gottman, 2014). These behaviors when consistently engaged in contribute to the demise of the relationship. Couples will learn them and their antidotes:
Criticism – Instead what you are longing for
Contempt – Create culture of appreciation
Defensiveness – Accepting some responsibility
Stonewalling – Self soothe and stay connected
- Work with couple on accepting influence from each other and the Art of Compromise
- Teach each partner how to approach each other when one of them has an issue.
- Build a friendship base and a couple bubble to create a rich bank account of positive connections so that each partner feels safe and secure.
- Deal with the dynamics underlying the behavior and conflict, the deeper feelings such as fear or abandonment and lack of trust.
- Explain the importance of understanding and respecting each other’s inner world of thoughts and feelings.