- At October 23, 2014
- By Allan
- In Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) in Marriage counseling & couples therapy, Conflict, Dialectical behavior therapy in couples counseling and marriage therapy, Difficult Emotions, Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) with Couples, Empathy and Vulnerability, Healing after an Affair, NEW BABY - NEW PARENTS, Relationship physiology
Some interesting thoughts on making a relationship and marriage last in this article in Men’s Health magazine
Worth a look…
About 4000 years ago, Lao Tzu spoke about the Law of Reversed Effort. The more we try to push something away, the bigger and more threatening it becomes. This speaks loudly to the experience of Anxiety. The more we try to avoid, duck and push away, the bigger it grows.
This is where Acceptance comes in – Mindful Acceptance is central to Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT)
- At July 08, 2013
- By Allan
- In Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) in Marriage counseling & couples therapy, Conflict, Dialectical behavior therapy in couples counseling and marriage therapy, Difficult Emotions, Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) with Couples, Empathy and Vulnerability, NEW BABY - NEW PARENTS
Our brains love and crave the familiar.
We so easily slip into automatic pilot, habitual ways of looking and making sense and reacting to our experience. Once in a while, we actually show up to the present … And before we know it, we’ve lived a life and barely shown up for it at all.
- At July 08, 2013
- By Allan
- In Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) in Marriage counseling & couples therapy, Dialectical behavior therapy in couples counseling and marriage therapy, Difficult Emotions, Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) with Couples, Empathy and Vulnerability, Relationship physiology
Dan Siegel speaks about the value of Mindfulness practice. A bit like flossing the brain.
The EFT therapy approach provides down-to-earth, practical and often, transformative alternatives for couples.
This mystery of love, this mixture of sex and emotion – what happens in relationships that we are swept to the heights of passion and delight, to anxiety and anger, shame and rage.
EFT draws on contemporary research and findings and is enriched by understandings from interpersonal neurobiology.
It’s so much easier to believe that we are right – and that our partner is wrong. Indeed, this is the basis for so much struggle in relationship: I’m right (and therefore one up) and you are wrong (and one down). Most of the issues which couples argue over have many perspectives – most issues have many shades of opinion and that evidence can be gathered to support these many different positions on any issue.
The key lies in being able to let go of our attachment “to being right” and opening to listen to the other.
A worthwhile TED talk by Kathryn Schulz …. “On being wrong..”
I invite you to take some time (with your partner or alone) and listen …
I strongly recommend you read Judith Viorst’s “Grown-Up Marriage” (2003) – as a gift to your relationship, yourself and your family .
The book offers a fresh look at way in which the illusions and mirages which we all too easily hold onto shape our expectations – and can get in the way, suffocating our relationship. Letting go of these illusions, we adjust our expectations. Judith Viorst puts it like this:
“But if we imagine that marriage is where we can let it hang out day after day while continuing to excite and delight in each other, we are mistaken. If we imagine that marriage is where we can bitch, burp, snicker and snipe day after day without paying a price, we are wrong. We’re indulging in a fantasy of unearned, effortless love, the love an infant seeks from a perfect mommy. We are indulging in a fantasy that has little to do with love in a grown-up marriage.”
Indeed, deepening friendship and trust takes work – dedicated work over time. In a grown-up marriage, we come to tolerate each other’s limitations and imperfections. We aren’t our partner’s parent, teacher, editor, supervisor or home-improvement project. We don’t always have to be in love with each other – indeed we come to realize that we can’t always be in love with each other. But “a grown up marriage enables us, when we fall out of love with each other, to stick around, until we fall back in”.
Sometimes it can be difficult to go it alone. Nor do you need to. Support and skill-learning can make an enormous differences.
I invite you to check out the resources we have available at the Couples Training Institute, specifically the research-based approaches which are easily learned and practiced over time.
You’ll be glad you did…
There’s a lot of talk these days about “Work – Life” balance – the idea that work and the rest of one’s life need to be in balance for optimal well-being.
In his book “The three marriages”, David Whyte, best selling author, poet, and speaker talks about three crucial relationships, or marriages, in our lives: the marriage or partnership with a significant other, the commitment we have to our work, and the vows, spoken or unspoken, we make to an inner, constantly developing and always growing self.
In The Three Marriages, Whyte argues that it is not possible to sacrifice one relationship for the others without causing deep psychological damage. Too often, he says, we fracture our lives and split our energies foolishly, so that one or more of these marriages is sacrificed and may wither and die, in the process impoverishing them all. We give up our connection to self and marriage as we lose touch, drowning in over-work. Or we lose what we desperately long for in a marriage, connection to our partner as one becomes lost in self-absorption.
Whyte provides us with different way of seeing and connecting these relationships and prompts us to examine each marriage with a fierce but affectionate eye as he shows us the importance of cherishing all three equally.
An exceptional book – well worth a read and hugely relevant to a thriving couples relationships and marriage.
Our vulnerability to hurt can have roots in the experience of shame – a powerful emotion which can be toxic in relationship. Listening to these narratives of hurt and wounding calls for an attitude of great compassion and friendliness towards one self. This is not the time for harsh judgment…
I invite you to listen to this talk below…
Brene Brown gives another TED talk and goes to the heart of the matter.
“I seem to be worried all the time, kind of anxious”
“The smallest things get me really worried – like I’m even dreading the weekend”
” I feel tense a lot and worry about stuff being physically wrong with me”
“I worry about my thinking and feeling anxious all the time”
Some people really sweat the small stuff to the extent that everyday little things – or nothing at all – can really trigger worry, sometimes dread and even physical symptoms. Steve would complain that he felt that there was something “wierd” going on in his body and that something “unexpected and bad” was always “ready” to happen. Julie found it hard to relax with her children and always had long “to do” lists which triggered constant anxiety. Cheryl felt like she had to keep busy, dreaded down time and constantly worried about her children’s well-being while at school.
The feeling that this experience of anxiety is pervasive and happening a lot or most of the time across many situations is often called a generalized anxiety disorder. A few things research tells us:
1) Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD affects people of all ages & most people are affected between childhood and middle age;
2) Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) affects woman twice more often than men;
3)Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) often can occur with increased irritability, low energy, disturbed sleep and restlessness;
4)Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) often occurs with and increase in headaches and muscular tension;
5)Increased stress contributes to the levels of Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD);
6)Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD) can also occur with other symptoms like depression, other anxiety disorders and substance abuse.
Mindfulness meditation and Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) can be powerful and effective tools for working with anxiety disorders including Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD).
Also somatic or body-centered approaches like Yoga and regular aerobic exercise can increase stress reduction in powerful ways.
And what, after all, is anxiety … and what causes it?
Take a look at what the NY