Safety

Couples Therapy – Helps Break the Fight Cycle and Restore Connection

A fight cycle might look like: “If they would just not get so emotional and critical, we would get somewhere” | “Well, if they would talk more and not just shut down, we would get somewhere.”  We need to feel connected, yet our fight cycles disconnect us and push us farther apart. Our loved one (partner, parent, sibling, or close friend) can be our shelter in life. According to Dr. Sue Johnson, when this person is unavailable and unresponsive, we are assailed by a tsunami of emotions — sadness, anger, hurt and above all, fear.

Fight Cycle

This fear is wired in. Being able to rely on a loved one, to know that they will answer our call is our innate survival code. Research is clear, when we sense that a primary love relationship is threatened, we go into a primal  panic.

Couples therapy helps you find a way out of the cycle and into deeper, more meaningful communications and ways of relating to each other.

If “Violent” means acting in ways that result in hurt or harm, then much of how we communicate could be called “violent”

Dr Marshall Rosenberg wrote that language and communication skills that

strengthen our ability to remain human,

even under trying conditions, is the basis for transforming our relationships,

and of course, our lives.

 

 

Words are Windows, by Ruth Bebermeyer

I feel so sentenced by your words,

I feel so judged and sent away,

Before I go I’ve got to know

Is that what you meant to say?

 

Before I rise to my defense,

Before I speak in hurt or fear,

Before I build a wall of word,

Tell me, did I really hear?

 

Words are windows, or they can be walls,

They sentence us, or set us free.

When I speak and when I hear,

Let the love light shine through me.

 

There are things I need to say,

Things that mean so much to me,

If my words don’t make me clear,

Will you help me to be free?

 

If I seemed to put you down,

If you felt I didn’t care,

Try to listen through my words,

To the Feelings that we share.

Couples: Does the same argument keep happening?

imagesWhen couples argue about issues like household duties, child-rearing, sex or money, the origins of these arguments are often some form of protest from one partner about not feeling connected, not trusting, or not feeling safe or secure with the other partner. When those we are attached to are not available, or are not responding to our needs to feel close or supported, we feel distressed. We may become angry or demanding, anxious or fearful, numb or distant.

These behaviors can become habitual modes of reacting to our partners which goes on in negative cycles causing  pain, injury and despair. Couples often come into therapy feeling defeated and wondering if their relationship might be irreparable. However, couples therapy focuses on these patterns (or cycles) and aims to  change these negative interaction cycles into positive ones in a non-judgmental empathetic environment. Gradually, couples begin to recognize and eventually express their needs for love, support, protection and comfort that are often hidden or disguised by the harsh words used in arguments with each other.

Once feelings of connection are re-established, couples are better able to manage conflict and the painful feelings that will inevitably arise from time to time in a close relationship

Ever wonder why therapy works?

Ever wonder …Why does therapy work?

When most of us start seeing a therapist, we are seeking solutions to something or help with a particular person/issue or support during a difficult life transition. What makes therapy work is the honoring of your unique and precious path that only you can walk and share with others. In therapy, the time is devoted solely to your healing and growth.

By attuning to your path, a therapist can gently support you as you explore ways to bring you closer to your authentic self. Therapy provides support as you find your way through stressors. Therapy works because you have found a safe place to invite every emotion, without judgment. Staying curious, open and present, the atmosphere for healing and solution-finding arises.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than a quarter of American adults experience depression, anxiety or another mental disorder in any given year. Others need help coping with a serious illness, losing weight or stopping smoking. Still others struggle to cope with relationship troubles, job loss, the death of a loved one, stress, substance abuse or other issues. And these problems can often become debilitating.

Psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a therapist. Grounded in dialogue, it provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who’s objective, compassionate and nonjudgmental. You and your therapist can collaborate  to identify and change the thought and behavior patterns that are keeping you from feeling your best.

By the time you’re done, you will not only have solved the problem that brought you in, but you will have learned new skills so you can better cope with whatever challenges arise in the future.