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The Relationship Dance

Sue Johnson, the world’s leading couples therapist and researcher talks about intimate relationship as a ‘dance that shapes and recreates the dancers’.

Relationship is about relating; ‘It’s a dance of synchrony requiring partners to improvise and tune in to each other’.

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For entertainment we watch movies where brilliant actors talk and pick up each other’s flawless cues.

They respond perfectly. Dreamily. Lovingly. That’s why we pay them $20 million a picture, after all.

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Sometimes Hope is Enough

I imagine some couples glide thru life and wake up cheerful every day. They agree on most issues, share everything, and use their energy in a perfectly harmonious division of duties. I’ve never met one of those couples but movies and magazines want us to believe they’re out there somewhere.

More human and more admirable is the couple who – when things are stressful – stumbles and struggles to find ways to reach for each other without blaming or defending, winning or losing. Those partners look for ways to understand and support. They lean into each other when the need is urgent; talk, hold hands or sit silently letting the other know ‘I’m here for you.’ That kind of warmth and reassurance takes courage especially when others would give up and walk away.

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Putting On a Show

I’m not sure it even has a name but the term couples use most often is ‘Putting On a Show.”

When it happens, it’s discouraging and misunderstood.

No one plans to argue in the car, then walk into an event as the ‘Perfect Couple’ and then resume the argument the moment you walk out the door.

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It makes sense that you would want to show your best side to others; neighbors, friends, family and sometimes – perfect strangers.

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Can I Be Sure?

05-24-15ArticleIntimate partners who want to spend a lifetime together usually profess unconditional love.

They long for it too – wanting certainty and affirmative answers to questions like:

  • Are you in?
  • Can I count on you?
  • Will you be there for me when I need you?

Problem is, certainty is binary and requires 100%.

Open / Closed
Up / Down
On / Off
In / Out

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3 Steps To Turning Your Relationship Right Side Up – Again

04-19-15articleAll long-term relationships have challenges and every now and then things can approach a tipping point. That’s a red flag – it’s time to reflect, take action and turn things right side up again.

People rarely want to leave their relationship. Most people want to figure things out. They want to make things better.

People ask; Is this possible? Can this / will this work? And mostly, the answer is YES!

When you’re looking for professional help it’s important to be an informed consumer. Approach the decision together; thoughtfully and collaboratively.

Here are three simple steps to guide you through the process of making a choice that is good for you AND good for your relationship:

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Uh Oh! Here We Go Again

03-08-15ArticleYou know it’s coming. The dreaded argument. Not with anyone but with the person you love the most in the world.

It’s happened before and it’s happening again.

Something’s triggered your internal alarm system.

Maybe it’s the way s/he moves, a tone of voice, a facial expression.

It can be as subtle as a single word.

It’s real. It’s powerful. It feels like a trap. Sometimes it feels like quicksand and you vow not to get sucked in. Not this time.

But before you finish the thought – it touches a raw spot in you the size of Texas.

In one split second everything inside collapses or bubbles up in frustration, confusion and anger.

This moment of vulnerability is in all of us and we will do just about anything to avoid it; ignore, get busy, leave, defend, work late – build walls around our hearts.

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