Deb and Nao discuss the importance of emotional connection in relationships, some of the roadblocks, and how Emotionally Focused Therapy can help couples navigate emotions successfully. Check out their Podcast.
Part of Emotionally Focused Therapy is helping partners talk to each in a new and refreshing way. As therapists, we work to help people move from reactivity to vulnerability and tenderness in their communication. Accessing the underlying feelings that fuel conflict brings new meaning to understanding another behavior and draws partners closer together rather than apart.
I ran across this today. It resonated. Therefore, I am sharing it. A poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
What is success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a better place, whether by healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived,
This is to have succeeded.
How can couples enhance sexual intimacy? Barry and Emily McCarthy (sex therapists) and Sue Johnson (relationship and bonding expert) will tell you the core of sexual intimacy is feeling psychologically and emotionally connected and valued. Listen to this great podcast to find out how to deepen your love and sexual connection.
This is Fiachra Figs O'Sullivan, San Fransisco therapist, and his wife sharing about their cycle (or their fighting pattern) and how to repair it. It is humorous, honest and insightful. I really loved listening to them!
No one gets through life without being hurt by another person. We all have experienced the pain of a thoughtless remark, gossip, or lie. If you have experienced an unhappy marriage, the devastation of infidelity, or suffered physical or emotional abuse, you know what it feels like to be hurt. It is tempting to hold on to these feelings and build a wall of safety around yourself, but the best way to heal is to forgive the person who hurt you. I love this quote perhaps because it speaks to the process of forgiveness. “We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” - Sam Keen, from To Love and Be Loved
What Is Forgiveness?
When you forgive another person, you no longer allow their behavior to cause you anger, pain, bitterness, or resentment. When you choose not to forgive, you make the choice to hold on to your feelings of resentment, anger, and pain.
Why Should I Forgive?
Think of forgiveness as a gift that you give to yourself. It is not something you do for the person who hurt you. It is a gift to yourself because it enables you to stop feeling painful feelings and pushing others away. Forgiveness frees you from anger and allows you to restore your ability to have close and satisfying relationships with others.
Anger is a poisonous emotion that comes from being hurt. When you are consumed with anger and bitterness, it hurts you at least as much as it hurts the person who has harmed you. It is as if you are filled with poison. If these feelings are not resolved, they can begin to eat you up inside. You have two choices: to stay connected to the person who hurt you by keeping these poisonous feelings alive, or to let the feelings go and forgive the person who harmed you. When you withhold forgiveness, think about who is actually being hurt. It is more than likely that the person who is filled with anger and anxiety is you, not the other person.
What Forgiveness Is Not
Forgiving another does not mean you will never again feel the pain or remember the thing that hurt you. The hurtful experience will be in your memory forever. By forgiving, you are not pretending the hurtful behavior never happened. It did happen. The important thing is to learn from it while letting go of the painful feelings.
Forgiveness is not about right or wrong. It doesn’t mean that the person’s behavior was okay. You are not excusing their behavior or giving permission for the behavior to be repeated or continued.
When you forgive another, it does not mean you wish to continue your relationship with them. This is a separate decision. You can forgive a person and live your life apart from them.
Forgiveness can only take place because we have the ability to make choices. This ability is a gift that we can use it whenever we wish. We have the choice to forgive or not to forgive. No other person can force us to do either.
Professional counselors will tell you that one of the most important relationship skills they teach is active listening. Often people get into trouble in their relationships because they have not developed their ability to listen and communicate. However, one can learn to step out of reactivity and listen deeply and lovingly. This is a great gift to self and to family and friends.
Barriers to Effective Communication
There are some good reasons why many people are less-than-effective communicators. These are the most common reasons:
• Lack of skill; not knowing how
• Not taking the time to think through what one wants to say
• Not taking the time to anticipate what another person might be thinking and feeling
• Fear of revealing too much of oneself
• Being afraid of another person’s anger
• Not wanting to hurt another person’s feelings
Four Key Listening Skills
Listening skills are the building blocks of effective communication. These skills enable you to demonstrate that you are interested in what the other person has to say, as well as hearing and understanding the other person. Four key listening skills are open-ended questions, summary statements, reflective statements, and neutral questions and phrases. They are easy to learn with a little practice.
Open-ended questions begin with what, why, how do, or tell me.
Yeah. Unfortunately, it is a real thing. People are scared, confused, outraged, and very divided. Regardless of which party or candidate you support anxiety is up for everyone. Before the debate last night I found myself thinking, "What are they going to say? Will it upset me? Will it separate me even more from those I know who feel differently about the issues and candidates than I? Why can't we dialogue about this in a sensible manner? Oh yuck. I don't like this." I am guessing I was not alone in my thoughts and feelings. So, to address this anxiety, I am posting a blog on coping with political anxiety posted by another Emotionally Focused Therapist. Click here as it is worth a read. It is called "The Antidote to Political Yuck." I hope it helps to provide some coping strategies during this stressful time.
Jim Thomas, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy Trainer, talks about EFT, relationships, technology and staying connected in our modern busy world. Really nice podcast on relationships. Click here to listen.
Bill's first conversation with Jim Thomas, is the second-most popular Conscious Couples Conversation since its inception. In today's podcast, Jim Thomas talks about how so many couples seem to have lost their way, and he reveals the benefits of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) sessions and intensives.
Jim Thomas is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He has served as President of the Colorado Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and Director of the Colorado Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy or EFT – which learned from its creator, Sue Johnson. Jim’s work focuses on helping people to be more fully aware and engaged in their lives - allowing deeper connection with others and a richer life.
In August I will celebrate practicing yoga for eight years. As a result of this practice, I have received many emotional and physical benefits. I feel strong, alert and calm during and after I practice. I have also met a lot of really nice people. As I get older, practicing is not always easy but it is always rewarding. Technology is getting better and anecdotal evidence regarding the benefits of yoga is now documented by research. Very cool to know the science behind what I feel. Here is a great video from uplift connect.com showing the science behind yoga. One study has shown yoga helps decrease depression and anxiety. What good news for sufferers of these maladies! Hope you enjoy this clip.
Psychotherapist and Relationship Specialist