I was surfing around the web and came across resources for Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. I was pretty impressed and wanted to pass along these resources.
While watching the videos I realized that what I do in relationship counseling is very similar to what Rosenberg does with tribes and warring groups. I help couples and families get to and communicate what is at the heart of the matter. I do this by facilitating the expression of deep human needs within each person that are not being met in the relationship. This often promotes empathy and connection and dissolves anger.
After thinking about how similar Nonviolent Communication was to Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples and Families, my mind moved to its application to current events. It made me think of the Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin tragedy and how differently it all may have gone down if this way of thinking and interacting were promoted in our county. I felt sad knowing our country promotes ideas like "standing your ground " over empathic non-judgmental listening. The videos are long but worth a listen and a reflection. YouTube has tons more as well.
According to National Institute of Health, Major Depressive Disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults. This is about 7% of the population age 18 or older. When you add in Dysthymic Disorder or Persistent Depressive Disorder, chronic low grade depression that does not quite fit the bill for major depression, the percentage of sufferers goes up to almost 9%. My guess is that there are many people limping around with chronic low grade depression who don't really even know they are suffering. So maybe the percentage is even a bit higher? I do not know. But it is alarming to me that almost 10% of the United States is struggling with a very painful set of symptoms we call depression. The NIH notes the signs and symptoms as follows:
These symptoms are nothing to take lightly. They can be debilitating and even cause disability. It is not completely clear what causes depression, but it appears when looking at brain scans of a depressed person that they look different from a non-depressed person's. As with many things in life, depression is probably initiated by a combination of interacting factors and systems including genes, biology, environment (stress and trauma), and psychology (inner thoughts and views of self, perception and sense of purpose and meaning). Many illnesses, including thyroid disorders, cause depressive symptoms.
Until recently, nobody really considered the impact our relationships have on our mood and maybe even our brains. This is changing. Researchers such as Jim Coan, Ph.D., Sue Johnson, Ed.D, Wayne Denton, M.D., and others are all looking into this. It appears that relationships and attachments can greatly affect our moods and life, and improving them may help decrease depression. It is exciting to me to know that we have one more option (traditional options are medication and/or individual counseling) to offer people as part of the basic treatment plan for those suffering from depression: family, couple, or relationship counseling.
For more information check out this great article by Russell Collins: Are Relationships the New Prozac?
Good relationships and social support are nature's antidepressants. Who knew? Deep down inside, I think we all did . . . and do.
I think most couples can relate to this humorous video. It reminded me not only of the importance of empathy but of the importance of embracing and accepting personal and gender differences. And hey, maybe it sometimes really is about the nail. Enjoy!
In every interaction we have with our partner there is the opportunity to heal. I guess that is truly what love is, a dynamic powerful healing agent. We, especially partners, are deeply connected and attached to each other. Science tells us that the way we communicate can impact each other's brains, for good or for ill. I guess we can build each other up or tear one another down. I image just like me, you too desire to do good. In this video, we get some tools for creating and maintaining love and secure attachment.
The 4 Mantras:
1. Darling, I am here for you.
2. Darling, I know you are there.
3. Darling, I know you suffer and that is why I am here for you.
4. Darling, I suffer. I do my best to practice. Please help.
Listen to this great video for a deeper understanding and advice on how to love.
Depression is a serious problem affecting many people. Having a supportive and loving spouse, in my opinion can help in recovery. I want to say I think depression is complex and probably caused by many factors. Relationship quality perhaps being one possible factor affecting the sufferer. NPR notes some research around this. Something to reflect upon.
Stuff in the News You May Find Interesting Relating to Mental Health, Family, and Relationships from our FB page . . .
NPR report on new Mental Health Diagnostic Bible.
Those with alcohol dependence may be more sensitive.
Long Term Relationships.
Mindfulness and cancer recovery.
Early Relationships key to happiness in life.
Just this past weekend I attended a training conference on using emotionally focused therapy with families. It was awesome. At the conference, they showed this YouTube video. It looks at families going through the teens plus years. Very moving. More on Emotionally Focused Family Therapy later. For now I will say it is a great model based on healing the attachment and care giving systems in families.
Content: Virginia Nielsen MA LPC NCC; Ben Taussig MA LPC NCC; Vanessa Wray Williams MA LPC NCC
Video: Steve Nielsen, Metropolitan MultiMedia
Music: Brandi Carlisle, "Pride and Joy" (Give Up the Ghost, 2009)
Since April I have been doing a small class for therapists once a month introducing them to Emotionally Focused Therapy or EFT. I do not really consider myself a teacher but felt I wanted to be a part of spreading the good news about EFT. I love EFT and helping couples come together using it. I see couples go from distress and disconnection to peace and connection with each other. It is a joy to see this healing take place and I really wanted to show other therapists how to do this. It has been fun teaching others this therapy. So, what exactly is Emotionally Focused Therapy?
Why is marriage so stressful at times? And how can we prevent a marriage from going bad or rescue one that already has? After 40 years of research, John Gottman, Ph.D. has answered these questions. Here is what he says:
Taken from: http://www.strengthenyourrelationship.com/
by Dr. Nicastro
1. Couples need to set up a clear boundary around their relationship—this boundary involves saying “no” to the influences that can undermine your relationship.
2. Healthy marriages/relationships require balance between having shared couple-experiences that will feed the relationship while at the same time nurturing their individual interests and pursuits.
3. Without a clear expression of commitment to the relationship, trust and emotional security will suffer. A strong relationship foundation is built on mutual commitment.
4. Direct, clear communication should always be a top priority.
Evelyn Schmechtig -Cochran