Relationship Skillsn

Relationships are all about building trust.

In his research, Dr. Gottman observed that happy couples turn towards their partners approximately twenty times more than couples in distress during everyday, non-conflict discussions. In a newlywed study, newlyweds who were still married six years after their wedding had turned towards each other 86% of the time while in the lab. Those who were divorced six years later, however, had only turned towards each other 33% of the time.

Every time you turn towards your partner’s bids for emotional connection, you are making a deposit in what Dr. Gottman calls your Emotional Bank Account. You add value to your account when you create and build on positive moments between yourself and your partner. These little moments add up, reminding the two of you of the feelings you have for one another, and of your commitment to supporting each other through all of the experiences you share. If you find yourself lost amid the everyday stresses of life, your investment in an Emotional Bank Account drastically diminishes the probability that these stresses will climax in some kind of catastrophic fight.

By keeping Dr. Gottman’s tips about bidding in mind, you and your partner can feel that you are in control and dramatically increase the stability of your relationship. Dr. Gottman describes positive responses to bids as “turning towards” your partner: being mindful, aware, and responsive to the small interactions that the two of you have. When we bid for our partner’s attention, affection, or support, their response generates a critical outcome. As we become used to receiving a pattern of acceptance or rejection of our bids, our feelings towards our partner are an enormous determinant of the success or failure of the relationship! To begin with, we ought to ask a question: What does accepting bids tell the bidder? Here is Dr. Gottman’s answer:

When you “turn towards” bids, the bidder hears:

  • I’m interested in you.
  • I hear you.
  • I understand you (or would like to).
  • I’m on your side.
  • I’d like to help you (whether I can or not).
  • I’d like to be with you (whether I can or not).
  • I accept you (even if I don’t accept all your behavior).

In our next few blog entries, we will offer you some of his research-based methods for improving your ability to receive bids in ways that strengthen the trust in your relationship! For now, practice the skills we taught you in our most recent blog posts on Dr. Gottman’s Four Steps of Emotional Attunement & Intimate Conversation with your partner, and start feeling the trust you share grow. If you’ve found our discussions of trust helpful, look forward to the release of Dr. Gottman’s new book What Makes Love Last?.

Fear of Rejection

Rejection Fear -How your Beliefs Sabotage your Relationships.

Rejection Fear will sabotage your relationships.


Fear of rejection is a big obstacle to creating a lasting relationship.

Rejection Fear comes from past hurts of being rejected. I’ve seen people carry around rejection fears from seeing other people rejected, so it doesn’t even have to happen to you to affect you deeply.

Until you release this pain or fear that got imprinted into your subconscious mind from past experiences you believe that you will be rejected. What you believe is what you will create. You will always choose people to reject you…In fact if they don’t reject you , will find a way to reject yourself…You’ll come up with something like ,” You don’t really love me, you just love what I do for you”.

Our deeply held beliefs drive all of our behaviors. Many of our beliefs are unconscious and the only way we can identify them is by looking at our behaviors. Strong feelings hold these beliefs in place.

We can change this by going to the memories behind our unwanted actions and then changing the feelings behind them. With the feelings changed the “drivers” are gone and we can imprint new experiences that we’d rather have in their place.

This powerful process for change is called FasterEFT. It is a relatively new process which I find to be really amazing in the results it gets.

borderline personality, borderline personality disorder, relationship, personality disorder, emotional abuse

Borderline Personality Relationships-are you in one?

Borderline Personality Relationships


Are you in a relationship with a person with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Have you had intense passion and intimate feelings for a person with high highs and low lows?

Does this sound familiar: obsessing about him/her, yet no matter what you do, you can’t seem please the person?

If this applies to you, read further to see if you are in a relationship with a “Borderline Personality.”

– Your partner swings from extremes like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

– one moment passionately loving you in a way that makes you feel very special and in the next moment attacking you, threatening you and even raging violently.

– Being blamed and criticized for everything wrong in the relationship to the point that you are afraid to reveal what you really think or feel. You feel like you are in a double bind: you’re dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. If you ask for anything you are told your needs are wrong or not important.

– Feeling that if you want to keep the relationship you have to deny what you feel to the point that you have become confused about what you really feel. You feel like you’re loosing your grip on reality.  Just when you decide you  have had enough the Borderline will throw in some caring behavior to throw you off balance and keep you confused.

– When you try to leave the relationship the other person makes declarations of love and devotion or makes threats to you like “no one but me will ever love you.” Emotional abuse victims can be convinced that no one else could want them and they stay in abusive situations because they believe that if they leave they will just be alone forever.

– The abusing person seems to have an uncanny ability to know what you’re thinking and can see into you with such amazing accuracy that you feel special in some way when you are with them much of the time. Longing for these loving moments when you feel seen keep you in the relationship.

-Emotional abuse can be more damaging than psysical abuse because the insults, criticism and accusations chip away at the person’s self esteem and their very core until they blame themselves for the abuse and sometimes even cling to the abuser. Often the abuser in this type of relationship has Borderline Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Traits.

Help is available


If you know anyone who is in a relationship like this please show them this article and let them know that they need help. Both people in an abusive relationship need help.  I work with couples in abusive relationships to show them what can be done to create a good relationship.  I also can give the person with BPD a referral to a therapist who is skilled in working with this issue.  Anyone who is truly committed to doing what it takes to change can change these destructive behaviors and learn how to have a good relationship.
Solution Focused Therapy,brief therapy,couples therapy, Life Coach,Life Coach Los Angeles,short term therapy,solution focused couples therapy,solution focused therapy

Solution Focused Therapy, the fast track to change

Solution Focused Therapy Techniques


Solution Focused Therapy was developed in a therapy setting and widely used for therapy since the 1980’s.

In the last decade it has become popular for coaching, so we now have solution focused coaching .

It is unlike many traditional therapies in that it focuses purely on the desired situation or goal.

People and especially therapists have been trained to look for the problem and to analyze it to bring about a change or the desired goal.

Solution Focused Therapy Techniques


Solution Focused therapy will not allow much discussion of the problem and only looks at what will be happening when the desired situation is already happening (the goal) and what will the client be doing to bring about these changes.  Once the client can see or visualize clearly the desired situation, the therapist then asks the client,”what small step will you take this week to achieve this goal.  The client always knows what is needed to achieve the goal, but maybe not in a conscious way.  The solution focused therapist helps to draw out this information from a position of being a half step behind the client.  The client always has the “knowing” but needs the therapist to focus him on  the desired state or condition and break it down into small doable goals.  The client then commits to a goal (tiny step) that he will accomplish by the next session.

This works to get results, or the desired change because we tend to create more of what we focus on. As explained in the law of attraction writings, our state of mind and focus draw to us that which we are dwelling upon. This causes viscious cycles of downward spirals which keep people feeling stuck and helpless, focusing on and analyzing their problems.

This focus on problems is particularly harmful with couples because couples typically come into therapy focusing on what’s wrong with the other person.  In fact, the main motivation for couples coming into therapy is probably to try to get the other person to change.  Focusing on changing the partner causes power struggles and the partner often will dig in his heels and become even more intent on not changing, because after all he is” right”.

One of the principles of Solution Focused therapy is that change is always happening. In solution focused therapy we direct the client to look at when things are better and exceptions to the problem.  Clients are usually surprised when asked to focus on what’s working, that there are actually times when the problem is not present.  By looking at the problem free times the client can start to become aware of what he/she is doing differently.  Once they are looking for these behaviors in themselves, the very act of looking for those times causes the mind to focus on and strengthen the positive aspects.

Want to Make a Positive Change Now?

Try this strategy out for yourself.

  1. Think of a problem that you want to eliminate
  2. Focus on the success you want instead.  Ask yourself, “What do I want instead of the problem?  How will I know I have this and what will be different? What will I be doing different when I have achieved this success?”
  3. Look for what is a situation where success has already happened in the past.  What caused this success ?  What were you doing differently?  How were you able to do that?”
  4. What is one thing you did to cause this success in the past that you could carry forward and do again now? Commit to taking one small step this week and see what happens.
Relationship Success

Relationship Success Depends on our Unconscious Agreements

Unspoken agreements are the agreements that we do not speak, but they play out in our lives. They are agreements that we make with ourselves, another person, or group as a way to get love, attention, or to feel safe.

From the time that Kathy married Bob, she took the back seat in their interactions by trying to please him and not focusing on her needs or her growth. His needs were the priority for both of them. He was a successful accountant who worked very hard to move up in his accounting firm. She stayed at home because that was what he wanted her to do.

He never asked her what she wanted to do. When she would praise him or do things to enhance his career and his social standing in the community, he would show satisfaction with her. For the first eight years of their marriage, her purpose in life was to get his approval. The unspoken agreement was “I’ll be lesser than you and in exchange, you will love me”.

As time want on, Kathy became stronger and more aware of her own value as a person. She realized that she wanted a career for herself and enrolled in a PHD program in psychology.

This brought about a change in their relationship causing cracks in the bridge. A relationship is a bridge. Dr. Bruce Fisher, in his book “Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends,” compares a relationship to a bridge. The relationship is the horizontal part of the bridge that connects two people who are the foundations of the bridge at either end.

The foundations must be strong to support the bridge. If one of the foundations shifts or changes then the bridge develops cracks. If not dealt with, these cracks will result in the breakup of the relationship.

Change is always happening as long as we are alive. If you deny, or resist these changes the relationship will either become strained and lose the good feelings which were there in the beginning, or it will break apart.

Each person must work on his/her own personal growth to have a healthier relationship with self. He/she also needs to understand the needs of the partner. Then the couple must work out which needs they want to meet separately and which ones they want to work out with their partner. This is a main reason why people end relationships and is something that CAN be worked out.

If you don’t take responsibility of meeting some of your needs, you will end up blaming your partner for your unhappiness and failing to support your partner in their pursuits. It doesn’t have to end this way

The paradoxical fact of relationships is that we pair with people who express our opposite or complementary tendencies. For example, Kathy and Bob had a pattern of Giver/Taker as the way they related to each other. That worked well at first, but when Kathy shifted what she wanted, she broke the original agreement.

These agreements are not spoken and certainly are not conscious, but they are fastidiously acted out in the daily life of the couple. This shift in her foundation of the bridge caused irreparable cracks in their relationship and they divorced.

It doesn’t have to end this way, although this is what we see much of the time. If both people are willing to look at what they expect and the roles they have been cast in from childhood, they can grow and incorporate new ways of being, which give them more choices in life.

This willingness to look at oneself and embrace new information can and does lead the couple to a level of intimacy that never would have been imagined at the beginning of the relationship.

EMDR Therapy, EMDR Technique

EMDR, A Powerful New Therapy for Relief From Trauma and Intrusive Memories

What Is EMDR Therapy?


EMDR is a powerful new therapy modality, and is becoming more widely used by therapists.

As more and more people have experienced its ability to help them change painful emotions and self-limiting beliefs, EMDR therapists and EMDR Clinics are using this therapy for people dealing with everyday challenges.

With this EMDR Psychotherapy modality, people are finding that they don’t need years of therapy.


EMDR

EMDR, or “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” was first developed in the late 1980s. It originally was used in PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) to desensitize memories and flashbacks from traumatic war experiences. People who had been in therapy for years with no success in desensitizing their Viet Nam war scenes, found relief with this type of therapy in a short amount of time. It then became widely used in disaster situations such as the Oklahoma City bombing of the Federal building where it was used with the surviving victims and their family members.

Not everyone has had major trauma in their past, but we all have had hurtful experiences growing up, as a part of life. These experiences cause us to develop certain beliefs about ourselves, and what we can accomplish and expect from life. As I use EMDR with clients, I find that many of the limiting beliefs a person has about themselves disappear, because they were based on these hurtful experiences of the past (formed by the child that existed then). Once the pain around these experiences is desensitized, they are free from the limiting cognition, or belief that they formed about themselves as a result of that belief. They now get a more realistic, and adult belief about the self, because the emotional charge which held the original, child view of the self, in place has been removed.

 Trauma and Intrusive Memories

What is the EMDR Technique?


So how did this new modality of psychotherapy come about? A psychologist in Northern California, Francine Shapiro,was walking in the park one day, thinking about something that was troubling her. She noticed at some point, that her eyes started moving spontaneously back and forth, and that this seemed to take the “disturbing quality away from the issue that was troubling her. She developed this further by working with war veterans and the astounding successes she had with them attracted much interest among psychological researchers.

Researchers believe that material which is too painful to be processed consciously is processed by the brain during REM sleep. What is thought to be happening with EMDR is that it is similar to REM (rapid eye movement) sleep processing, and that the eye movements move the material along, causing it to process through the brain/body, leaving the person free of the strong feelings that were originally attached to the trauma, opening a space for new perceptions about the reprocessed issue. It is also thought that the bilateral nature of the stimulation (across the midline of the brain) facilitates right brain-left brain communication.

These are the EMDR Tools used during psychotherapy:

There are about 40,000 licensed psychotherapists throughout the world who are trained in this procedure. Due to a wider public demand for this treatment, therapists are finding and developing more and more uses for this powerful therapy modality. I use it for self esteem enhancement, trauma resolution, anxiety, and depression, amd just about any issue people have, due to its effectiveness. I even use it to desensitize cravings for food and cigarettes.

In working with my clients, I find that it is essential to clear past hurts from the family of origin in order to have intimate, satisfying relationships with the people in their lives now. This process moves people along toward accomplishing their goal faster than anything that I have ever used. I take a developmental approach, clearing traumas from key past events and transition points in the clients life.

Here is an informational EMDR Video:

This is an EMDR video demonstration from the 20/20 TV show

EMDR Video

 

relationship, Couples Therapy, Life Coach, marriage counseling, Relation Therapy, Relationship Therapy

Is your relationship feeling flat and unexciting? You must deal with resentments!

Most couples have resentments that they are not even aware of which destroy the intimacy in their  relationship.

In working with couples for 22 years in Los Angeles, I find that they become deadened to each other and the relationship over the years if they don’t put some effort into learning new skills.

Many couples come to me for marriage counseling wanting to put some passion and energy back into the relationship. They often say somethng like, “we have become like roommates, or ships passing in the night”.

This flatness in the relationship does not have to happen if the couple is willing to learn some new communication skills.

So what do couples need to learn to reignite the intimacy?


They need to learn how to give their partner attention, acknowledgement and affirmation. These are the things that couples often stop doing after they have been together for a while.

A new level of intimacy


I find that to get a couple back to a deeper level of connection I have to establish a strong base of support where each person agrees to be open to their own feelings and to those of their partner.  This leads the way to expressing vulnerability.  This takes some preparation but when a person can express vulnerability and have that accepted and acknowledged by the partner a new level of intimacy is introduced into the relationship.

Love Rewires,Life Coach Los Angeles, norman, Therapist Los Angeles

How Love Rewires The Brain

This article shows how love and novelty rewire the brain. To keep a relationship exciting, you must inject novelty. This novelty triggers the hormone dopamine which is the pleasure hormone. This article below shows how to do this.

How Love Rewires the Brain
(and Other Romantic Secrets of Brain Chemistry)

Norman Doidge, MD, PhD

There are several neurotransmitters that seem to be involved in novelty. Dopamine is often spoken of and aspects of norepinephrine are involved in novelty, too.

But basically, what happens in life is that if you keep doing the same thing of any kind, your dopamine chemistry is not being triggered.

Sometimes, when you hear people complaining about monogamy as being boring, it’s not that their mate is boring, it’s just that there’s a certain amount of routine involved in monogamous relationships or long-term, steady relationships.

It’s good to know about that and learn how to manipulate your dopamine to some degree. You should pay some attention to the fact that if you want to maintain a long-term relationship, you’re going to have to do certain things to inject some novelty into it.

People – and I am not inventing this – who are very good at love know how to do this. Part of the reason you might want to go on vacation is to be with your beloved in a totally new situation – a new place where you’re both doing a lot of learning. It’s turning on that dopamine chemistry that’s allowing you to discover new things in the beloved. Probably that is what a new suit and a new dress is about, too.

So, again, this is just part of knowing about the “Users’ Guide to the Brain” – just knowing about the art of life and that your brain evolved to learn.

It is not just for learning – it is for self-regulation, too. The brain has to be learning to feel fit. So you always have to be learning new things, and even within the context of a relationship, I think you have to be learning together to keep that relationship feeling really vital.

Putting Ideas into ActionJoan Borysenko, PhD
Bill O’Hanlon, MS, LMFT

Bill O’Hanlon: One of the challenges with long-term relationships is that they do get into ruts – and they say the difference between a rut and the grave is just the dimensions. Some relationships can get so boring that people want to leave or have an affair…just to get that dopamine hit again.I think Dr. Doidge is talking about the dark and light side of plasticity. The good news is that you don’t have to work on your relationship every day like you do when it’s new. It’s like driving to work every day – you don’t really have to think about it. That’s the good news about brain plasticity; you get really efficient at doing the day-to-day things you need to do.But we know relationships can be a challenge, so anything you can do to change it up is a good idea.There are two ways you can do this. One is to change the usual problems that you have. I remember years ago in a relationship of mine, my partner always complained that she felt responsible for doing everything about the house – noticing the repairs and doing them, calling the plumber, and calling the dentist for the kids… I was okay with that because, “I just don’t attend to that stuff.”But one day I thought to myself, “I’m so tired of hearing that complaint. I’m going to go around the house and list everything I can see. I’m really going to pay attention – because I usually don’t notice these things – and I’m going to get about five things done.” I’ll tell you, we didn’t have that argument for a year after that because I’d blown my stereotype!

So, here’s the question: What does your partner usually complain about that bothers him/her about what you do again and again? This is just one way of changing up the relationship.

There are three ways, or areas, which you can change. Change the viewing (and that, I think, connects to mindfulness). If you notice something new about your partner, it increases the satisfaction – your satisfaction and your partner’s satisfaction. “Wow, I never noticed that your hair goes like this…”

Change how you’re used to seeing someone. “That’s a different blouse you’re wearing today.” Or, “That’s interesting.” Or, “You got up at a different time.” Just view any change that they have made – really notice it rather than thinking, “Oh, that’s my partner, I know what they do, I know how they are.”

It’s all about changing the viewing, changing the doing, and changing the context. Dr. Doidge talks about going on vacation – but there are many ways of changing the context. You could rearrange the furniture in your house and that might change your interactions because you’ve been used to sitting in certain places – now, all of a sudden, this changes things.

Small changes just increase the interest and make a difference in the relationship so you don’t fall into those ruts.

Joan Borysenko: Dr. Doidge makes such an interesting point here about the need to continue to trigger high levels of dopamine because that gives us pleasure, keeps the relationship alive.

I’ll give you a personal example: I am not a cowboy boot kind of girl, but my husband loves cowboy boots and country dancing. So now, I have three pairs of cowboy boots. I know how to do the two-step and we go out from time to time for country dancing. That means I have an interest in something he has, but it’s still a novel thing we do together.

The question I would ask, first of all, is this: What are your partner’s hobbies? Is there something that, if you just give yourself over to it and try, that you could love and join him/her in doing?

The second suggestion would be this: Is there a hobby that, in fact, the two of you can take up together? That can add a tremendous amount of novelty and excitement to life. Also, it just takes you outside the bounds of your normal context.