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?.

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.

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.

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.

AVOIDING CONFLICT,abusive relationships, anger, couples communication, couples counseling, Life Coach Los Angeles, Therapist Los Angeles, troubled relationships

To Cure Anger in your Relationship, Stop Avoiding Conflict!

Avoiding Conflict is the Biggest Cause of Rage and Anger in a Relationship.


As strange as this may sound,I have found working with my clients for the last 25 years that the number one cause of anger in a relationship is…. AVOIDING CONFLICT.

This is so paradoxical because men and women in a relationship often tell me that they are not wanting to “make waves” so they don’t address really important issues with their partner. From working with hundreds of couples in therapy and couples coaching for the past 25 years I can guarantee you that “not making waves” will cause the largest explosion because the more you ingore something the larger it looms, insisting to be noticed and dealt with.

Avoiding Sexual Conflict is a Big Mistake in a Relationship, causing anger to develop.

Sex is an important source of conflict among couples because one person often feels slighted in getting his/her needs to be honored met. A good relationship thrives because each person is devoted to meeting the needs of their partner. This is a win/win because it enhances intimacy and trust.

The biggest problem couples have: Not Sincerely Listening to your partner’s sexual needs.>

Anger is often the result of not getting your needs acknowledged and met.

Here is the biggest problem that I see couples who are trying to bond and create a lasting relationship have: not listening to what their partner’s sexual needs. Often times couples will ask about their partner’s needs but then wont’ follow through to see that they are met. This can be devastating and cause anger, bringing a lot of couples into therapy.

You have to do more than ask; you have to follow up with your partner and see if they got what they wanted and if not you have to refine the process , always moving in the direction of what your partner wants. If you don’t know how to meet those needs , don’t worry because you can seek and get effective help for this with a therapist or relationship coach who specializes in these issues with couples.

Sex is a communication between two people which can bring them incredibly closer and more intimate in their relationship or can alienate them from each other if it is not handled with open communication and follow through. Since sex is so charged with vulnerable feelings it must be discussed in a way that both people feel heard and valued in what they need from their partner.

Sex talk, more than any other part of sex is the key to intimacy. After the talking however, the most important thing is that each person’s needs and desires are not only heard and acknowledged but followed up with ongoing action.

In therapy and couples coaching I train couples to have constructive sex talk so that their intimacy and trust in each other can deepen and then how to follow through in meeting those needs.

EMDR

EMDR: A Powerful New Therapy for Healing Emotional Pain

EMDR was developed over 20 years ago…


It was used and tested mostly on Vietnam Veterans who were suffering from intrusive memories from the War. Since then, it has become increasingly popular, due to its ability to move the process of psychotherapy along at a swift pace. Not only does EMDR take the emotional charge off a traumatic event from the past: also, the meaning of that earlier event changes, leading to new self concepts and behaviors.

As the process evolved and became more widely used, therapists realized that they could use it on any troubling event or memoryfrom the past. in my private practice, I work with many “everyday traumas” that cause people to have limiting beliefs about themselves. A child is so vulnerable to its environment in the first 5 or 6 years, that it often gets messages from events about itself; for example…I’m too big/small, lazy, stupid, the “wrong sex”, and deficient in some way, don’t deserve love, am powerless, am a disappointment.

All of these beliefs make sense to the child’s mind, and they need to be explored and understood in that perspective before they can be released to make room for more realistic perspectives and beliefs about the self.

Why is EMDR Psychotherapy so effective in unearthing trauma, and the resulting self-limiting beliefs?

Bessel van der Kolk in discussing the research of Martin Teicher (Teicher etal, 1997) points out that with the new brain imaging technology, we have found that trauma, and the recalling of traumatic experiences occurs in the right hemisphere of the brain and to the exclusion of the left hemisphere. Regular “talking therapy”, without EMDR uses language to process memories. Given that the left hemisphere becomes inactive when a traumatic memory is recalled, it is understandable that verbal therapies have not been able to resolve many issues. Part of what EMDR does is to provide a non-verbal body focus, which seems to stimulate inter-hemispheric activity.

What Is EMDR Therapy?


The client is directed to hold a troubling image in awareness, with its accompanying sensory experiences, and the distorted negative belief (i.e. I am bad, it was my fault, I’m powerless, and I don’t deserve love). Along with this is used alternate bilateral brain stimulation (by eye movements, sound moving from ear to ear or tapping). As the client follows this process, observing his feelings, he experiences a letting go of the feelings and the symptoms that developed as a result of this event. He then is free to live in the present, and feel safe again.

How EMDR Can Be Used With Pain And Healing?


I was using EMDR with a patient who had Multiple Sclerosis. To help her regulate her pain and emotional state. We began by focusing on the pain, along with a picture that represents the pain (from 1 to 10), 10 being the worst it could be. The patient hold all this in awareness, along with the belief about the self they feel as they look at this scene.

EMDR

She focused on the pain she felt in her ankle, and rated it at a level of disturbance of a 7. The picture was her collapsing onto the floor, when her ankle was too weak to hold her up. The belief she had about herself was “I can’t take care of myself”.

What do you experience with the EMDR Technique?


As we did the EMDR processing while she closed her eyes and tried to hold all these things in her awareness, she saw her self as a child being blamed in an angry way by her mother for not taking care of her younger sister when she was just age 6. Her sister fell out of her high chair and injured her face badly. As we stayed with all these parts of that experience, she had many new thoughts and awarenesses about what the appropriate responsibility roles of her parents and herself at that young age of 6 had been. Shethen began to release the feelings of her own “Badness” and the shame that she had felt from this. This shifted her feeling of unworthiness of having anything good happen to her.

We now needed to work on the pain again in her ankle. As she focused on it, using the EMDR stimulation it came down from a 9 to a 4, in intensity. As I would ask her the level of intesity of her pain, she would report what thoughts were gong through her mind. She pictured many scenes from growing up where she would stop herself from expressing what she wanted or felt, in order to please others. I asked her to step into the scene she was picturing as the grown up adult of today and to help that child (her younger self) by asking the child what would she have needed to make that painful situation a little easier. The chilld’s answer was to know that she was valued. This adult part of my patient was able to re-parent that chld part ofher in exactly the way the child needed it. The amazing thing I have found from working in this way for 18 years, is that when we simply ask ( in a sincere, caring way) those parts of us that are so needy, what is is that they needed then, they will tell us and then we can give it to them, energetically, through our intention.

As we kept reprocessing and desensitizing other incidents she reported a level of pain that varied from 3 to 7. She was much more aware of the pain levels she had, and we built in ways for her to reduce her level of pain with imagery that she could use at any time she wanted.

The other thing that can be done to reduce pain with EMDR is just to focus on the pain using the alternate bi-lateral simulation. This changes a person’s experience in their body.

There is much research to be found on EMDR on the web. Start with www.emdr.com .
emotional affairs in the workplace,Coaching, Couples Therapy, EFT Therapy, Infidelity, Infidelity page, Relationship Therapy, Self-esteem

Emotional Affairs in the work place

Emotional Affairs in the Workplace


I am having a large increase of couples coming into couples therapy to deal with an emotional affair.  I am seeing quite a few middle aged couples in which one of the spouses ends up starting emotional affairs in the workplace.

Secret Emotional Affair


The way an emotional affair can develop is that the two people start emailing more and more often.  When their conversation gets personal and they start talking about their marriage and complaining about their spouse, this is the beginning of an emotional affair.  Soon this develops into a  place to share greivances and get validation.

Emotional Affair Signs


Often when this happens the couple want to go farther and often will start meeting even though they may live thousands of miles apart.  When this happens the emotional affair usually develops into a full-blown affair.

If you are having an emotional affair or know someone who is, please warn them that this is dangerous if they want to keep their marriage.

An emotional affair is even more seductive than a sexual affair because of the freedom that most people feel compelled to communicate on the internet.  Conversing back and forth has a sense of immediacy and intimacy when it is done continually for a period of time.  Texting is intimate and immediate.  This causes connection.  A relationship is built on connection, interest and validaton.  Emailing and texting provide the context for a relationship to develop with a special kind of intimacy.

Surviving  An Emotional Affair


Don’t take an  emotional affair casually because this kind of communication provides the basis for a strong attraction to develop.  If you are doing this know that you are cheating even though sex is not envolved.   Cheating is simply a sign something is missing in the relationship.  Most people who cheat don’t want their marriage to end, they just want the excitement of  something new.  The truth is that you can create something new in your marriage if you use the threat of an emotional affair to  start to explore and find out what is missing in your own marriage and create a new closeness and intimacy there with the help of a good therapist.

EMDR is effective for healing pain from a breakup.

IS EMDR BETTER THAN TALK THERAPY?


In a bid to zap her inner demons and reset her brain, Alix Strauss decided to try a radical form of treatment: EMDR therapy.

This article displays a youthful account of a persons attempt to get over a breakup by using EMDR.

Her therapist utilized EMDR therapy to help release the pain of the breakup and free herself from the negative feelings associated with it.
The biggest difference between EMDR and conventional talk therapy is that:
With EMDR you don’t have to examine the cause of problems in depth—like if you habitually date the wrong people.

March 16, 2012

BETTER THAN THERAPY?


In a bid to zap her inner demons and reset her brain, Alix Strauss decided to try a radical form of treatment: EMDR therapy.

By ALIX STRAUSS

I’m in the Hamptons doing a book signing, when my ex—who I had a horrific breakup with and who I haven’t seen in more than two years—appears in front of me. He doesn’t want an autograph, and I know he already owns my novel; he is clearly here to see me. But as soon as our eyes meet, he loses his nerve and leaves. Instead of going numb as I usually do in traumatic situations, I feel calm and matter-of-fact—in control. A year ago, I would have been a heartbroken basket case, obsessively reviewing in my head other ways the encounter might have gone.When we broke up, I found myself fixating on painful memories of our relationship and unable to move forward with my life. I tried every conventional remedy you can think of: talk therapy (which I’d been doing weekly for three years at that point), endless spewing to friends, allotting crying time each day, burning his photos, and even going on an array of blind dates. Nothing worked. I remained weepy and depressed, stuck in the past.Finally, my therapist suggested that I try a form of psychotherapy called EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. A bilateral stimulation therapy designed to unlock negative memories, feelings, and emotions, EMDR is a controversial technique involving lights, sounds, and tapping that purportedly helps the brain process traumatic experiences. This sounded like mumbo jumbo to me but I was desperate. I would have stripped naked and run down Fifth Avenue if you had told me it would help.

A few weeks later, I found myself sitting on a beige carpet in an Upper East Side office, leaning against a couch, with the lights dimmed. I had headphones on, a Walkman-like device in my lap. In front of me stood a two-and-a-half-foot-long eye scanner on a tiny tripod. Mini green lights blinked and moved rhythmically from left to right, working in tandem with the tapping sound that came through the headphones. Rosemary Masters, my EMDR therapist, is founding director of the Trauma Studies Center of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York. A reserved, kind woman who looks like she stepped out of an L.L.Bean catalogue, Rosemary began our session by asking me to recall a specifically distressing memory. I chose the moment when I received a voice mail from my ex’s paramour. The woman’s voice, with its crisp British accent, sounded merciless: “Your relationship is doomed and dysfunctional because he’s been intimate with me behind your back.” I visualized the pathetic conversation that my ex and I’d had afterward in my apartment as he lied about the situation, insisting she’d made it all up. As I sat in the office, I once again felt my heart pound, felt the pain and resentment well up inside. Rosemary’s voice hung in the air as I tried to answer her questions: What do you see? How would you rate your level of anxiety? What are you feeling?

I followed the lights. I listened to the tones. I answered her questions. I told her my level was a 4 or 5 out of 10. To my surprise, tears rolled down my cheeks. But as I tapped into raw emotions, I felt oddly calm and clinical—I was very aware that this was therapy, not a meltdown. When she asked how I felt, the words that came out were: It’s too much loss. I hurt all the time.

EMDR was developed by California psychologist Francine Shapiro, who, while walking in a park one day in 1987, noted that eye movements appeared to reduce anxiety and the intensity of disturbing thoughts. During the past two decades, this therapy has become extremely popular among those who suffer from anxiety attacks, physical abuse, and post-traumatic stress. I think of it this way: If talk therapy is a cross-country road trip, then EMDR is a crosstown bus ride. Some refer to it as “shortcut therapy,” since positive results can happen within three to eight sessions. Those working on single trauma issues can be helped within three sessions.

The biggest difference between EMDR and conventional talk therapy is that, during EMDR you don’t have to examine the cause of problems in depth—like if you habitually date the wrong people. Instead you focus on allowing your brain to release a specific event that you’re fixated on. New York’s high-octane pace makes it a logical choice. We all want impressive results in little time. To me, EMDR is like an in-office face-lift for your brain without hospitalization. Today, more than 70,000 clinicians are specially trained and certified in the treatment, and millions of people claim to have been fixed from it.

“EMDR is about adaptive integration,” Rosemary explains. “The lights, tones, and tapping stimulate the information-processing system of the brain in a similar way to REM sleep, where the brain extracts what’s important and useful and lets go of the rest.” Like other EMDR specialists, she looks for shifts where the patient’s feelings of worthlessness or dejection are replaced by positive thoughts. In my case, the mantra I often uttered, “I’ll never get over this,” was eventually substituted by “I’ll move past this.”

After the session, I went home and literally could not keep my eyes open. My brain felt depleted. Eventually I surrendered to the druglike exhaustion and napped—something I never do. I shared this with Rosemary on my next visit. “Some people experience exhaustion,” she said. “Some have vivid dreams; others feel relief.”

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for the treatment. For those with an addiction or a physical condition like epilepsy, EMDR could revisit trauma that the brain may not be able to process without additional preparation. And there are those in the medical community who don’t buy into EMDR’s quick results. “It gives people temporary relief and helps them connect emotionally, but the effect isn’t lasting,” says Eric Braverman, a clinical assistant professor of integrative medicine at Weill Cornell Medical Center’s department of neurosurgery. “EMDR reminds me of the days when doctors used to give people cocaine for depression.”

I disagree. For someone like me, who was mentally and emotionally fixated on a single trauma, the effects have been radically and lastingly positive. Cheryl Brinker, who was part of the Red Cross’s September 11th Recovery Program team, had a similar experience. After Brinker saw several different specialists for her post-traumatic stress disorder, a therapist suggested EMDR in 2008. “It was like my brain was frozen, and all that would play was this loop of horrific images,” she says. After five sessions she felt healed. “My mind had started making new thought patterns, like ‘What am I having for dinner?’ The old images are still there, but they’re not traumatic anymore. They don’t prevent me from living my life.”

For me, the biggest shift happened after my fourth EMDR session. As I walked home, a floating, out-of-body sensation washed over me. For the next two days, I was exhausted and napped for several hours each day. And then something happened. The next day, as I stood in the shower, I realized that I didn’t hurt as I had before. I can’t explain how or why, but it felt as if my brain had been rebalanced. As if a fever had broken.

These days, the memory and pain I associate with my breakup still seem far off. It’s an Alice in Wonderland sensation—like I swallowed a magic pill without knowing what it was or how it would affect me. I’m afraid to ask what the ingredients were because I don’t want to inspect the potion too closely. I just know I feel better. Fixed. And the past feels far away, where it should stay.

Credit: EMDR Psychotherapy – Alternative Trauma Therapy – Harper’s BAZAAR

With EMDR it is possible to get Relief from longing for the person who has left.


This process of desensitizing the desire releases a person from the past and gives them an immediate feeling of relief.