Blog Posts

From the New York Times – how a pooch saved this relationship…

Maura Lammers divulges how her partner’s finding of Pudge, the rescue dog kept her and her long term partner from separating.

Posted in the New York Times Modern love – Pudge will Keep us together.  Maura details how this pooch strengthened their bond and brought them closer.

It’s a lovely piece. Perhaps you have a story about your pet? Please share your experiences.

Chris and I love our rescue cat Taneis

unconditional love cannot be overestimated. So cute!
It’s not puppy love, unconditional love cannot be overestimated. So cute!

ha to bits. She is 16 years old and still going strong. She’s on my lap as I write this the little darling. She offers unconditional love and it is so nice to stroke her soft fur and hear a purr emit from her belly. The simple things!

Taneisha The Resource Therapy Cat
This is the gorgeous Taneisha my rescue cat.

Please add your story below in the comments section. Love to see pictures too.

Looking to Improve Your Marriage? Adopt a Dog

Doggy Love -The Joys of a sharing together.
Buying a dog in any relationship is a huge step. That’s because it essentially means you’re adding a new family member. It’s a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. A lot of thought, research, and careful planning needs to go into choosing a special pet. It’s always a smart idea to make lists of the pros before running to a shelter and grabbing the first dog you see. After careful consideration, you’ll find that a dog is a great asset to any marriage and any family.

What a great pair, think of the fun you can have choosing and caring for your dog!
What a great pair, think of the fun you can have choosing and caring for your dog!

Shopping Together for the Dog
Before you pick out a dog for your relationship, you’ll need to do some planning. This helps to make sure that everything goes smoothly and there’s no unexpected hiccups or arguments later on. Do your research on what type of dog you’d like to add to your home. Different breeds have different wants, needs, and activity levels. Find a reputable dog shelter or breeder, choose dog food that fosters their growth, toys for fun and learning, and dog treats that are healthy.

Dogs Can Save Your Marriage
If you’re having problems in your relationship or marriage, adding a dog may just be what the doctor ordered. Dogs can help save a marriage because it gives both people involved something positive to focus their energy on. Dogs also provide love to a relationship that may be struggling. They’re an outlet for positive energy and something that couples can focus their time on together.

Picking Out a Dog is a Bonding Experience
Choosing a dog, their food, their toys, and everything else is a bonding experience in itself. Couples can come together and learn a little bit about each other by learning what type of dogs and characteristics each other fancies. When a couple decides on what type of dog they’d like to adopt, they can make a day out of getting things ready for the dog. Not only does this entail picking out supplies and creating a safe place at home for the dog, it also means picking out the dog itself. Couples get a chance to meet different dogs in a small room or while going for a walk. This helps them find the one that is right for their family.

More Fun Activities For Couples Thanks to  Our Dogs
If you are looking to improve your marriage, simply add a dog. That’s because if you are having marriage troubles, you’re most likely bored, frustrated, or unhappy with the routine that you’re stuck in. A dog can fix this because it completely changes your life. Instead of waking up, going to work, making dinner, and going to bed; there are now new possibilities. You can bond in the following ways with your spouse and the dog:

  • By going for a walk to see the scenery
  • Going for a hike anywhere that’s dog-friendly
  • Taking a trip to the dog park
  • Cuddling up together on the couch

    The three of you cuddling, laughing and loving together.
    The three of you cuddling, laughing and loving together.

This breaks that routine that married couples feel they were stuck in. Dogs mean that everyday will be something different for you and your spouse. If you’re ever feeling frustrated, take some time alone with the dog.

Dogs Give Love Which in Turn Creates More Love

In conclusion, dogs provide love. If you’re marriage is struggling, it might be because it’s lacking love. A dog can come along and change everything. They can show that they have so much love to give which, in turn, can inspire you and your spouse. Dogs are also happy creatures. It’s hard to be upset when there’s a happy, panting, tail-wagging friend that is waiting for you every day. Overall, dogs can boost your morale, give you hope, and inspire you to do better not just in your marriage but in all aspects of your life.

This piece is written by Professional dog walker – Bruce Dwyer. He also runs dog treats business at https://www.healthydogtreats.com.au/. He strongly believes in having a dog to improve your marriage.

dog health is important

Thanks ever so much Bruce for your guest contribution, dogs can be our guides for unconditional love, a truly wonderful thing.

We love all animals at Marriage Works and I am Grandma to Tyson the Staffy!

My Grand doggy Tyson the Staffy is 5!
My Grand doggy Tyson the Staffy is 5!

 

Have a helpful contribution you want to make ? Please contact me philipathornton@gmail.com

Stop an Argument in it’s Tracks – Do This Instead

Are you feeling trapped in a cycle of negativity with you and your partner getting stuck in the same old fights. You know the ones – where you experience the loop like a noose tightening around your throat and all you can think is “here we go again”… another argument, but can’t think what to do. Well let me help you. First take a big breath and take a time out. Stop and use it.

This can be a chance for change.

Money struggles are no fun
Money is the number cause of arguments! Budget today.

At this stage you are at a choice point. Decide to act in the old routine, with typically the same dance steps.

You know how that pans out right? I’d guess you can cake walk the outcome with your eyes closed. Play with me do it on your own now. Not great huh?

Or  you can choose a new move.

Here’s an option for variety, which I call taking a turn down memory lane. It involves purposeful distraction. Parent’s are the master of directing children’s attention to away from distress – simply get them to focus on something else and look at you. New stimulation, different mood equals peace for you, sigh of relief. You remind them of the fun time they had playing soccer or whatever it was they enjoy doing.

I was coaching a husband the other day.  He wanted to break out of the old habits of relating to his wife. So I suggested my distraction technique, which is really using Resource Therapy’s powerful methods for change. It’s so simple and yet effective.

Turn the corner today and stop an argument. Make a time later for serious discussion.
Turn the corner today and stop an argument. Make a time later for serious discussion.

I call it –Take a turn down into Memory Lane.

This is where it’s time to stroll back in history.  Where you get to go to those earlier days in dating relationship, remember we used to call in courting. The idea is to foster a reconnection with your past successes – as The Cars sang “Let the good times roll.”

Recreate an old vision renewed to enliven your marriage
Recreate an old vision renewed to enliven your marriage.

You are going for the treasure pot of gold. It’s not at the end of the rainbow but at the beginning of your partnership.

Actually it’s any time you felt warm, loved, connected and light being in each others presence. Where you are delighted and so are they. The happy relaxed carefree times. Not suprising it’s often pre-kids!

You reminisce on the first holiday, kiss, date, your proposal or walking down the aisle staring with hope and joy into each others eyes. Whatever the time was where you were really into each other, feeling connected and cared for. Those love drugs where pumping. We want to bring this back into sharp focus.

What fun was it to play in the sand, laughing and joking around!
How much fun was it to play in the sand, laughing and joking around?!

They don’t call it re-membering for nothing!

Here you are bringing out your partner’s Loving Resource state, the part of their personality which enjoys you and their choice of  spouse. And you are also bringing forth the same part which found them cute and fun to be with.

The way you do this is to really paint the picture, describe the time of day, where you were, the surroundings, the sounds, the sensations, images and warm emotions. Keep doing this until your spouse joins in and you see the light in their eyes, the softness in their voice and gentleness in their features. Play with it. Get some serious fun happening.

It’s so simple.

The only proviso is it must only be happy times with nothing negative attached. Now if things have been rough recently you may need to be tenacious and keep reaching.

All I need to do with Chris is say remember what fun we had Bali?  What great meals we had there. Bali is where we took our first overseas holiday and it was magical, it still is a favourite destination.

A beautiful Bali smile from our first trip there
A beautiful Bali smile from our first trip there.

Then I say how good was our first night’s dinner at the Cafe Wayan in Ubud?

Yummy dinner at a Warung in Bali
Yummy dinner at a Warung in Bali.

What did you have again? You see Chris enjoys his food and if I get him talking about something delicious I can almost see him drool. His eyes get a dreamy look – I can see he is back there in the warm glades, hearing the tinkle of the music.

Having this conversation about our shared joy makes us closer and brings out the loving parts of us. It sets us up for a great night.

So do yourself a favour and take a walk down memory lane today. And you needn’t wait to use it to staunch an argument. Practice it prior. Use it any time you want to feel connected and inspire love. with your partner.

Please tell me your thoughts on this technique and even better how it went for you. Love to hear your experiences, so please share.

With love and healing
With love and healing

Hello from the United States of America!

Hi all you wonderful people who take the time to read and write in to me here at Marriage Works!

I have the good fortune to be in Boulder, Colorado at the Michele Weiner-Davis Behind Closed Doors training. Every morning I get up to look at the amazing Flat Irons at Chataqua Park, yes I climbed up them a little the altitude up here is 5,500 feet. The air is thin and it is hot.

What a place to have training in couple therapy up near nature of the Flat Irons Chataqua Park, Colorado
What a place to have training in couple therapy up near nature of the Flat Irons Chataqua Park, Boulder, Colorado

Now back to Michele’s training – she is so generous and super talented in sharing her divorce busting techniques with a fabulous group of wonderful therapists. I am enjoying meeting these committed couple therapy warriors who help couples to gain change. They are so friendly to this Kiwi who has come from Sydney Australia! Thank you all!

Behind Closed Doors with Michele Weiner Davis, learning from the Divorce Buster Superstar
Behind Closed Doors with Michele Weiner Davis, learning from the Divorce Buster Superstar!

It’s good to be reminded of brief solution focussed therapy and access Michele’s updated version. She is a wonder worker and her passion shines forth. I can’t wait to take this back to my couples and work with the folks who see me!

How lucky I am and grateful to Michele for sharing so powerfully of herself and her clinical skills! And thanks to Jim her husband too!
How lucky I am and grateful to Michele for sharing so powerfully of herself and her clinical skills. And thanks to Jim her husband too! So Jet  lagged.

Sadly today is the last day of the powerful training. I have had a blast and feel so warmly welcomed in the US. Perhaps Michele has saved the juiciest bit till last as our final day is working on the Sex Starved Marriage. Based on her wonderful book of the same title-find the Sex Starved Marriage by Michele Weiner Davis here.

Thank you Michele, Jim and all the workshop participants for a wonderful adventure in learning.

With Love Philipa

 

How your early childhood sets up patterns for relationships.

I love psychology especially when it explains for us what is inexplicable. In a lot of readers comments there is a coomon thread of why do I behave like this toward my partner. I push him away one minute and then when he leaves I feel like I am going to die!

As you can hear it is a very young part responding to the threat of them leaving. This younger self can feel abandoned, paralyzed and hopeless.

These younger parts of ourselves – we all have them respond amazingly well to Resource Therapy please visit the Resource Therapy Institute of Australia for more information.

John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth who gave us Attachment theory which are formed in childhood with our caretakers. This attachment helps us to survive as infants. We are totally dependent on others for life. We develop our ways of connection – our attachment style in relation to the way our parents or those responsible for our care were available to us.

There are four types of attachment –

1. Secure: A child with this type of attachment will feel easily soothed and safe when with their main caregiver. If they are distressed, they will turn towards their caregiver, or seek them out in some way. This attachment is formed when a child knows they can count on their caregiver to be there for them when they cry, soothe them, and care for them. They will use this secure attachment as a safe base from which they can explore all that’s around them.

2. Insecure-Avoidant: Children do not attach to their caregiver because they don’t feel they can rely on them. This usually means that their primary caregiver either hasn’t been there for them when they needed it or has been rejecting or dismissive of their needs altogether. When a child is in distress and has this type of attachment they will not seek contact with their primary attachment figure.

3. Insecure Ambivalent: Children with this type of attachment will be clingy and needy of their caregiver, but when the caregiver comes to their aid they are rejecting of them and not easily soothed.

4. Disorganized: Children with this type of attachment will show a confusing mix of attachment behaviors and may even appear to be confused or disoriented. They believe that this attachment style is caused by inconsistency from their caregivers. Meaning that a parent may be soothing and helpful, but also fear-inducing and hurtful.

Below is a very famous example of what a baby will do to make their care giver respond. It’s so amazing.

After the Affair Article in MINDFOOD July/ August Issue 2018

Hello there lovely readers of Marriage Works.

Chris and I went to the news agents on Saturday as he wanted to buy a magazine for the soccer World cup. While in there he handed me the latest Mindfood magazine pointing out a psychology article “After the Affair – is it possible to restore trust.” I said oh good and opened it to page 50 in Health:Relationships.

My surprise reading Philipa Thornton as published in MINDFOOD McHugh Media's Magazine
Surprise!

Imagine my surprise when I read “Philipa Thornton’s strategies for making it work after an affair”! I had totally forgotten journalist Emily Joyce’s interview back in April.

I was pretty chuffed and had a good chuckle. It is a great article ( even if I do say so!) on affair recovery which is totally possible, I encourage you to check it out. Plus you get to see the gorgeous Rachel Weisz’s beautiful image and hear her story of a new chapter. See her interview with Graham Norton here on being married to Daniel Craig

The story is called Circle of Trust and is out now.

mindfood psychology after the affair contributions by philipa thornton psychologist

Current Issue of Mindfood Magazine here

How to Tell When Your Loved One Needs Help for Addiction

A huge thanks to Bethany Hatton for our guest article on addiction:

ADrugRehab.org states, “Addiction is tricky and calculating, and it’s the only disease that can take more than one person down with it, if it is left unchallenged. Addiction dramatically alters the lives of not just the addicted person, but of everyone within his or her vicinity, namely family and friends.”

Addiction in Australia

Millions of Australians are affected by drug addiction and alcohol dependency, either directly or indirectly. There are dozens of different drugs that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. ABC reports that the number of drug overdose deaths in the country has risen to the highest levels in nearly 20 years. It can be difficult, however, to determine if your loved one has a drug problem because different drugs have different symptoms, and people react to drugs in ways unique to them.

Identifying a substance abuse problem

Addiction to anything, whether it is drugs, sex, gambling, or food, can leave a person feeling socially isolated. According to ReachOut.com, a few social signs of a substance abuse problem include:

  • Avoiding non-users becoming isiolated
  • Feeling uncomfortable when unable to access their drug of choice
  • Lying
  • Relationship problems
  • Job loss
  • Going into debt to fund habit
  • Stealing

Other indications include:

  • Anxiety attacks
  • Irritability
  • Poor attention span
  • Depression, often severe
  • Impotence
  • Declining health, specifically heart problems
  • Psychosis

If you suspect that a friend or family member has an alcohol or drug problem, the first step is to help them recognize and admit it. Understand that you cannot force them to undergo treatment, but they may be more willing to get help if they are sure that they have a strong support network. Once they are willing to consider treatment, reach out to their doctor or healthcare provider.

The end goal of drug treatment is for the user to have the self-control their use if possible or to avoid taking drugs in the first place. But quitting cold turkey can be very tough and is often not a good idea. Withdrawal, the body’s response to craving a specific substance, can have debilitating symptoms including high blood pressure, anxiety, and shakiness. A person with an addiction to alcohol or a benzodiazepine, such as Valium, may even be at risk of death due to a sudden shock to the system if they quit using unexpectedly. The National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre in Sydney reports that opiate withdrawal, which was previously believed to be non-life-threatening, can result in death due to dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea.

Approaching an addicted person

Opening up a line of communication is an important part of helping your friend or family member seek treatment for their addiction. PositiveChoices.org.au explains that you must prepare ahead of time, however, before beginning the conversation about substance abuse. Gather information about the drug and decide exactly what you want to say about how you feel that the drugs have affected your loved one’s life. Come at them with compassion but be ready for some push back and negative reactions. More than anything, stay calm and be willing to listen to what they have to say. If you are intimidated or believe approaching them on your own may put you at risk, have a friend, family member, or mental health professional join you. You could also work with other close friends or family members to stage an intervention.

Type of treatment

There are dozens of residential treatment centres throughout Australia and even more outpatient facilities that can help. Long-term treatment, those programs designed to last between six and 12 months, offer 24-hour care and begin with a thorough medical detox. Community counselliing and support groups are also of offer.

Throughout treatment, patients are taught both how to live independent of chemical dependency and how to reenter society in recovery. The type of treatment your friend or relative seeks will be dictated by number of factors including their willingness to undergo treatment, time constraints, and finances.

For more information on alcohol and drug treatment, contact the Alcohol and Drug Foundation at 1300 85 85 84, your doctor or a psychologist. If it is a life-threatening emergency, call 000 or seek immediate medical intervention.

There are lots of resources out there to help you and your family members affected by drug or alcohol or other addictions
There are lots of resources out there to help you and your family members affected by drug,  alcohol or other addictions

 

No Sex, could it be an Affair or Warning Sign?

If your bedroom has gone dead, you need to address this. You know your partner and your frequency. If it’s gone off the boil, you may need to light the fire again.

Intimate connection, begins with understanding and appreciation. We get caught up in the daily grind. You ignore your relationship and your partner at your peril.

If you start looking outside for the answers – accusing your spouse of infidelity then you only lose control. Even if there is an affair your best bet is to work on your marriage.

Bring back the fun and frolics
Bring back the fun and frolics

Both men and women need an emotional and safe place to experience their connection. Are you providing this? If so great. You are probably having sex. If not you may need to get on top of this pronto. Reconnect with your partner today. Do something nice, share yourself with love.

Wishing you luck and love!

Dead bedroom or affair?
In union

Find a Flatmate or Your Soulmate in the Suburbs…

I recently was called by the lovely Elizabeth Tilley of the Courier Mail a division of News. com.au . Where I was the featured relationship expert in her great article:

Looking for a flatmate or a soulmate? You might just find both in one of these suburbs.

Relationship psychologist Philipa Thornton said a romance born from a flatmate friendship could lead to a successful life partnership.

“It is a fabulous basis because domestically you’re going to have an idea of what they are like pretty quickly,” she said.

“Proximity makes the heart grow fonder and that can be a really lovely foundation for a relationship to form from a friendship base.”

Relationship psychologist Philipa Thornton.

Relationship psychologist Philipa Thornton.Source:News Limited

Ms Thornton said with a more traditional dating relationship someone’s true colours could remain hidden for quite some time, but a flatmate romance fast-tracked what was normally a slower process.

“The honeymoon phase could be over quicker when you’re living with someone 24/7,” she said.

It can be a great foundation for lasting love.

Originally published as When flatmates become soulmates

Is Relationship Counselling Worth it?

This is a good question you need to ask yourself. Let’s think about this now.

How much have you invested in your relationship? Perhaps you have years together with all the ups and downs a real history of companionship brings. Through the highs and lows of togetherness, you got through it.

Having fun together
Having fun together

You may have children together, who you have watched being born – happy days. With whom you witnessed growing up and how tough that can be at times.

Being there for your children
Being there for your children

Perhaps your family is a blended family and you already know the stress and suffering separation and divorce takes on your children’s lives. The upheaval and challenge of co-parenting are not easy.

Money struggles are no fun
Money struggles are no fun
Divorce is not easy
Divorce is not easy

Maybe this is just your latest relationship, where in the past it hasn’t worked out and you are sick of the merry go round pattern. Where you go for few years with a person and it’s great and then it suddenly seems to go kaput. And weh it all seems to go awry and it’s like you don’t even know your partner. Sorry to say they really haven’t changed it’s the love drugs have worn off and you are seeing them for all they are flaws and all.

It started off so well, what went wrong?
It started off so well, what went wrong?

So is relationship counselling worth it? Should you work on your marriage? Why bother you may say after slogging away for so many years it seems hopeless.

So here’s the deal:

  • If you work on your relationship and it cannot be saved, you have lost nothing.
  • If you work on your relationship and save it, you have gained your relationship.
  • If you do not work on your relationship, you have lost the relationship.

From this logic it is perfectly reasonable to work on your partnership. You have nothing to lose and every thing to gain!

So what is the works that can happen? And if doesn’t help you, you’re only out a buck. At least you can say you tried and that’s worth it.

We can all do with a helping hand from time to time.
We can all do with a helping hand from time to time.

Give it a go.  Call us today to begin your gains Call us at 0434 559 011 or 0411 144 646 to begin the changes that will help salvage your partnership from the brink.

You may also email Philipa Thornton at philipathornton@gmail.com or Chris Paulin at k6cjp1@gmail.com.