For many of us 2016 involved highs and lows. I am certainly glad to be in 2017.
What does 2017 have in store for you? Will it be an easy time or continuing pain?
I’m hoping you want change old patterns and restore harmony.
Too often couples who are stuck in vicious communication cycles feel helpless and desperate. Repeating the same arguments without resolution or relationship repair. You have to have the tools!
Well today is January 1st the day for resolution. So what will be the change you make ? Personally I am aiming for more praise of others and sharing this joy. People really thrive with positive encouragement.
Please let us know your wishes for this year in the comments below.
Want expert relationship counseling? You have found couple therapists providing psychology services for your benefit.
We are back on deck from 10 January, hurry appointments fill fast, so call today for your free 15 minute consult 0434 55 90 11
Over the weekend I saw The Intern with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway starring. ( Spoiler alert I am going to give some things away!)
Anne’s character is a very busy productive woman who has started a very successful internet company, and reluctantly she takes on Robert De Niro as her intern. Well he wins her over of course with his usual charm!
Sadly Robert’s character sees Anne’s screen husband cheating with another school mum. A tad cliche I know. He doesn’t share this until she blurts out her concerns on a business trip. She has known for a while but has hoped it will all go away or ‘he would get it out of his system’.
The ostrich approach rarely works.
The husband’s screen presence is that of a nice guy who has strayed out of his marriage feeling lonely in his chosen role as primary caregiver to their daughter. He comes to his own truth about what is important to him and he decides it is his wife, her having her career and him learning about what led him to step outside of his marriage and breach their marriage vows.
In the best affair apology scene ever ( please feel free to share if you have others you recommend) he confronts the situation head on.
He goes to her work and fesses up. He takes full responsibility for his actionsand choices ( Note he does not blame her, her work, or the lack of time, sex or intimacy). He acknowledges the impact of his unfaithfulness on her and their marriage ( owns the consequences) and commits to change for the future of their partnership by doing what it takes to achieve a new strength in their marriage to repair this marital crisis.
I urge anyone interested in recovering from the effects and impacts of infidelity to watch this, I am sorry it may be painful and sad especially if you are newly aware. Healing can happen with help. And please tell me your memorable moments from the silver screen that have helped you. Look forward to your comments.
Call us today to find out how to repair your relationship crisis.
I am super excited to announce Consultant Psychologist Chris Paulin has joined Marriage Works. Chris is a highly experienced therapist, conveniently based in Woollahra/ Bondi Junction Sydney Eastern Suburbs NSW.
Chris is pleased to be offering his skilled counseling ability to couples and individuals in distress, who want effective help today.
Chris is available in Woollahra/ Bondi Junction.
Please contact him directly to secure your appointment today on 0411 144 646.
Medicare Psychology rebates or Private Health Insurance rebates may apply.
Welcome us all to this New Year. Let us hope it brings many more happy memories. This is a great time of year to make a fresh start in your relationships, whether it be your partnership, marriage, family or friendships. Say Gidday today and make your loved ones feel special.
In her Sunday Life magazine column this week Jane Caro tells us of her struggles as a young woman entering a male dominated field. Read Peggy Olsen from the Mad Men TV series.
From her experience she argues everyone can benefit from seeing a professional counsellor.
I’ve heard Jane speak at an engagement a few years ago and was impressed then.
Jane is a wise woman. She found a counsellor ( not friend,mother or glass of wine) to help with her concerns.
I have to share the counsellors take on her being told she ‘was getting over emotional’ after fighting for her work product. The therapist backed her and said ” How much reaction is enough? How much reaction is too much ? And who decides?” Here she learnt to step away from the judgement of others and set her own boundaries.
As Jane says “just because someone was blaming me for something, it didn’t automatically mean it was my fault or even my problem.”
So true ! We choose our responses and only need to take responsibility for our own stuff.
I loved the counsellors next piece of wisdom when Jane is accused of being selfish. She says ” Do you know what it really means when someone calls you selfish? It means, ‘Don’t you be selfish, let me be selfish.’ It’s just another criticism woman hear usually when they dare to put their own needs first. ”
These life lesson have stayed with Jane enhancing her emotional intelligence and confidence.
Jane recommends counselling to all. With the proviso that it’s with a paid health professional who’s a well trained practitioner who wants to help you.
Thanks Jane for sharing your life lessons.
Are you stuck in unhappy hurtful cycles of despair as you try and make your point? Only to feel rejected and unheard as an argument escalates out of control.
What started out as a simple request begins a foray onto the battlefield of being heard and understood. Trouble is no one waves the white flag; instead both of you dig in and the trenches get deeper and deeper. You both are fighting for right, as is your right. Yet somehow you feel stuck in this battle drama and it really doesn’t feel right.
With both feeling wrong or wronged and the gridlock em-battlement continuing you form a siege mentality. This is where you find yourself bunking down in your respective foxholes, so far you can’t see or hear anything but the battle cries.
There is always a message in these interactions that gets lost in the fallout of grenades launched to your partner that harms. Once you take the pin out of those things it always seems they just have to explode and leaves your partner in pain. And then you feel the pangs of regret and remorse knowing you’ve taken it too far.
American marriage psychologist John Gottman estimates that 60% of all problems couples encounter are ultimately irresolvable. This is because the issue isn’t the problem itself. Rather it is how couples learn to manage the perpetual chestnut problems over the distance. This point is vital to take on board in your marriage.
Stop the fight today. Yes that’s right you need to stop the fight by using your words in a new way.
Yes different words and actions will create new outcomes in your relationship. Learn new skills, deactivate your buttons and release those old trigger points.
It is a total myth that arguing means trouble. What it can mean is dialogue around an issue, which is vital in understanding problems and working together as a team.
Often what gets in the way of this is the circuitous loop of lament as you constantly relay things repetitively without getting each other. It gets boring I am sure not just for you but your partner as you will not feel heard by your partner.
Luckily communication is the most easily remedied issue in couple therapy.
Unhelpful habits can be redirected and channelled into newfound paths of comprehension for you and your partner. Yay!
Sure it will take time, practice and effort but the rewards are there for the taking and begin immediately you change your actions in response.
Once you are aware of your unhelpful habits and patterns you can then progress to creating new neural pathways by changing your interactions.
Yes you will be rewiring your own brain – which I think is pretty neat really.
Wow I can hardly believe when I studied psychology and counselling we thought the brain only had a limited number of neurons for use within one’s lifetime. And if those got damaged or destroyed as in the case of a brain injury with the likes of an accident or alcohol, that was it. There were no more brain cells to be had to recreate connections and atrophy sets in.
Now we know from the neuroscience that our brain has the most amazing capacity to heal and repair. For me this is feels akin to being in a time when the world was flat and discovering then it’s round. Thank you Aristotle, Pythagoras, Copernicus and go Columbus for setting sail!
Time to interrupt those habits by using the E.V.A.N approach. E.V.A.N is a simple formula for hearing your partner to practice and become instinctually a great listener. Yes this is possible!
So let’s meet E.V.A.N.
E stands for Empathy. This is where you let your partner know you get their feelings. So you have a go at guessing what they are feeling. Get it wrong no worries let your partner help you and reflect this.
V is for Validation. With your tone and words you convey you understand or are trying to. (Does not mean you agree though!)
A is both for Appreciation and Acknowledgement. You thank the person for sharing this and acknowledge to courage it may have taken to say something uncomfortable.
N is vital for establishing the Needs. In assertive communication we want to get our needs across to our partner without damaging or setting them into defence mode. Find out what your partner needs by asking them gently.
Putting E.V.A.N into practice.
Partner A: Gosh it seems we sit in front of the telly a lot honey on a Saturday night. (Said in a heated manner)
Partner B: (using E) Honey it sounds like you might be (be tentative not absolute here) feeling frustrated and possibly be a bit bored.
Partner A: Yes now you say it I am frustrated and bored.
Partner B: (using V) You know I can understand that. (This is all you really need to say). It has been a while since we had a night out and we have been working hard) Notice how there is no defence – this partner shows understanding, not problem solving though or agreeing or disagreeing.
Acceptance and Acknowledgement
Partner B: I appreciate you letting me know this.
Partner A: Yes you got that. (Tone softened, snuggles into partner on the couch feeling heard and appreciated.)
Partner B: So honey what can we do about this? What do you need? (Uses teamwork to help the relationship by asking for partners input.)
Partner A: Maybe next week we can have a night out.
Both partners can be proud of the way they managed this interaction and avoided what can often be a typical fight and escalation into hurt. This with the added bonus of coming up with a plan to work on reconnecting their relationship.
So why don’t you practice it and let me know how you went. I would love to hear about it. Plese add your comments and thoughts on your trials of E.V.A.N.
Hello Dads everywhere this is your day to celebrate your special Dadness.
Fathers bring a wonderful influence and meaning to children’s lives.
Parenthood is a terrific learning experience where all the good stuff totally outweighs the nappies, sleepless nights and tears when you get a giggle and a smile from your child. You can bask in their warmhearted delight.
Believe or not seeking professional marital help is becoming the preferred option earlier and being acknowledged as best practice by our federal leaders.
The government has recognised this and committed a budget of $20 million dollars in a relationship-strengthening trial program to prevent divorce and separation.
I’m all for strengthening relationships!
As of now, July 2014 you can visit http://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/programs-services/stronger-relationships-trial
Where the Department of Social Services is offering a one of $200 payment for couple to for counselling and education session.
There are 100,000 therapy sessions, open to all committed couples be they married for years, or seeking pre-marriage counselling, are newlyweds, defacto couples, and is non discriminatory being open for same-sex couples.