Saturday, December 6, 2008

THE ART OF INTIMACY

TWO ROADS DIVERGED IN A YELLOW PATH


There are two paths that couples can take when conflict happens. When couples are in distress and in pain they will usually travel down the well-trodden path called the Power Struggle. There is another path called healing and growth but most couples have not received the tools or skills needed to travel down this road.

The Path to the Power Struggle

When conflict arises our natural response is to do something. Everything in our being; physically, emotionally and mentally prepares us to respond to a perceived threat. At times we react as if our life is being threatened. When this happens our rational mind goes out the window and what is present is our primitive brain/defenses which is shouting DEFEND, DESTROY, FLEE, DON’T JUST STAND THERE DO SOMETHING!!! When we are caught up in this reactive dance our connection with our partner is ruptured and we enter into a familiar, painful dance called the Power Struggle. The end result of this dance is a deep wounding of each other and ourselves. This is not what most couples yearn for but unfortunately they don't know what else to do and often find themselves stuck in a relationship that is going nowhere fast.

The Path Towards Healing and Growth

There is another way/path we can take when conflict arises; a healing path that leads to understanding, love, growth and connection!

As a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist I have encountered many couples who are stuck in their relationship, wanting to heal but lacking the tools or skills to build a more loving, empathic and intimate relationship. This is where a healing approach is essential and it is what I teach couples both in therapy sessions and in my workshops.
I guide couples on how to develop safety, learn to set aside reactivity, defenses, the story they are telling themselves about their partner and connect with their partner in a way that brings connection, healing and empathy into the relational space.

I use Imago Relationship Therapy to help couple's transform their relationship; teaching them how to:
  • Become a safe, healing and loving presence for each other
  • Connect through empathy and compassion instead ofcontempt and anger
  • Take responsibility for their own feelings
  • Understand how they each contribute to the conflict
  • Approach conflict in a different way so that they learn more about each other and develop deeper intimacy, passion and joy
Steps towards Connection

The next time conflict arises and try using the following steps:

Become aware of the physical, emotional and mental cues that signal you are feeling wounded and are preparing to lash out or run away:
  • PICTURE A STOP SIGN
  • Take as many breaths as you need to in order to soothe yourself
  • Become aware of the story you are telling yourself and buying into.
  • If you are still reactive call a time out.
  • During the time out look at your own actions (How did I contribute to the conflict? What is my wound that is being touched by my partner?)
  • Come back, invite your partner to visit your world only bringing their heart, eyes and ears
  • Share what you have discovered about yourself, your triggers, your reactions with your partner.
  • Share how you would like to be different, what needs healing, what in you needs to grow.
  • Thank your partner for listening as this is truly a gift.-Acknowledge and appreciate each others effort.
For more information about our services please feel free please visit my website at http://www.acaringcounselor.net/


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