Surprise! They’re Not Changing. How About You?

by Sherry Katz Friday, June 12, 2015

Is one of your reasons for starting therapy because every approach you’ve tried in a particular relationship increases your frustration, hurt, and sadness?

And after explaining your outlook and reasoning to this person many times, the relationship patterns are still the same?

Therapy will give your sincere and heartfelt effort and concern, a new direction. 

Step One is accepting the profound realization that you are only able to change yourself. 

Despite your many good ideas and earnest care, the other person in the relationship, whether partner, sibling, adult child, any meaningful family member, may not want to understand your point, or want to agree with it.

The deeper problem is not necessarily that you have bad ideas or that the other person is intentionally being difficult.  

The discontent you are facing in the stressed relationship, is a pathway to knowing more about your own standards and satisfactions in relating.

If you are upset because the other person does not accept your suggestions, instead of inwardly disapproving, utilize this feeling of rejection as a sign of how highly you value that your advice is followed. 

If the other person criticizes what you consider key points in your value system, then allow yourself to appreciate that you have a clear value system.

If the other person dismisses your feelings, then this is your moment to be even more aware that your emotions are a way to express yourself.

All of these interactions are painful and tiring to some degree. 

Your reason for talking with a therapist is to stabilize and ground your perspective, believe in your right to be who you are, and strengthen your confidence in handling your part in a relationship that is currently stressed, and any relationship that develops in your world.

Sherry Katz, LCSW is clinically trained in systems relational therapy, and practices marriage and family therapy in her solo practice located in Ridgewood, NJ.  Comments and questions are welcome.  www.newviewsfamilytherapy.com

A New Language

by Julie Davis Tuesday, September 30, 2014

At the dinner table, we said, “Hey, pass the stew,” and “Give me the gravy when you’re done.”  We didn’t say “Please” and we didn’t say “Thank you.”  We talked over each other and cut each other off.  Conversations were loud and there was a lot of joking and making fun of each other. 

My first dinner date with my future husband was almost the last (I found out years later…).

At his dinner table, they said, “Please, when you can, pass the stew.  Thank you.  Are you sure you are done?” and “Would you like more? Can I get you anything?  I’m fine.  Thank you.  Please take the last roll.”  They talked in turn and listened patiently.  Conversations were soft and light – usually about something outside of the room. 

My language was interpreted initially as rude and crude.  His language was boring and superficial to me.  It’s amazing we had a second date!

But we took the time to ask questions and discovered that the language was different but the intention the same.  We both wanted to be heard and understood and were interested in hearing and understanding each other.  So we created our own language.  He became bolder in expressing raw thoughts and feelings and I became softer and added “Please” and “Thank you” to my vocabulary.

What language is comfortable for you?  If you feel “in conflict” with someone (child, boss, spouse, employee, friend, etc) take a moment to consider:

This person isn’t purposefully rude/avoidant/loud/dismissive/disrespectful; he/she just speaks a different language.  Underneath this language is someone wanting to be heard and understood and accepted. 

If this person is interested (it takes two to communicate and grow closer) then initiate a discussion on how YOU can learn his/her language:

What do I say that makes you feel closer to/more distant from me?

What can I say that would make you feel closer to me?

Listen to the answers. Say “Thank-you.” Work together. Create a new language that works for both of you.

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keep people stuck (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com).  She also coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.juliedavismft.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service.  Send “subscribe” in subject line to: julie@juliedavismft.com.  Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California; New York), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

Tags:

Couples | Intimacy | marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Self-Awareness | Social Work | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy

The Story Behind The Story

by Julie Davis Monday, July 14, 2014

 

Consider this week that everything coming at you - anger, fear, judgment, criticism, avoidance - isn't personal; that it has a story behind it: 


-Spouse's anger might really be fear about his job.

-Child's resistance might actually be a natural development towards individuation.

-Boss's criticism might be rooted in his fear of being criticized by his boss. 

-Neighbor's avoidance of your "dog poop" letter might be he's busy taking care of sick grandma.

 

The only way to know is to ask.  This week - instead of getting defensive, offended, scared, angry - ask for the story behind the story.

 

Julie Davis uncovers and clears up deeply embedded beliefs and unresolved emotions that keep people stuck (www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com).  She also coaches people how to stay clear, calm and strategic in everyday life with healthy ways of thinking, feeling and behaving (www.juliedavismft.com).  Get free weekly insight and guidance by joining Julie’s Tuesday Email service.  Send “subscribe” in subject line to: julie@juliedavismft.com.  Julie is a Certified Rapid Resolution Therapist, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (North Carolina, California; New York – pending), Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and New Life Network Christian Counselor (www.newlife.com).  704-807-1101.

Tags:

Anxiety | Couples | Healing | Intimacy | marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | Mood | Mood Booster | relationships, friendships | Self-Awareness | Self-Care | Social Work | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy

Healing After Sexual Trauma

by Gilbert Bliss Friday, July 4, 2014

I have had the privilege of working with patients who have had sexual trauma early in their lives, either as children or young adults.  As a result of this opportunity, I have come to believe that it can be important for some who have experienced such a terrible experience, either once or over time, to work with a therapist of the same gender as the abuser.  While I do not, in any way, believe that anyone should seek the advice of a therapist with whom they would experience immediate discomfort, I am of the deep conviction that a healing relationship with a therapist of the same gender as the abuser could help to lift the limitations a patient might feel with regard to letting themselves be available for a meaningful relationship with another person.

Such a venture is a very tender process, involving time and an openness of expression that could help a patient be liberated of old fears while becoming wise about how to best take care of themselves in situations that, after working through the trauma, might otherwise make them too anxious to allow involvement.  This is the process of moving from the position of victim to permission to thrive, perhaps on an even higher level than even the patient might have allowed themselves to consider.

As with any patient I see, my approach is collaborative.  If a patient is too uncomfortable with the work we are doing, I change my approach to take their feelings into account.  If the work just feels like it is "too much", we take a break.  No one should feel like a prisoner to the therapeutic endeavor.

I invite people who have had such difficult experiences to consider what, to some of my colleagues, seems a radical approach.  I would hope that the discovery would be that there is nothing to lose but some time.

Gil Bliss is a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C) with a private psychotherapy practice in Towson, Maryland.  Gil has worked with a wide variety of patients, including individuals, couples and families, along with grief work with children.  His web site is www.gblisscounselor.com.

Tags:

Abuse | Anxiety | Couples | Healing | Intimacy | marriage | Marriage and Family Therapy | Mental Health | relationships, friendships | Sexual | Sexual Trauma | Therapeutic Relationship | Therapy | Trauma | Treatment Modalities

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