When any two people are engaged in a significant relationship (whether married or not), they are engaged in mutual self-discovery. It is inevitable and natural for conflicts, individual preferences and communications challenges to come forward. In fact, this is necessary in order to deepen the relationship – which is what happens when they are dealt with competently within a context of love and faith.
In our first session, we determine if there is still love and a genuine desire to make it work. If so, we can proceed. How are the persons framing what is going on with them? What do they want as an outcome? Further exploration helps me develop my own perspective on their situation. And we create a plan for working together. Our field now has some very effective tools for helping couples forge a new satisfying relationship.
We all have a need to be securely emotionally connected till the day we die. We also have a strong need to be autonomous. Very often these two needs fight with each other and a person will go for one at the expense of the other. Or closeness may scare us as a result of how that was handled when we were growing up. We have varying needs for certainty and clarity. High needs give rise to controlling, which is distancing. We have many more needs that arise in relationship with varying degrees of conflict.
In other words, there are a plethora of competing needs and fears that prevent the kind of relationship we want.
Perhaps, the hardest thing for most of us is to give and receive negative feedback. Too few of us know how to do this in a way that leads to positive outcomes. Nearly all couples that come for help are conflict avoidant – which means that conflicts don’t get resolved, but just sent underground. The conflict that inevitably emerges is the best opportunity for forging a better relationship! Couples can learn to make this so, and this is a focus of my work.
Let us remember that we have many strengths and we are typically pretty decent people. Our fears and conflicts tend to inhibit us from coming from this positive side of us, and often are not seen or accessible to the other person. So we tend to have a worse picture of the other than is true. We also tend to fear bad outcomes when we risk.
The conflict that inevitably emerges is the best opportunity for forging a better relationship! And you can learn to make it so!
When ‘shadow’ needs are unmet or surfaced by the relationship, you and your partner may not understand what’s happening or how to support each other in articulating and meeting those needs. Naturally, when misunderstood or unaddressed, that can result in fights that don’t go anywhere, withdrawal, resentment, passive-aggression and ultimately in divorce, cold endurance, among other consequences.
We now have effective tools to help people:
- Become deeply aware of and accept their strengths, needs, feelings, fears, beliefs and hopes.
- Resolve the fears enough to risk “going for it”.
- Learn positive ways to achieve mutual need fulfillment.
- Be securely connected and autonomous.
- Accept the impermanence and ambiguity of life and relationships.
- Let go of controlling and have faith in the process.
- Be able to show up fully for conflict with honesty, kindness and faith.
Your relationship exists for a good reason. The challenge you and your partner may be experiencing – or the upgrade you and your partner desire – is simply an indicator that you care enough to grow yourself more. You deserve to have a rewarding, vital and ‘full-out’ relationship.
If you are facing a condition or circumstance that you perceive is being negatively influenced by your history, perceptions, interpretations or lifestyle choices, consider Somatic Psychotherapy and/or Bioenergetics Analysis as a way to effectively gain new momentum toward living full-out.