To be an intentional couple, one of the core skills that must be mastered is the art of listening. We have been given gross information about what listening is and how we should do it. Some folks think that they should be making grand facial expressions while mutter “uh huh…”, nodding their head and wrinkling their brow to show that they are listening. But listening is something entirely different. Today we are going to talk about why we listen and how we alter our approaches to listening.
We listen for four key reasons: to allow someone to vent, to help them unpack something in their head, to seek understanding, and perhaps to resolve something. Let’s look at each of them independently.
What is yelling? When a partner denies that they yell, I wonder if they know what they sound like. I think there are two distinct types of yelling. The first, is the basic and popular raised voice yelling. It often starts at our toes and rolls up our core until it comes out of our mouths as a strong bellowing exhortation of increased volume, often accompanied by words that would offend us if they were spoken to us. The other type of yelling is more complex. It is tight and constricted. It starts in our throat. It is not loud and bellowing. The volume is not out of range. However, it is the tone – sharp, clipped, judgmental, and cuts like a knife. It feels like yelling to the recipient.
I always say “Come to couples’ therapy when there is something to work on. It is an easier road than when you wait until you are injured and broken and looking for salvation and healing.” One of the gratifying aspects of being a couples and sex therapist is when a couple decides to come see me when they are building their future rather than when they come to me in distress. Premarital therapy is one of those opportunities where both partners are looking to learn more, grow together and find some open curiosity. However, this can also be a time of great stress and challenging relationships.
There are so many times that I am sitting with a couple who are in distress, feeling unheard and struggling through difficult communication. They unintentionally are making the process so much harder for themselves. I can see them getting stuck in the who is right argument and discounting the reality that there can be more than one truth. This is where a small shift can make a big difference!
Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see children of color with parents of different ethnicity. It is more acceptable than it was back in the 1970’s. You see it in different television shows, big movie cinema and in commercials. I became a single parent to two beautiful biracial children in the 1990’s.
Every semester I hold a special class for my students. It’s special because it’s not about business, it’s about life. It’s about taking a moment to talk about something more important than management, accounting, marketing, logistics, and ethics, it’s a class about them. I teach in the college of business where I spend the majority of my classes teaching my kids the language of commerce and how to create a venture from nothing more than an idea. One day each semester I devote entirely to them. I metaphorically hold a mirror up to them and ask them to gaze into it deeply and study the person on the other side of the glass.
Jill and Don wanted to explore alternative dispute divorce options as they believed that their 7- year marriage was irretrievably broken. Arriving at this painful decision was all the more poignant for this young couple since they had a one-year old son.
In a 15th century poem attributed to James I of Scotland, Cupid has three arrows: gold, for a gentle “smiting” that is easily cured; the more compelling silver; and steel, for a love-wound that never heals. Indeed, romance, rancor and revenge often comprise the trilogy of arrows in the quivers of our impassioned clients as well.
Reese, a 17 year old female high school student, came out to her friends and family as bisexual a couple of years ago. Most of her family told her it was “just a phase” and now her friends ask her, “Are you sure you’re bisexual?” and “Are you still bisexual, you haven’t dated any girls?” These questions may seem innocent and inquisitive, but they dismiss Reese’s feelings and her friends are essentially telling her that doesn’t know herself. These questions and comments are microaggressions, intentional or unintentional insults, slights and/or derogatory questions and comments at target marginalized groups of people; in this case LGBTQ people.
The #MeToo campaign, Women’s Marches and the current news cycles are flooded with women pushing back on the patriarchy and controls placed on women. Women’s bodies are being controlled, not wholly by themselves, but by pharmaceutical companies, doctors, the media, and insurance companies. What is considered normal and natural during menstruation is determined by the family care doctor, OBGYN, or fertility specialist who learns about medications to treat symptoms defined as problems by the pharmaceutical companies. The pharmaceutical companies then go on to promote these drugs -- life enhancers -- in the media and through a focused campaign to get the medical community to prescribe them. Little did the American public realize that menstruation has become a multi-billion dollar a year business.
Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Halloween. Christmas. Then add all those little holidays and milestones you didn’t even know about like Olivia’s 6 month birthday. You can’t escape it: the bottomless pit of children’s pictures on social media. Many people secretly moan and groan but for me and my wife – two years in to infertility treatments – it’s feels like a digital snowball to the face.
Food is more than physical nourishment. It's love. It's a cultural, sensorial and emotional experience. It ties us to our family, our heritage, holds memories and provides opportunity for connection. It can be one of life's greatest pleasures. It can also be a source of pain.
Jumping into therapy to work on depression or anxiety or relationship challenges can be hard to do in the first place. Add to that stress the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of providers in Boston to choose from - how do you do it?
My parents were married for 52 years. My maternal grandparents 66 years. That's a combined 118 years of marriage! They never spent a day in the office of a couples counselor. So why do I think couples counseling is an absolute MUST for most relationships?
As we wake up this morning, we are faced with the reality of the results of the election. Many people are thrilled and many are horrified. Most are shocked.
For those who dislike, or are scared of, the idea of a Donald Trump presidency, there will likely be in-fighting and finger-pointing.
Read more at Clear and Now Holistic Healing Center
Diets don't work. You've heard it before and likely know it to be true. Still, you fall victim to the trap - eat this, get thin, live happily ever after. Has it worked yet? No. But maybe this time will be different, right? It won't be. You may need to circle around the diet cycle a few times before you truly believe diets don't work.
Learn more about Metrowest Nutrition.
Do you believe in soulmates? Chances are you do.
Last year, a survey conducted in the U.S. by Wakefield Research found that 76% of Americans believe in a soulmate. Rates were even higher for millennials (86%). So what is a soulmate?
So often couples come to see me in great frustration because each partner thinks the other is trying to fix them or control them. This behavior comes out in a variety of ways… often intended to be helpful or focused on making the relationship better. However, it often results in anger and disconnect. Partners report feeling misunderstood and begin to feel justified when their helping ways are questioned. They say things like “If you would only listen to me…” and “I told you so...” and “Don’t feel that way baby….”
Fall is a time of transition. Transition of season, schedule, daylight and often, mentality. September marks “back-to-school” for students and for the rest of us, a renewed focus on our work. From reconnecting with classmates and colleagues to fourth quarter meetings, conferences and trainings, it’s easy to let the busyness of the season get the best of us. These 5 simple strategies may help you stagrounded and enjoying one of the greatest seasons the Northeast has to offer.
Several months ago, I had the privilege to visit one of my dearest friends in another city. Since we so rarely get to see one another, we tried to take a photo together, and I planned to put it on Facebook and Instagram. It took no fewer than 15 tries to get a good shot. Every time my eyes were open, hers were closed. When both of our eyes were open, I wasn't smiling. In the next shot, she was distracted by someone to her left. Finally, we were both smiling, with our eyes open, and looking into the camera, but there was a huge group of tourists in the background, blocking the entire landmark we were standing in front of. Finally, we got a halfway decent picture with both of us and the landmark all in the picture.