Showing up for life 

The theme of my week has been the importance of showing up. In a world where with the click of a mouse and/or the swipe of a debit card we can send condolences, comfort, and pseudo connection I’ve been struck by the power of showing up. No one can read your mind and often our intentions are assumed by others. By showing up we communicate our thoughts and intent clearly. 

Here are some ideas of how to show up in your life for those most important to you:

Take flowers to someone

Say thank you in person

Look people in the eye

Compliment what you admire

Shake someone’s hand

If you love them, say it! Again and again.

When you feel the urge to say just about anything to make someone feel better; hug them instead.

Hold your loved ones hand

Be patient with emotion. Feelings come and go but some linger… that’s ok.

Human interaction truly matters. Don’t let the digital world fool you into thinking otherwise.

The Question for Your Partner

Couples therapy can look different from couple to couple and I have been working on finding the key ingredients. Those components that seem to help every couple at every stage of their relationship.

Meaning making appears to be one of those key ingredients. We all do it from the time we wake up until we go to sleep. As human beings we don’t just take in facts and observations we make meaning from that information. Sometimes this is totally unconscious. For example, this was the first frosty morning here in Bend Oregon. For some people the first frost is a sign that summer is gone. For me it means ski season is closer!

Perhaps the best question to ask your partner when you don’t feel you are seeing eye to eye is, “What does that mean to you?”

Examples:

“I hear there is a lot of change for you at work lately, what does that mean to you?”

“When I got upset yesterday, what did that mean to you?”

“When we couldn’t agree last night and went to bed upset, what did that mean to you?”

Look for ways to understand your partners experience and you will discover no matter how long you have been together there is so much you don’t know.

The Way We Describe Children

Perhaps it is backlash for all of the participation trophies and unfounded praise our culture is accustom to offering children these days but I have never heard children described in terms of their deficits so often.

It seems my work with children and their families commonly begins with uniting all of the deficits from the child. In the past it seemed parents would reflect, “it feels like he isn’t listening to me” but that has morphed to “how do I get my ADHD child to listen to me.”

Maybe the internet has turned us all into diagnosticians or maybe the school system has become the leading authority on your child and their behavior.

Either way, my dream as a family therapist is that parents would return to seeing their children as human beings on a complex journey of maturing and not a list of abilities and deficits.

 

Co-Couples Therapy

To be honest, I am just as surprised as you.

There is a part of me that has been trained by our society to believe that there is no way something I enjoy so much could benefit the world. Isn’t work supposed to be dull and mundane?

Long ago when I graduated with my masters degree in marriage and family therapy and Michael started his, we had hoped one day to work together. At that time, we thought working together in our own private practice built on our convictions was the dream.

Instead, over the last year we have found our calling.

Working with couples together.

I am intentional about naming it a “calling.” It isn’t niche, we didn’t build this practice with this service in mind. We have yet to discover a sustainable way to bill or market it, but it is working. We are seeing couple after couple walk away reporting a stronger more fulfilling relationship. We are helping couples identify what is working for them and the narratives or beliefs that hold them back. We are creating a space in which more perspectives equates more options. We hold space for gender roles and rules, not just from one genders perspective.

Stop in for a free 20 minute consultation to see if this is calling you too!

Call Рtext Рconnect  (541) 639-2986

 

 

On Communication

The number one problem as defined by couples is typically communication. As a therapist the words “we need help communicating” has come to mean a lot of different things. It can mean everything from we hardly talk about our problems to we don’t have sex enough.

However, there is one tool that can help any and everyone communicate better. Don’t make assumptions. When you feel yourself building a story about an interaction with someone use that as a question to check in with that person. Say something like, “when you said     fill in the blank    I thought you meant     fill in the blank   , is that what you meant?”

A large part of communication is the exchange of information and so often despite communication skills or being as clear as we think we can be, the information is straight up misinterpreted. And when two people are operating from two different understandings of the same information that is the beginning of the communication problem.

So head it off at the pass, nip it in the bud, and quash that argument before it happens. Simply follow up and make sure you are both understanding each other before you get angry, hurt, sad, anxious, or feel your relationship is doomed.