Couples often come for help because there has been infidelity, or the mutually acknowledged imminent risk of an affair. Also often, in completing a clinical interview and exploration of the history of the relationship, it becomes evident that ‘cheating’ was happening in significant ways before the physical affair.
The research data out of The Gottman Institute is long term, and unambiguous, encompassing multitudinous couples. Sometimes, something apparently innocuous grows to become A Thing which can threaten the health of an already existing intimate relationship. When individuals within a committed relationship begin to make emotional connections with a degree of intimacy that rivals their primary partnership, trouble brews
It is a myth of epic proportions (and a completely unrealistic expectation) that one individual is capable of meeting all of another’s need for emotional connection and intimacy. Paradoxically, it also a reality of being human that we need to experience a degree of intimate connection with another individual that is mutually exclusive; to be known and accepted as is. This need is what makes the pain of betrayal so significant. When an individual, as part of a couple, discovers that this degree of intimacy has been extended to a third party, emotional and psychological security evaporates.
In what ways might you be unintentionally or inadvertently jeopardising the health & happiness of your relationship?
Currently, over on LinkedIn, one of the discussion groups is having a pretty rockin’ debate about the “proper” decor for a therapist’s office. The comments range all over the map, from “stark, bare, and business-like,” to “looks like my living room,” and everything in between.
This is actually an important point …and guess what? There’s been some research done. Since the primary element in effective therapy is the therapeutic relationship, it stands to reason that the next most important element would be the environment. So, here we have the research and I am chuffed to know my office fits right in with the findings. Dim lighting, comfort, and safety are the the hallmarks of more client self-disclosure, and overall participation in the therapy. So here’s my office… feel free to drop in talk to me.
My friend Anna-Lou is an amazing bundle of everything Tigger would be if he were a grrrrrrl. Or maybe, Anna-Lou just channels the spirit of Tigger on the way to wherever she is going. We live very far apart and I read her posts and see her in my mind’s eye gracefully flitting, book(s) in hand, from one shiny thing to another, scattering a frothy mess of feather bits, sparkles, and paint splots. (Anna-Lou will snicker. I said “gracefully flitting” instead of what she really does.)