Practicing Mindfulness in Relationships: Creating a Bigger Container

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Every moment offers opportunities for truth. One opportunity is to simply be aware of the external reality – sights, sounds, and sensations. Another is awareness of our internal reality – thoughts, feelings and emotions. This is mindfulness: being aware of the present moment on purpose. So why is mindfulness important for relationships? When we are practicing mindful awareness, it is as if we gain an ally for our relationship. Mindful awareness is as close as we can come to a third-party observer in our relationship, without actually having an “objective” third-party observer such as a marriage counselor or couple therapist…. Continue Reading This Article

Avoiding Projections Through Appreciation

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A common way we get into trouble in intimate relationships is through projection. We project onto our partner how we think they should be or act, usually through the lens of how we learned to be and act from our parents. We may have a fantasy of the ideal partner, or ideal behaviors we want from our partner, and we hold them to these unattainable projections. The result of this is disappointment for both parties. Your partner only knows how to be themselves and will resent you if they are seen in and treated through idealized expectations. Thus, there needs… Continue Reading This Article

Patterns from the Past: Relational Implications of Avoidant and Anxious-Ambivalent Cultures

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When we are in an intimate relationship and feel vulnerable, defensive or shameful, usually it’s our old stuff that is being triggered — patterns of interaction that we developed with our parents. When we are young, we learn to act and respond in ways that optimize our attention and love from our parents. Some behaviors may be encouraged, while others discouraged. Here I want to illustrate two common examples and how they manifest in adult relationships: avoidant culture and anxious-ambivalent culture. Avoidant culture emerges if one or both parents seem to primarily value the idea of a “nice” family, and not… Continue Reading This Article

First Things First: The Primacy of Partnership in Blended Families

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There is no magic bullet to maintaining and raising children within a blended family (a family with children from multiple relationships), and I am no expert in the finer points of day-to-day interactions in a blended family. But while working with couples with blended families, I have found they do better when they follow one basic principle: they hold each other as primary in the relationship, or we could say, as the king and queen of the household. This may sound straightforward enough, but it is not always easy to put into practice, especially since there are usually overt and covert… Continue Reading This Article

Travel Well With Your Partner For a Happy Relationship

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This blog post was inspired by a trip to Thailand with my wife. Obviously, traveling can be fun. When you travel with someone, the awe and excitement of the new experiences, people, and places are mutually amplified. As a result, bonds are naturally strengthened with your travel partner as you two are co-creating shared memories. If you two are traveling effectively together, you are also co-creating a template that is ideal for an optimal and secure-functioning relationship. To co-create this template, you and your partner must communicate overtly and covertly in ways that assure each other that you have the… Continue Reading This Article

Part 2 of Conversation with Kit Maloney, CEO of O’actually

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This is Part 2 of my conversation with Kit Murray Maloney. Here we talk about: Getting support from others with your relationship Being a King and Queen in your relationship As stated in Part I, Kit has recently added the service of working with women individually to help women regain their vitality and sexual energy. I highly recommend her! Check out Kit’s private coaching page here and her website. Getting support from others with your relationship Kit: I have talked to a lot of girlfriends about the dichotomy between the celebration of marriage and then that moment amongst girlfriends when… Continue Reading This Article

Part 1 of a Conversation with Kit Maloney, CEO of O’actually

Kit Murray Maloney is a colleague and friend. She has spent her last 15 years as an activist, advocate, academic, and entrepreneur focused on women’s sexual health. In 2015, she launched O’actually to celebrate genuine female orgasms in order to heal the world through a prioritization of women’s sexual pleasure. She has recently added the service of working with women individually to help women regain their vitality and sexual energy. I highly recommend her! Check out Kit’s private coaching page, her website, and her really cool article in Mind Body Green. I really enjoy our conversations about relationships, sex, and… Continue Reading This Article

11 Tips for Secure-Functioning in Intimate Relationships

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The following list is adapted from my study with Stan Tatkin, and from attachment research.  Secure-functioning relationships allow us to be the best we are individually. It does not mean that you will lose your identity or freedom.  In fact, you will have more, since trust is a guarantee you two make.  Your relationship will become a place of support and love.  As well as a place to call home and restore life-energy. 1) The purpose of a serious relationship is not what you can extract or gain from it. It is about the safety, security, and mutuality you create… Continue Reading This Article

My Experience with PACT Professionally and Personally

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PACT was developed by Stan Tatkin, it stands for: the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy. Before I began to study PACT, I didn’t work with couples. I worked only with individuals and in groups. Also, when I attended the PACT level I training, I had been divorced the year before, so I didn’t exactly feel like a relationship guru. I just knew I wanted to be an effective couple therapist understanding and experiencing how truly difficult relationships can be. After my divorce (and during my first marriage), secure-functioning principles were not at the forefront of my orientation in relationships. As… Continue Reading This Article