When thinking about how to treat problems with childbirth & sexual intimacy, there are a couple of issues that must be addressed right up front:
The partners must make sure they clear the birth mother medically, and must make sure that the mother’s physician says that it is ok for the mother’s body to be sexually active.
Closeness, togetherness, companionship, and warmth are four of the words that jump out of the Dictionary definition. So if we take those four terms and expand a bit, it would mean that Omaha couples that wants to work on their relationship would work on being:
Those are a lot of what the goals often are in couples therapy. Realize that it often does not work to tell people to do something, even if they know it would be good for them, so in couples therapy in Omaha, the therapist has to get the couple to realized what they are saying and needing. So the therapist doesn’t just say, “Be Closer!”
A patient the other day commented on how exhausted she was following the previous session. We had worked on important, intimate issues for both of them, and it was hard work. They also had a good week, getting along well. Both of these reports indicate that they are making progress. And then we dug into the hard work that came up in that session.
Priya Parker has a TED Talk where she talks about how she looks at gatherings and how to make them better. She gives some useful ideas about how to change a gather of executives as well as family over a Thanksgiving dinner. She also mentions how there can be such a things as an unhealthy peace and unhealthy controversy couples relationships. Let’s spend a moment on each. Both occur in couples and couples therapy.
The researcher, Dr. John Gottman, is more well know than his more clinical wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, perhaps because of his books, and his self-confidence, and his research. But they have been married for over 31 years so it can be interesting to hear what the research/clinical team have to say about their own relationship and making it work. They have a short article in the New York Times about making their own relationship a loving and long lasting one.
I have written previously about Brene Brown’s show, The Call to Courage, that is on Netflix. Also, have previously said that I think it is worth watching. I would like to return to the show and talk about her and vulnerability.
Shame is a powerful issue in many people’s lives. It is often powerful and one doesn’t even realize that it is banging hard on the door. Shame can get in the way of couples doing their own work because the partners don’t realize that shame is flying around inside oneself and being tossed at the partner. One answer lies in looking to ones own feelings, and to look for when ones feelings are engorged by shame.
There is something that I watch in the work of couples therapy that I believe is crucial for me to take home as well, that is, opening up softly. “Opening up softly” is the opposite of “harsh startups,” a term I learned from John Gottman, the “country’s foremost relationship expert,” as he calls himself. Dr. Gottman is very renowned, has gathered a great deal of research, and devoted his life’s work to understanding and helping treat couples that are in trouble. Harsh startups occur when one (or both) partners jump right in loudly and accusingly towards the partner. Really, this is something to work at getting better about. Truly, if you are a person using harsh startups, it is time to work on approaching your partner in another way.
Brene Brown is a speaker, therapist, and researcher who has a new documentary (that actually is quite funny and could almost be stand up comedy) on Netflix called Brene Brown, The Call to Courage. If you are in a partnership and want to learn about some ways of doing a better job of being partners, you would do well to view this show. She has talked about shame a great deal and this particular show is about courage and vulnerability. How vulnerable are you in your relationship? Perhaps in all your relationships?
I saw a Gold Star couple today. By “Gold Star,” I mean they were magnificent in how they had worked on what we talked about over the first and only couple of sessions. Since the previous session (which was the second session), they had each worked on the sexual relationship, and how they talked to each other about sex, and were able to have a nice time together. They had each worked on how they are about finances. Also, thought they had started the conversation by not having a discussion that was going well. They ended it, and then tried again a bit later and did better, and worked though some pieces of how they handle their finances.