Intimate relationships can delight and challenge us more intensely than anything else in life. We get into relationships for one reason: To get our needs met. Conflict happens when our needs don’t align with our partner’s.
Rather than hoping you won’t have conflicts, it can be a liberating first step to accept that problems happen in virtually all relationships.
One of the most important abilities in intimacy is learning to fully hear the needs, and pain, of one’s partner. Most of us did not even come close to learning this in our family of origin. If we weren’t lucky enough to learn it there, where would we? Many competent people find their skills lacking in this area- they need coaching.
Letting go of the sugary notion that good relationships don’t involve struggle is an important step in growing emotional maturity. When couples learn to lean into the struggle, and become curious about how the triggers arise, the shift from resisting reality to moving toward workability is a beautiful thing to be part of. The struggle becomes the fertilizer for growth, painful as it can be.
My focus tends to be teaching skills, or couples coaching: Practices for couples to communicate more skillfully. One such methodology I use frequently is The Cooperative Process: A set of guidelines for functional, non-competitive communication. Another skill-set I teach couples and individuals is Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), which uses the framework of accepting the inevitability of difficulty, while taking committed action based on one’s values. I also employ a process called Insight Dialogue, based partly in meditation, where couples hold a skillful space together to hear each other with less conflict.
Because the process is more complex when two people are in the work, I offer couples’ sessions in blocks of 2 hours or more, up to a full day of 8 to 10 hours. Please call or email me to discuss this support and learn about scheduling.