My Retreat is based on the book "Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for Connection" by Sue Johnson. Here is a sample from the book which explains a little about our program material:
"For years, therapists have viewed these demon dialogues as power struggles. They've attempted to resolve couples' fights by teaching them problem-solving skills. But this is a little like offering Kleenex as the cure for viral pneumonia. It ignores the attachment issues that underlie the pattern. Rather than conflict or control, the issue, from an attachment perspective, is emotional distance.
And what's frustrating to people is not knowing how to bridge that emotional distance. In my office, men sometimes tell me, "I do all kinds of things to show I care. I mow the lawn, bring in a good salary, solve problems, and I don't play around. Why is it that in the end, these things don't seem to matter, and all that counts with my wife is that we talk about emotional stuff and cuddle?" I tell them, "Because that's just the way we are made. We need someone to pay real attention to us, to hold us tight. Have you forgotten that you need that, too?"
When we fight with our partners, we tend to follow the ball as it goes over the net, paying attention to the last barb lobbed at us—and not whether we even want to be in the game at all. It's possible to break out of the demon dialogues, but the first step is to be aware of the game itself, not just the play-by-play. Once you realize you are latched onto your pattern of arguing, you can agree to put the whole game on hold.
Disappointments are always part of relationships. But you can always choose how you handle them. Will you react defensively, out of fear, or in the spirit of understanding? Let's say your partner says, "I don't feel like having sex tonight." You can take a deep breath and think about how much she loves you, and say, "Gee, that's too bad, I was really looking forward to that." Or you can spit out a sarcastic, "Right! Well, we never make love anymore, do we?"
Of course, you may not feel you really have a choice if your panic button has been pushed and your emotions are boiling over. But just being aware that it has been pushed can help calm you down. You can think to yourself, "What is happening here? I'm yelling. But inside, I'm feeling really small." Then you can tell your partner, "I got really scared there—I'm feeling hurt."
If you take that leap of faith and respond with such a bid for re-connection, you have to hope your partner will, too, instead of saying something hurtful like, "Well, you're being asinine and difficult." That's the tricky part about relationships: To change the dance, both people have to change their steps."
My 2019 Annual Couples
Retreat will be
7545 Irvine Center Drive | Suite 200
Irvine, CA 92618
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist | Specializing in Better Relationships and Better Living