A hot new intervention in therapy in the last 15 years is the use of something called “mindfulness”. It is a cognitive behavioral technique that is aimed at helping a person learn to train their mind to live in the “here and now”. It is commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and related disorders. It is also used to help athletes with their functioning and with people who are suffering from chronic illness to manage pain and other symptoms. A great book on using...
I plan on talking more about individuation, enmeshment, and disengagement as well as the role anxiety plays in these relational dynamics in a later post, but for now I want to focus on what I have found to be one of the most helpful of Bowen’s concepts: triangles.
Bowen’s concept of triangles is a relational idea for understanding how individuals respond under pressure…or moments of anxiety. I am going to use a fairly benign and common situation to illustrate how triangles work.
An older but incredibly helpful theory in field of understanding human relationships is called Transactional Analysis, first developed by psychiatrist Eric Berne in the 1950’s. Here is the basic gist of it. Each person operates, communicates, and behaves out of three different parts of themselves: a parent self, an adult self, and a child self. So sometimes when we talk to another person we talk in a parent, authoritative voice. In other situations when we talk to someone we talk in a...
Drs. John and Julie Gottman, couples therapists, researchers, and workshop leaders, teach therapists and couples to be on the look out for what they call “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” or “the four signs of the end”.
Certainly, treating symptoms and presenting issues is the goal (and here are a few ideas for treating such symptoms of depression), but sometimes addressing symptoms without understanding underlying roots just puts a band-aid on a gaping wound. Here is when a clinician has to be careful. A client might start to feel better after the first session or two and with that minimal relief choose not to come back…and the real culprit for the symptoms has never been addressed.
Simple parenting? I said SIMPLE...not easy. These are two simple, direct steps to help you navigate your younger or older child's big emotions and reactions. These steps are easier said that done, but totally doable for you with some ongoing, intentional work.
You are about to beat your head against the wall. Are you EVER going to get past this argument? It seems like the two of you have been struggling with this issue for the entirety of your relationship.
Perhaps the two of you constantly fussing over finances. One of you is better at saving than the other…or perhaps you are both good at saving…or spending…just on different things!
Will the two of you EVER move on from this topic?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Most of us are afraid of conflict. We find ways of avoiding it or solving it without really having to deal with it. Often all that we do to avoid the conflict can cause more problems than the conflict itself. Perhaps, if we changed the way we see conflict it would change how we respond to it. Dr. David Schnarch, a well known relationship therapist, says that every relationship is like a crucible. Crucibles primarily do two things: they get REALLY hot AND they refine, or burn off impurities.
David Schnarch, renowned relationship therapist, says: “When we can’t control (or parent) ourselves we try to control (parent) others.” We are all on a journey in learning how to self-soothe. It is an ongoing journey. Self-soothing does not mean we don’t need another person. On the contrary, when we have the ability to self-soothe we are in a better position to call on the support of others AND be that support for them.