“Behind every complaint there is a deep personal longing.” Dr. John Gottman

Many couples have thought about going to counseling, but they wonder if it works? One question I get is, ‘what will the return be?’ Counseling is an effective way to help your relationship but the measurement is not like a report. Your return will be effective communication, rebuilding the friendship and improving intimacy. Counseling is also an investment, but your relationship is worth it. Most people realize that getting rid of your partner does not, necessarily, get rid of the problem, because you are half of the problem. You can walk out of a relationship, but you can’t run away from yourself. 
As I said earlier, communication is one of the key elements in a relationship. John Gottman’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is one of the most important tools in Gottman Therapy. After I access couples I recommend they stop using The Four Horsemen and start using their antidotes. 
Criticism (AKA Attack)                                             
Attacking your partner’s personality                        
or character, usually to prove you                            
are right and they are wrong.

Teach Gentle Startup
I really liked it when you . . . 
Using a kind tone and body language.

Seeing self as victim; warding off perceived         
Making excuses, yes-butting, whining                    
“It’s not fair.”      

When you talk to me like that I feel
Take responsibility and learn to
control your defent.

Attacking your partner’s sense of self                    
with the intention to insult or                                   
psychologically abuse him/her.  

Build a culture of appreciation.
Tell your partner what you appreciate
about him/her. For example, I really
appreciate your willingness to pitch in
with the chores.                           

Withdrawing from the relationship                        
as a way to avoid conflict. This is                        
also know as the silent treatment.                        
It may be done to try a remain 
neutral in the relationship but comes
across as disapproval and 

Learn to physiologically self-soothe.
For example, learn to take a break and
practice deep breathing exercises or
visualize a safe place.

Whether or not we are wired to communicate this way or not, it’s important to learn the antidotes to The Four Horsemen. If you find after reading this article that it isn’t enough, then please call me at (650) 892-0357 for a consultation.


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