Crisis Averted – Healthy Conflict Resolution

In this episode, Tarah and EJ dissect a recent conflict that they had and how they found a healthy resolution that led to increased confidence in their ability to solve problems together. They explore common pitfalls that they and many couples fall into in emotionally activated moments.

Tarah and EJ have are relationship experts who help couples understand the underlying individual issues that often lead to struggles within the relationship. They normalize the ups and downs of relationships and offer tools to support healthy communication and individual growth.

Our goal is to create a safe environment where couples explore their feelings and grow together. By establishing clear, honest, and compassionate communication, we help strengthen or rebuild the foundation of your relationship.

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Embodied Healing – How Trauma Effects Relationships

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Tarah and EJ interview Robin Memel Fox MA, BC-DMT, LPC, Board-certified Dance/Movement Therapist with over 25 years of experience working in the field of mental health and wellness. Robin has worked with individuals, couples, families and children in both community mental health and treatment centers. She has extensive expertise in trauma, relationships, addiction and couples/family systems.

This episode explores trauma and its effects on individuals and couples.  They define trauma, explore treatment options and help couples learn how trauma can create challenges in self-regulation and conflict resolution. The concept of Embodied Healing is explored, which can help couples become more in tune with themselves in order to feel more connected with their partner.

https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/ptsd-and-relationships/

https://coloradorecoveryservices.org/the-impact-of-unresolved-trauma-on-relationships/

https://drarielleschwartz.com/the-polyvagal-theory-and-healing-complex-ptsd-dr-arielle-schwartz/

https://adta.memberclicks.net/what-is-dancemovement-therapy

https://brickelandassociates.com/trauma-survivor-relationships/

Info on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Post Childhood Experiences (PCEs)

https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/aces-and-toxic-stress-frequently-asked-questions/

https://lindsaybraman.com/positive-childhood-experiences-aces/

 

EMDR:

https://maibergerinstitute.com/emdr-therapy-tools-resources/

https://www.emdria.org/

https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/

Books on understanding trauma and healing (not exhaustive list):

  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
  • Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter Levine
  • Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma: A Workbook for Survivors and Therapists by Janina Fisher
  • The Complex PTSD Workbook by Arielle Schwartz, PhD
  • The Post-traumatic Growth Workbook by Arielle Schwartz, PhD
  • Healing Developmental Trauma, How early trauma affects self-regulation, self-image, and the capacity for relationship by Laurence Heller, PhD and Aline LaPierre, PsyD

Don’t Drop It Like It’s Hot – Communicating with Your Partner about Frustrations

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Often couples avoid addressing issues for various reasons. When they don’t communicate their frustrations or needs, negative feelings can build, and they can begin to express negative emotions in an ineffective way that pulls them apart. Tarah and EJ discuss why couples can become conflict-avoidant and how this can backfire and create more conflict. By creating agreements with your partner about how and when you will communicate frustrations, you can create systems that foster honest and kind communication.

 

Hey Roomie – Losing Intimacy in Your Relationship

In this episode, Tarah and EJ discuss how couples can slowly become distant throughout the course of their relationship. They explore the ups and downs of intimate relationships and some of the common reasons couples end up struggling to feel excited and attracted to one another. They discuss the excitement of the “honeymoon phase” and how many couples become disappointed and distant when intimacy diminishes. They discuss the concept of habituation and how this stresses many relationships in a very subtle way. They offer their expert couples counseling advice and share strategies to sustain loving connect and help couples avoid looking outside of their relationship for love and affection.

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Mindfulness Exercises for Couples

The modern world is full of distractions and obligations. This may lead to increased stress that can cause strain within your relationship with your partner. Mindfulness is a great solution for busy couples to connect with each other. The simplest definition of mindfulness is that it requires you being fully present and focusing your awareness on the moment, rather than being distracted by outside concerns.

These mindfulness exercises can help improve your sense of connection with your partner:

Meditate Together or Separately

Meditation is a great exercise for feeling more connected to the present moment. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on your breathing and paying attention to how your body feels. You also let your mind wander without judgement of your thoughts. Thismay seem like a solitary activity, but it is energizing and rewarding to meditate with your partner.

Set aside time to mediate as often as you can, whether this is once a day or once a week. You can sit in the same room while you are meditating and discuss your experience afterward. Mindfulness can improve your general mental health and you can also experience benefits if you meditate separately. Meditating alone can help you achieve positivity that you can share with your partner.

Affirming Appreciation

One of the best things you can do to cultivate a healthy relationship is to express appreciation for your partner. Feeling underappreciated in a relationship can lead to arguments and resentment. By showing your appreciation for your partner you can help deepen your connection.

Affirming appreciation in a mindful way requires more than simply complimenting your partner. You should both be fully present in the moment. When you have an appreciation you wish to share, ask your partner if he or she has time to hear what you have to say. Then you should sit down together while you share what you appreciate and why it mattered to you. Adding mindfulness to the act of telling your partner something you love about them makes it much more impactful.

Mindfulness During Arguments

When you are in the middle of a confrontation, mindfulness can seem especially difficult. You get so caught up in your thoughts and emotions that you may not truly listen to what your partner is telling you. In arguments, mindfulness is about listening completely and striving to understand what the other person feels and needs.

Cultivating mindfulness in these stressful situations takes regular practice. You should always be reminding yourself to stay engaged and to stay open to your partner’s emotions. If you find yourself going back to old habits, such as prioritizing your own feelings and invalidating those of your partner, then you should acknowledge and correct this. The more you practice, the easier it will be.

If you are finding it difficult to put mindfulness into practice in your daily life, we can provide professional help. He Said She Said couples counseling sessions focus on mindfulness as we strive to help you stay more present and to connect more deeply with each other. Call us today to learn more about our programs. We offer a free consultation to ensure we are the right fit for you.

Benefits of Attending a Couples Retreat

Everyday life can get stressful for couples and sometimes you need to take time to relax, connect, and enjoy yourselves. Our couples retreat is a luxurious vacation that you can take with your partner. You get to experience a great weekend getaway while learning techniques that will improve your relationship. Spending time away together helps you connect and is also a great way for both of you to unwind.

Here are some of the benefits of attending a couples retreat:

Experience a New Location Together

In your daily life, you may spend most of your time in a small set of locations. Even yourdate nights may cycle through the same familiar places. One of the best ways to build intimacy is to try something new as a couple and to get out of your daily routine. A couples retreat is a wonderful opportunity to experience a different location together. A change in scenery helps you connect on a deeper level. When you are away from your concerns, you can appreciate the beauty around you in a different way. This aids inopening up conversations between you and your partner. A serene location far away from your everyday concerns also makes it easier to simply enjoy each other’s company.

Spend Quality Time as a Couple

Your day-to-day routine is likely packed with different activities that demand your attention. From work to kids, you have a lot on your plate. It can be hard to find intimate time to spend with your partner. When you do spend time together, it can feel rushed because you have so many other things to worry about.
A couples retreat allows you to spend time together without being distracted by other demands. You will be in an atmosphere of complete relaxation and luxury, with no obligations taking attention away from either you or your partner. This can be a wonderful way to feel closer to each other.

Learn Valuable Relationship Skills

One benefit that a couples retreat has over a standard vacation is that these retreats are created by experienced couples counselors to include workshops, couples therapy sessions, and activities to deepen your bond. A couples retreat is a great way to learn valuable communication skills without the stress of traditional marriage counseling. This gives you something tangible you can take home from your luxurious getaway in the form of relationship skills that will continue to help you grow closer to your partner. He Said She Said’s Fall into Intimacy retreat strikes the perfect balance between relationship workshops and fun times that you can spend together as a couple. This couples retreat is hosted at the gorgeous Glen House in Maine. Experience the lovely fall colors and enjoy a variety of activities from a smores bonfire to morning yoga and meditation. Contact us today to learn more about this relaxing couples retreat.

Steps to Take to Avoid a Divorce

Divorce is one of the scariest possibilities for couples to face. If you are having relationship problems, you may be worried that you are on a path to the end of your marriage. During this vulnerable time, you need to use all of the tools at your disposal to help save your relationship.

Here are some of the steps you can take to avoid a divorce:

Practice Healthy Communication

Healthy communication is one of the most essential skills in any marriage, yet not many couples know how to actually communicate in a productive way. Communication is simple in theory, but it can be difficult to put into practice. It requires daily effort to correct the common mistakes that you may be making. If you are committed to avoiding divorce, then you should be focused on improving your communication skills.

One of the best things you can do is be honest with your partner. Even when this is difficult, it helps to have your feelings in the open. You should also be doing what you can to encourage your partner to share their feelings with you. It’s okay to make mistakes and fall back into unhealthy communication, so long as you identify the regress and continuously try to keep communication channels open.

Reaffirm Your Love for Each Other

It’s easy when things get difficult to forget what made you fall in love with your partner in the first place. When divorce is on the table, you may get caught up in conflicts and resentment. It’s much easier to take the difficult steps necessary to avoid divorce when you can remind yourself what makes your marriage worth fighting for.

Try to set aside time each day to show affection and love for your partner. Even when things are difficult, this can help you maintain a lasting connection. You can also reflect back on the start of your relationship and try to actively remind yourself of what positive qualities your partner has that attracted you to them. Actively sharing these positive qualities is immensely helpful when you are worried about a divorce.

Go to Professional Couples Counseling

Sometimes, you simply can’t handle your relationship issues on your own. Unhealthy communication habits and resentment can be difficult to tackle without professional help. Couples counselors can help you look at the specific roadblocks in your marriage. This personalized approach makes it easier to pinpoint what has led you to considering a divorce and to find out how to move through this difficult time.

Having a safe and comfortable environment where you can discuss your relationship can make a huge difference. When you have professionals present, you are less tempted to revert to your old unhealthy habits. Your counselors can also facilitate discussions that you might be avoiding. It helps immensely to have skilled and passionate relationship therapists on your side.

At He Said She Said couples counseling, we take a unique approach to marriage counseling. We have a male and a female counselor present in your sessions to help create the ideal environment for both you and your partner to open up. We have helped many couples who were on the brink of divorce to renovate their relationship. In the end, this difficult time can even help you grow closer together in the long-run. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help your marriage thrive.

How to Increase Emotional Intimacy

When thinking about intimacy, many people only consider their physical connection with their partner. However, emotional intimacy is something you definitely want to work on. Feeling connected can help build a long-term bond between the two of you. This sense of emotional intimacy can improve your connection and get you through difficult times. This can also help your relationship grow and foster a sense of togetherness.

Here are some tips for increasing the emotional intimacy in your relationship:

Try Something New Together

Many couples have a default date night that they repeat on a regular basis. Scheduling a regular date night is a great step to take. However, going to the same place and having the same conversation does not necessarily help increase your emotional closeness. If you’re not trying anything different as a couple, then these date nights start to become routine.

A great way to build intimacy in your relationship is to try something new together. Pick something that neither of you have experienced. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a big dramatic date and can be as simple as taking a cooking class together. Doing something out of your routine opens you up to having new conversations and learning more about each other.

Encourage Honesty

Healthy romantic relationships require you to have some difficult conversations. When you create a long-term connection, you are bound to have conflicts and disagreements. However, even these difficult moments can be great opportunities to increase emotional intimacy with your partner.

Honesty is essential to intimacy. You should encourage your partner to be open with you. Make sure that you remain open to their feelings and strive to really listen to their thoughts without judgement. You should also feel like you can share your thoughts with your partner. Strive to stay emotionally connected, even when you don’t necessarily like or agree with what the other person is saying.

Couples Counseling

It is a common misconception that couples counseling is only for when you are having problems in your relationship. While counseling can definitely help when you are facing a relationship crisis, it can also be helpful for building a strong foundation. A couples counselor can help you learn the skills you need to build emotional intimacy. This is true even for couples who already feel like their relationship is strong.

At He Said She Said, we take a unique approach to couples counseling. We are a married couple that works as a team to provide both a male and a female perspective during your counseling sessions. We are experts in helping couples increase their emotional intimacy and will help you find intimacy-building strategies that you can use in your day-to-day life.

We offer a variety of programs from pre-marriage counseling to couples retreats specifically focused on strengthening your intimate connection. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to determine which program is right for you.

5 Tips on Building a Long-Term Relationship

When we meet that special person they make us feel attractive, loved and unique and we feel like we’ve discovered true love. Sparks are flying between you and that special someone, and the intimate bond seems inseparable. However, as your relationship matures, the reality of long-term relationships is that it takes work to transition from the infatuation of new love into a mature long term relationship. This process necessitates a deeper understanding of both yourself and your partner. The honeymoon phase doesn’t last, and by understanding yourself and your partner more deeply, you create the foundation of a resilient and long-lasting relationship. So how does one continue to maintain a healthy, intimate, loving relationship with their partner?

Here are five tips to keep in mind of building a long-lasting relationship

1. Developing goals for your ideal long-term relationship:

When getting into a relationship, it is essential for couples to evaluate what they seek in a long-term relationship. Whether it be values or goals, it is crucial that you and your partner are on the same page. By gaining a deeper understanding of each other’s core values, you begin to understand how you can support each other in achieving the goals which provide the meaning in life.

2. Mindfulness in a relationship:

The process of mindfulness allows couples to become less instinctual in their responses to one another. Some of the worst words and actions are expressed in moments of fight/flight/freeze. Mindfulness allows couples to stay aware of negative patterns of thoughts, communication, and action to treat each other with empathy even in times of emotional stress.

3. Establishing and maintaining a respectful communication style:

Communication is at the foundation of healthy relationships. Developing the ability to be kind and honest while discussing complicated subject matter increases the likelihood of healthy conflict resolution. As partners, you should be able to communicate with one another about issues and conflicts that arise in the relationship. Everyone has their style of communication, and it is vital to establish and maintain a form of communication that works well for both.

4. Learning to express feelings, needs, and expectations in a healthy manner:

Often couples become stuck in patterns of re-stating their perspectives in the hopes to convince their partner to agree with them. When couples develop the ability to identify and healthily express their feelings and needs, they increase the likelihood of being heard. By helping your partner understand how you are feeling without blaming them, you create an environment of compassion and love that transcends perspective.

5. Consistent Conflict Resolution:

Every couple has their fights disagreements are both natural and needed in a healthy relationship. The key is to have the tools to resolve conflict healthily. When couples find themselves arguing about the same topic over and over without resolution, resentment quickly builds. By understanding you and your partner’s conflict resolution style, you can avoid repetitive arguments which pull you apart.

The beginning of relationships is filled with the excitement of new love; with awareness and intentional effort, couples can make the transition to a mature and long-lasting relationship. When you find the person you want to be with it is crucial that you put the time and effort into gaining a deep understanding of each other. Your relationship can be a source of immense love and also help you in becoming your best selves for each other.

Top 3 Tips to Create Healthy Communication Channels

Where does a relationship start?
Most relationships begin with a certain sense of mystery. While the start of a relationship is exciting and fun, they’re also the time when you feel out your significant other, with the goal of truly learning about who they are. As you start to get deeper in a relationship, it becomes more likely that you end up having issues. This occurs because you and your significant other become used to each other so you feel like you don’t have to try, the sun fades away and the cloudy grey skies arise. However, you can make it so your relationship remains as wonderful as it was in the beginning, with a little bit of work and communication skills.

Here are some tips on how to create healthy communication channels with your significant other:

Talk in person:
Being in a relationship, both partners should strive to properly communicate with one another. When things get serious, it sometimes makes one person in the relationship scared to confront the problem. This results in the issues you are having being held in or being confronted over a phone or through text. By keeping your issues inside, the problem will continue to be there and no closure or changes will be made to the situation. By talking about a serious issue via some roundabout method such as texting, the messages you are trying to get across to your significant other can be interpreted wrong, and the lack of face-to-face give the entire conversation much less impact. Thus, it can result in having an even greater setback with the resolution of your issues. However, if you talk in person, you are able to talk slow, see facial expressions, and truly understand the nuances of communication. It can no doubt be challenging sometimes, to confront an issue in person. If you are nervous about the upcoming conversation, then it is recommended that you write down a list of things you want to say. This way, you will have a guide and be less anxious during the conversation. It’s also possible that you will end up becoming emotional, something that you will need to accept if you truly want to work out your issues. In the end, you will end up becoming closer and happier with your partner.

Be Honest:
Being honest can be difficult at times because sometimes, the truth can hurt, especially those whom you care about most. However, being truthful is much kinder than lying. When you are truthful, you can prevent things such as your significant other finding out the truth at a later time, something that will undoubtedly be even more damaging in the end. By being up front, you allow your partner to have more faith in not only you but the relationship that you two share. Remember that it is ok to be wrong. No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes every now and then. When you mess up, be honest and admit to it. Apologize for your mistakes and wrong doings. When you make excuses for your mistakes, it only makes it worse. By apologizing you are showing you understand what you did and you are ready to take steps that can allow wrongdoingsto hopefully move forward.

48-Hour Rule:
With every relationship, it is inevitable to fight and argue. However, in some occasions, a fight can be stopped by taking a deep breathe in. When you are upset, the only person that will know is you, unless you come up and say something to their face. Sometimes, people in relationships get upset for things that they shouldn’t get upset about. When this occurs, you should try and keep calm and wait a couple of days before jumping into a fight. By waiting and cooling off, the thing you were once super upset about might be nothing a day later. However, if you wait and are still upset then it is now clear that the thing you were upset about is something that truly needs to be addressed. At this moment, you should tell your significant other what is making you upset. Be confident in what you are saying and let your partner ask you questions if they are confused. Once your partner understands the situation, you can hopefully move forward with solutions.

What can you do to keep your relationship good?
Relationships are beautiful things, and for many, the most important aspect of their life. However, it is important to know how to deal with the ugly parts. At He Said She Said, we are committed to helping you prosper in a safe environment where you can talk about your feelings.
Please don’t be afraid to stop in.

Contact Us at 520.955.1876 or email us at hesaidshesaidcounseling@gmail.com.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!