Body Confidence – Interview with Hannah B

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Tarah and EJ interview Hannah B Body Confidence advocate, Social Media Influencer, and Confidence Educator. Hannah hosts the podcast “Hannah Says”.Hannah’s mission is to help all people radically accept their bodies and achieve the self-confidence they deserve. She does this by teaching others about how to heal their relationship with food, improve their body image, and fall in love with who they are. They explore how body image and self-esteem affect relationships, dating, and picking a life partner. Self-confidence and acceptance are central to personal well-being. By learning to love yourself individuals develop the ability to give and receive love freely with their partner.

To learn more about Hannah B please check out…

healthybyhannah Instagram 

Hannah Says Podcast

Relationship Challenges for military vets, law enforcement, and first responders

In this Podcast Episode Tarah and EJ interview Liz Montgomery, Psy D

Dr. Liz is a military vet and therapist specializing in trauma and its’ effect on relationships. They discuss the culture of the military, law enforcement, and first responders and how the skills they develop in their occupation often cause trouble for them in their intimate relationships. Individuals in these fields often struggle to connect with and communicate in a vulnerable way with their partners. They compartmentalize their emotions and can become frustrated and overwhelmed in emotionally challenging situations. They discuss barriers to treatment and provide guidance in finding the right mental health provider.

https://linktr.ee/HeSaidSheSaidCounseling

Rituals of Connection in Relationship

written by – Jesse Krall MA/LAC

Relationships thrive when couples create personalized daily rituals of connection. By ritual, I mean a custom or a practice that holds deep significance for the couple.

Too often, couples come to therapy feeling disconnected from one another. As a therapist, I hear story after story of couples recounting the ways that they are like, “two ships passing in the night.”

Let’s face it, we all have demanding lives and responsibilities. The beauty, though, is that we have choices we can make. We can choose what our priorities are and where we want to focus our time and energy.

Rituals of connection in relationships offer simple yet profoundly effective ways to put your relationship at the forefront of your life. Here’s the good news: you probably already have some daily rituals that you do naturally but have never named. There is power in naming something. In saying, “This is special. This is important. This helps us. This is our ritual.”

Once we name it, we come to rely on those moments we call rituals. From my experience, the most important rituals are around transitions: hellos, goodbyes, good mornings, and goodnights.

These rituals do not have to be labor-intensive or time-consuming. They simply need to hold meaning for the couple; they need to say, “I love you. I support you. We are in this together.”

Let’s look at some of these transitions more closely.

How do you start your morning with each other?

One way we recommend in our Relationship Renovation program is to start the day with an emotional check-in. Many couples like to do this over their morning cup of coffee. Each of you gets an opportunity to share a few feeling words and be witnessed. Warning: this is not a time for problem-solving or fixing. Allow the emotions, all of them, even the difficult ones. Being witnessed and heard helps your partner to feel truly seen.

How do you say goodbye to one another if one is going to work or leaving the house?

Many couples find it essential to take the time to lean into one another. To hug and to kiss and to tell their partner that they hope they have a great day. It is the little things that make a big difference.

How do you reconnect after being apart?

My husband and I have found that stopping everything we are doing and holding each other in a long embrace before engaging in conversation is a game-changer. During that embrace, we wait for our shoulders to drop, for a deeper breath, for a settling. This pause helps us transition into the rest of the evening so much more smoothly than when we don’t take a pause.

How do you say goodnight?

Many couples say that they have two different bedtimes – one is an early-to-bed person while the other is a night owl. A solution one couple uncovered was to have the night owl tuck in his partner and cuddle until she fell asleep. This made her feel much more connected going to bed. And he was still able to stay up and do the things he wanted to do.

There are so many possibilities of small ways to connect. What rituals do you have in your relationship? What rituals would you like to create in your relationship?

If you and your partner would like to learn more practical ways to stay connected and to be your best selves in your relationship, check out Relationship Renovation at home.

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

Additional resources:

 

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.