Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Cristina Trette is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist that specializes in counseling parents, couples, and families. She is the owner of Integrative Family Therapy, a counseling practice based in Encinitas, California. In addition to counseling, she writes and teaches workshops on parenting, relationships, and mental health. You can learn more about her at www.integrativefamilytherapy.com.
What happens when one partner wants sex and his wife or long term lover is rarely in the mood? A healthy sex life is part of what makes up a thriving relationship and general feelings of well-being. When one or both partners are feeling unsatisfied in this area, this can trigger the beginning of a downward spiral that does not end up very well.
I was teaching a Joy of Parenting course to a vibrant and well-educated group of parents. When I asked the group to introduce themselves, I requested that they briefly share individual parenting strengths and struggles. One by one, names and parenting struggles were offered with great ease. Yet, almost every parent had difficulty with recalling their strengths. I shared their sentiments and we had a good laugh about this! However, this common phenomena is worthy of exploration.
The past month or so has been stressful. My schedule is jam-packed. Catching up, and staying on top of it all, continues to elude me. My three children have reacted to my intensity and have taken turns acting out in various ways. About three weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, everything came to a head, when my family was in town. The morning started out great. I relaxed with my kids and their grandfather while drinking a cup of coffee. Eventually I noticed that it was time to get going on the day’s tasks and was frustrated when I had to switch gears.
1. An event occurs which leads to thoughts
Sometimes children act out in maddening ways - tantrums, explosive fighting with siblings, or an outright refusal to comply with requests. When these kinds of behaviors happen too frequently in homes, they tend to be met with strictness, tight control, or even force. It makes sense that parents would want to "lay down the law" on these types of behaviors! It is not pleasant to be around children when they are in this mode and many parents have been taught to eliminate these kinds of behaviors through punishment.
Visualization, or mental rehearsal is a well researched therapeutic technique that has been shown to increase performance and lower stress response. Mental rehearsal entails visualizing oneself in a challenging or stressful situation as a way to practice responding. During the visualization the individual sees himself or herself moving through the challenging or stressful situation successfully and having a positive outcome.
Dr. John Gottman is a well know research psychologist and relationship expert who has conducted extensive research on what the happiest and healthiest couples do to create lasting, loving, meaningful, and committed relationships. In his book, "What Makes Love Last", Gottman teaches a concept known as turning towards each other. Taking on a general mindset of turning towards your partner or spouse can increase connection and reduce conflict. And the great thing is that is easy to do and can be fun to implement. To learn more, keep reading!
After having a baby, 67 percent of couples see their marital satisfaction plummet, according to research by John Gottman, PhD. The arrival of the first baby can throw parents into a total life change overnight. Many individuals, used to life with flexibility and autonomy, have a difficult time adjusting to the demands of a newborn, despite the fact that they love their new child.
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse.
1. Get Quiet
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