It takes a village...

It takes a village to raise a child. That African proverb also holds true for teaching, shaping and supporting a couple, a business, or a therapist. The following is an abbreviated list of my influences; they are the teachers and lessons shown to swiftly and consistently “move the needle” forward.

Some of these influences focus on the uniqueness of individual psyches, the dynamics between partners, or on the narrative history of how individuals came to operate today. All involve work to change the world for the better.

Feel free to browse the links below to learn more about relationships, marriage, depression and anxiety, divorce and desire. I’m confident you’ll find something inspirational here and perhaps, a broader sense of community and relief to know that you are not alone – we all need a village.

Control Mastery Theory

This is a theory that assumes that humans inherently seek health and well-being. Under this theory, problems are seen as misguided survival attempts based on unconscious, distorted ideas from childhood. It uses a here-and-now focus to challenge and replace those distortions in real time. Its unique viewpoint allows us to see how our frustrating, “stuck” behavior patterns act as unconscious attempts to master our sense of worth.  A better understanding of these patterns can loosen the shame we feel, and replace it with compassion – and even admiration for the protective mechanisms of our psyches!

Control Mastery examines current relationships, including the therapeutic relationship, and directs us to where the distortions and the resolutions lie; it paves the way to becoming the best version of ourselves at long last.

This theory and approach allows us to understand and effectively handle virtually every type of behavior and encourages positive movement forward without resorting to a “me vs. you” approach.

(check out their blog for fascinating and illustrative case examples that teach how to decode and respond to the messages sent by our (and others’) psyches).

The Somatic Experiencing® Method:

In this method, Dr. Peter Levine combines 45 years of multidisciplinary studies and clinical work to create a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. He uses his knowledge of the nervous system to explain how and why people get stuck in ineffective or disruptive emotional, psychological, and behavioral patterns.

His fascinating framework for understanding and treating the survival response (i.e., fight-flight-freeze) in people has been a wonderful complement to traditional talk therapy.  When the two are used in tandem, people’s symptoms reduce rapidly and dramatically.

Esther Perel:

Esther Perel is a renowned therapist who has changed the conversation on desire in modern, long-term relationships. She uses a socio-cultural lens that helps us shift “realities” by challenging the accuracy and utility of our common ideas on love, marriage, and sexuality. She has been the premier voice in helping couples create a unique and restorative understanding of infidelity.

Her viral TED talks on desire, fidelity, and long term relationships have become a sort of prerequisite to starting couples therapy since they exude great clarity and hope for resolving painful relational struggles. Her poetic approach to solving mysteries in life and love (e.g., “How can we desire something we already have? How can we reconcile our human need for both security and adventure?”) has been a major influence on rethinking all things relational.

Gottmans' Sound Relational House and The EFT Attachment Approach

After a combined 90 years of studying the art and science of love, the 2 premier research teams of clinical psychologists Drs. John and Julie Gottman, and Sue Johnson, Ph.D. have created unique, effective theories and methods for treating couples who want to achieve feelings of deep love, security, friendship, and teamwork for making life dreams come true, together.

Despite our best efforts, most of us keep failing to get those “happily ever after” endings Disney and Hollywood promised us (for some reason our problems never wrap up neatly in 22 minute, 3-act episodes!). The Gottmans and Sue Johnson (creator of EFT) explain to us why and give us new, real healthy models which we can use to attain lasting, fulfilling love.

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Treadway tools–David Treadway, Ph.D.

Dr. Treadway’s tools from four decades of working as a couples therapist, educator and author solidifies the last piece of the puzzle in understanding how to move a couple from point A (pain and/or brink) to point B (security and adventure). Dr. Treadway’s voice is unique in a crowded field, not only because he has developed a set of tools that can help couples move with each and every session, but because his writing is deeply personal, unique, and educational.

Using Dr. Treadway’s smorgasbord of exercises and protocols produces a kind of magic in couples work.  Learning and practicing his simple protocols on amendment and forgiveness, sexual reconnection, and basic communication causes the ice to melt away, revealing the sprigs of long-buried love.

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