Core Articles

Below are the core articles I've written on relationships, to give you a primer if you will on the psychology of how we are "programmed" to be attracted to certain qualities in a romantic partner, how conflict inevitably enters a relationship and how to create a more conscious relationship.

My Couples Counseling Philosophy

counseling philosophyMy Couples Counseling Philosophy

Most singles and couples that I treat ask me about my philosophy and perspective on relationships and couples counseling.  It really is a great question and one that all clients deserve to have answered by their counselors, psychotherapists and coaches.

My beliefs are pretty simple and fairly humble.  I’m not some grandiose “expert” who believes that he knows more about the couple than they do.  Yes, I DO know a few things and possess a few tools from my training and close to twenty-five years of practice in the field of couples counseling. And I AM pretty gifted when it comes to assessing the dynamics of a relationship and translating it into language that EACH partner can understand (I’m sure you’re aware that our partners often speak different languages than we do and many also live in parallel universes!).

My philosophy is [Read more…]

What Are The Three Stages Of Relationship?

stages of relationshipWhat are the Three Stages of Relationship and why are they important?

In a previous post I wrote about “The Psychology Of Why We Choose Our Partners” (click here to read it) and the “Imago”, the idealized blueprint for relationship that we carry in our unconscious mind. Imago is Latin for image.

Today I will write about what happens when we find that “Imago Match” and start a relationship with them.  There are three stages in a Love Relationship.  The first one is The Honeymoon Stage, the romantic stage. We’ve all experienced that, haven’t we? [Read more…]

The Psychology Of Why We Choose Our Partners

how we choose partnersWhat is the psychology of why we choose our partners?

 As a psychologist and couples therapist, I’m often asked what my view is on what brings couples together, on what that attraction is, and the psychology of why we choose our partners.  My answer revolves around the concept of the Imago which I’ll explain below.  Warning: if you’re looking for an answer that is about soulmates or karma or fate or beshert, you’ll be disappointed.  My answer is based upon psychological principles.

You know that old cliché that we marry our mother or we marry our father? Well, from a psychological perspective, [Read more…]

Do You & Your Partner Have A Shared Relationship Vision?

relationship vision

“Too many couples spend more time planning their wedding than planning their marriage!”

-Dr. Adam Sheck

 

 Do You Have A Shared Relationship Vision?

My quote above pertains to ALL committed relationships, whether your commitment is recognized by God, religion, the government, the IRS or whether you don’t even care about validation from an outside source.  My point is, to be successful you need to not only have a relationship vision, but a SHARED relationship vision, one that both you and your partner have expressed and agreed upon.

One of the first assignments I give to couples that meet me for relationship counseling is to create this “shared relationship vision.”   [Read more…]

Maximizer Or Minimizer In Your Relationship?

maximizer minimizerAre You A Maximizer Or A Minimizer In Your Relationship?

What do I mean by these terms Maximizer and Minimizer?  Have you ever noticed that in your romantic relationships that one person usually plays the more active role and one plays the more passive role? Have you ever noticed that one person seems to be the “pursuer” and the other, the “pursued”?   And have you noticed that you may play a different role in different relationships, at different times?

Each relationship seems to have a polarity between the two partners, a yin and a yang.  We can call it the pursuer and the pursued or to generalize even more, in Imago Relationships Therapy, we call these positions the “maximizer” and the “minimizer.”

In each relationship there is generally a maximizer and a minimizer, which corresponds in some ways to the two basic options of our “fight or flight” survival mechanism.   [Read more…]

Soft Startup: Best Way For A Man To Share His Feelings

get man to share feelings“How can I get my man to share his feelings?”

It’s a frustrating question that I am asked many times in my psychotherapy practice by singles and in my couples counseling practice as well.

Let me share a few tips that might be helpful.  For a man (or a woman for that matter) to open up about his emotions and share his feelings, there definitely needs to be trust and safety in the relationship.  This may take time and “baby step” experiences of opening up to develop it.  And, if there is any history of betrayal from the past, including early childhood issues, this may be even more challenging .

That being said, you CAN increase the likelihood of getting your man to share his feelings by taking the following steps:

1. Don’t push for him to share his feelings!   [Read more…]

Sharing Your Sexual Fantasies

share fantasiesDo you share your sexual fantasies with your partner?

My work is about helping couples who are committed and really love each other to restore and reignite their passion. There are many reasons why a couple’s passion fades, and of course each couple is different. There is no cookie cutter solution that fits everyone.

One of the challenges is that over time many couples have lost some of their spontaneity, some of their imagination and they become a little more reserved and guarded with each other. They stop (or perhaps have never started) sharing their sexual fantasies with each other. They have many reasons for this, which I will address later in this article. [Read more…]

Matched Differentiation: Why Is This Couple Together?

jackieariEver wonder why some couples that appear to be totally mismatched are together? The beautiful woman and the homely man? The genius scientist and the Plain Jane?  The controlling shrew and the mild-mannered husband? The successful movie star and her low-profile boyfriend? Or perhaps, others have wondered why you and your partner are together?

What I’m here to say, is that if you’re in a long-term relationship with your partner, than regardless of external appearances, you are at the same level of emotional maturity and availability!   One technical term for this would be “matched differentiation.” [Read more…]

Do You Get Triggered In Your Relationship?

lizard brainDo you get triggered in your relationship?

Then you need to understand the lizard brain! The lizard brain you say. What can this possibly have to do with relationships and triggers you might ask?

Many of the couples I see in counseling are very triggered, very reactive in their relationship with each other.  Intellectually, they are often aware of this, yet they are still so challenged in making changes and in becoming more loving with each other.

In order to give them a context for what’s happening, part of what I do (believe it or not) is explain to them the physiology of the human brain, particularly the lizard brain, which is part of our tripartite brain!  Let me share some of what I say to my couples and perhaps you’ll understand my motivation in this.

Note: While I originally wrote this piece to address reactivity in romantic relationships, it is also quite relevant to your business relationships as well!

In actuality, our brain is three brains!   [Read more…]

Five Keys To A Successful Relationship

5 keysWhat are the Five Keys to a Successful Relationship?

In my almost twenty-five years as a couples counselor and relationship coach, I’ve narrowed it down to five basic key principles that need to be established.  While there are many more components to a successful relationship, these five form the basics.

So here they are, the Five Keys to a Successful Relationship:

 

1. Create & Live Your Shared Vision:

I’ve written about the importance of creating a shared relationship vision [Read more…]