Archives for July, 2012

Friendships

Confronting Friends: Part 1

Many of us have been through it before: someone we know well offends us or hurts our feelings. At first, it's just a single incident, but then it starts to repeat.

Eventually, we realize the issue isn't just an occasional unpleasantry, rather it's a limitation in our friend's personality. For example, a friend who is chronically late; or a friend who asks for favors without being willing to reciprocate; or a friend who makes offensive comments or judgments about how you raise your children, etc.

Confrontation can be very nerve-racking. One of the concerns many people have with confronting others is that addressing an issue will somehow make them appear less accepting of their friend as a whole. Another concern is that people fear confrontation will hurt a person's feelings, which then could lead to the situation reversing and the friend being mad at us.

However, let's look at it from another perspective for a moment.

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General

Relationship Technique: The Dry Erase Board

It's amazing the benefits something as simple as a Dry Erase Board can bring to a relationship. A very common complaint couples bring into therapy is how forgetful the other is when it comes to daily schedule, or necessities that need to be picked up, etc. These often serve as the catalyst for significant arguments and power struggles within the relationship. While keeping track of basic necessities is helpful, the Dry Erase Board can also serve other positive functions in a relationship.

Here are a few notables:

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Family

Relationships “Should” Be…Unique!



Rarely a day goes by where I don't hear a complaint about how significant others "should" be a certain way, or "should" be doing things differently. For example, "My husband should be putting me first", "My wife should leave me alone for 15 minutes after I walk in the door", "My boyfriend shouldn't want to have sex so much", "My girlfriend should check with me before making plans", and so on.

Becoming Aware of Cognitive Distortions

In Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), there is a concept known as "cognitive distortions." These are the areas of our thought processes that can lead to conflict and friction if we don't become aware of them. "Should statements" are cognitive distortions because they reflect entitlement -- the idea that something is owed to us.  Moreover, "should statements" make an issue personal.

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