You Add Self-Reflection & New Action To Your Experience
We are often thrust into emotional reactivity in the face of frustrating or painful feelings. Our reactivity can have various forms and expressions. We usually realize that our angry flare-ups are reactions, but shutting down and sudden distancing can also be reactions. (Read the section: Emotional Reactivity.) We may respond to chronic distress in our relationship through avoiding the experience, collapsing, giving up in defeat, or going inactive. Unfortunately, these reactions and responses lead to all sorts of negative consequences. When we do these things we can’t learn from our experience and nothing new can happen.
Couple therapy aims to help you develop an active, self-reflective, and self-accepting interest in your emotional life and in the emotional life of your partner. This makes empathy toward yourself and your partner possible. A change in action can follow more easily from this approach to your experience. When you add a change in action, your experience of yourself and your partner is guaranteed to flourish.
Couple therapy functions to slow things down so that new action can form in the midst of the acceptance of each other’s emotional experience. What may have seemed impossible can become imbued with hope. You build confidence that your work together can bring shifts from rigid to flexible, closed to open, restricting to expanding. You establish a greater trust in your partner’s capacity to be accountable for his or her feeling and behavior. Your relationship spirals upward as you learn to collaborate on a careful approach to your inner lives while developing a more fluid ability to explore new behavior.
Robert Ogner, October 20, 2007