By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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I was recently reading "Shrunken Heads" by Gregory Lester, Ph.D., and came across these descriptions of what psychotherapy is and how it works:
"Psychotherapy. . . is a treatment activity that is designed to work on the mechanisms of the human psyche in such a way as to give someone something they are missing or to enable them to get it for themselves.*
Psychotherapy works very simply ? it enables you to see things about yourself or your life that you can't currently see and that is affecting how you feel, what you do, and what happens to you. Once you can see what has been making the things happen that have been happening, you can get your hands around it and do something to improve how you feel, what you do, or what happens to you.**
In couples counseling we give you what's missing (e.g., specific communication tools, skills, perspective, coached practice, homework, etc.), and help you get what is missing for yourselves (e.g., through personal inner work, meditation, practice, etc.).
In couples counseling, the therapist must be unbiased: she must build trust with both of you for the counseling to be effective. That doesn't always mean doing the exact same intervention with each of you because you are not the same person.
As the two of you see the process and dynamic you are in together, you can both individually and jointly do things to improve how you feel, what you do, and what happens to the two of you.
When you keep doing the same things (e.g., arguing without resolution, not having intimacy, not talking or listening), you will continue to get the same outcome: unhappiness.
Unhappiness in relationships is among the top stressors of life in the industrialized world. Coping mechanisms may include working more, drinking too much, having an affair, etc.
Often coping strategies backfire eventually, bringing further unhappiness.
What would it be like to be happy again?