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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1. Close your mouth (really, it works! But read on . . . ).
2. Make the "T" for time-out signal with your hands.
3. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt (his/her intention is useful, even if the impact on you is poor). Most arguments are a panic cry for secure attachment.
4. If your heart rate is 90 or above, you need to take a 20-30 minute break.
After that agree to talk for about 20 minutes.
5. Your goal is to be curious, to understand your partner further. Drop out of content (what the argument appears to be about [symptoms, into process (what you feel emotionally, physically, spiritually).
6. Notice what's happening in your body, notice your partner's body.
7. Share your process, e.g., I am really tight in my shoulders and I feel disrespected. Listen to your partners process. Connect with each other; make eye contact, smile, say "Hi"-- in other words address the need for secure attachment.
8. Once you are both calm, and ready to return to the content of your DISCUSSION, ask: "What is there NEW about this topic?" Do not repeat what's already been said.
9. Your goal is to go slowly, ask questions, check in with each other, have a desire to learn more about yourself and your partner. Your goal is not to make your point, get in a jab, or out-talk your partner.
10. If you're digging in your heels, ask yourself what's going on? Return to step 6.