Couples and Premarital : "Who we are . . . depends in part . . . on who we love." | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Palo Alto Online |

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By Chandrama Anderson

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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)

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Couples and Premarital : "Who we are . . . depends in part . . . on who we love."

Uploaded: Feb 13, 2020
One of my favorite books is "A General Theory of Love." Lewis, Amini and Lannon write poetically about love research, and they talk about limbic resonance, limbic regulation and limbic revision. The limbic part of the brain is the emotional brain. The gist of it is this: when in proximity to one another we exchange energy and our physiology responds and changes, too.  Think about how your mood changes around different people that you know.

Limbic resonance is when we become attuned to each others' emotional state. Limbic regulation is ". . . to adjust and fortify one another's fragile neural rhythms in the collaborative dance of love." Limbic revision is the " . . . power to remodel the emotional parts of the people we love."  The authors continue, "Who we are and who we become depends, in part, on who we love."

This takes the idea of power to a completely new level. Our ability to attune emotionally to one another can heal -- or harm --another, and will certainly restructure the brain of each person, throughout one's entire life.

Since we hold the power to emotionally remodel our partner, that raises many questions. How do I remodel with integrity? How am I remodeling in ways in which I am unaware? How can I do this well, with a good heart, despite my own unfinished business?

What am I doing when I show emotional attunement, love, compassion, listen well without giving advice or fixing? I am shaping a loving, secure attachment and connection. What am I doing when I disconnect, withdraw, yell, criticize, show contempt, become defensive? Probably feeling unsafe or anxious and trying to protect myself. But this is a downward spiral that needs to be interrupted and healthier limbic regulation/revision is needed.

In therapy or counseling, limbic revision is done by presence and attunement (limbic resonance and regulation) and experimentation with new tools and skills (limbic revision). This is the art and science of therapy. "A General Theory of Love" put into practice.

(For further definition and a few more details about this fabulous book, see
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The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

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