Posts Tagged ‘Relationship THerapist San Diego’

As a marriage and family therapist in San Diego, I practice couples therapy and individual therapy using an intergenerational perspective. I specialize in helping couples and individuals live more meaningfully in their most important relationships. Relationship counseling and individual counseling is better to seek sooner rather than later when one experiences chronic challenges in relational functioning. Research has shown that couples typically wait 6 years before seeking couples counseling. It is wiser to get help earlier and before problems fester, causing resentments to harden and become more resistant to treatment.

Dr. Murray Bowen was a pioneer of marriage and family therapy.   He believed that human beings live in interdependent emotional systems. His insights are profound. I am guided, in large part, by his ideas. James Framo, another early MFT leader, observed that clinically, Bowen’s ideas address the basic question of how one can deal with one’s family’s nuttiness without cutting off from the family. Just as Socrates urged people, “Know thyself,” Dr. Bowen encouraged people to “Know your family.”  Such an effort can enhance one’s ability to live in a more fulfilled way in one’s current relationships. In an early post I listed five of my favorite quotes from Murray Bowen. Below are *more quotes that typify Bowen’s deep and unique  level of understanding of the human condition:

“Family systems theory is based on the assumptions that the human is a product of evolution and that human behavior is significantly regulated by the same natural processes that regulate the behavior of all other living things….Homo sapiens are far more like other life forms than different from them.”

“One of the most important aspects of family dysfunction is an equal degree of overfunction in another part of the family system. It is factual that dysfunctioning and overfunctioning exist together. ..An example would be the dominating (overfunctioning) mother and passive father.”

“The more a therapist learns about a family, the more the family learns about itself; and the more the family learns, the more the therapist learns, in a cycle which continues.”

“The overall [clinical] goal [is] to help family members become ‘system experts’ who could know [their family system] so well that the family could readjust itself without the help of an outside expert, if and when the family system was again stressed.”

“Relationships are cyclical. There is one phase of calm, comfortable closeness. This can shift to anxious, uncomfortable overcloseness with the incorporation of the ‘self” of one by the ‘self ‘ of the other. There there is the phase of distant rejection in which the two can literally repel each other. In some families, the relationship can cycle through the phases at frequent intervals. In oher families, the cycle can stay relatively fixed for long periods.”

“The basic building block of any emotional system is the triangle. ”

“Important changes [between the couple] accompany the birth of children.”

“The problem of the ‘triangled’ child presents one of the most difficult problems in family psychotherapy.

Dr. Murray Bowen was one of the important pioneers in marriage and family therapy. As a clinician who specializes in relationship counseling, I am guided, in large part, by his ideas. To learn more about my model of practice, visit me at http://www.Cunninghamtherapy.com or call 619 9906203 for a complimentary telephone consultation.

* Quotes are cited from FAMILY THERAPY IN CLINICAL PRACTICE by Murray Bowen (1978)


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Steven and Sybil Wolin (1993) researched how survivors of troubled families rise about adversity. They identified 7 clear qualities of resiliency. These qualities include: 1.) humor; 2.) relationships; 3.) initiative; 4.) morality;  5.) creativity; 6.) insight; and 7.) independence. Think about which resiliency most dominates your personality and build upon it. Your partner’s? Recognize it as well. And then validate it.

Resiliency is what happens when people thrive, don’t just survive, after adversity. Instead, you bounce FORWARD, not in spite of the problem, but BECAUSE OF it!

When resilience is looked at in terms of love and marriage, it is easy to see how these seven qualities might present great opportunies for  a couple to reach for one or two of them in an effort to get their connection even safer and more solid. For example, if one had the resiliency of intiative, one would not wait for one’s partner to pay them a compliment. Instead, they would be proactive and pay a compliment themselves. Get the idea? See what other examples you can come up with in looking at each core resiliency named by the Wolins. I would love to hear your responses. Take a look at the resiliency of creativity and see what you can do here. Have fun!  Onward!

If interested in my resiliency-based marriage counseling practice in San Diego, do visit my web site at http://www.Cunninghamtherapy.com or call for a complimentary phone consultation @ 619 9906203.

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 Oftentimes, I get calls from potential clients who say their partner finally agreed to “come along” to therapy even though they insist they are not the one that “needs” it. Most of the time, people who rail on about how the other person needs the help are anxious and frightened to look at their part in a relationship problem. They are afraid that if they admit to even a small part in the relational problem, their partner will use it “against them” and they will be even more unhappy. A competent therapist can see that both people are free to state their truths without being “clobbered” by the other person. Anne Morrow Lindbergh had it right when she said, “If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.” Relationship counseling should provide a safe, holding environment so that each partner can feel confident that if they are called upon to self-examine and then to change an aspect of their behavior, the benefits will far outweigh the costs of admitting fallibility. In my practice, clients are routinely called upon to look at their own part in the relational dance, to have the courage to make changes in their way of coming toward their partner, and to look at ways they are being frightened and moving “away” rather than moving in the relationship as an effective partner. To be able to look within and then to be able to look at your part takes courage. Relationship counseling is definitely not for sissies! To learn more about Dr. Cunningham’s model of relationship counseling, click on “model of practice” at her web site: http://www.Cunninghamtherapy.com or feel free to call for a complimentary phone consultation. Relationship counseling is a proven way to begin to heal the attachment wounds that may be impacting your couplehood. The longer you wait to call, the more work will need to be done. Call now and get started on a path of healing and love.

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