Info

Relationship Alive!

Neil Sattin interviews John Gottman, Sue Johnson, Harville Hendrix, Peter Levine, Stan Tatkin, Dick Schwartz, Katherine Woodward Thomas, Diana Richardson, Terry Real, Wendy Maltz - and many others - in his quest to dig deep into all the factors that keep a Relationship Alive and Thriving! Each week Neil brings you an in-depth interview with a relationship expert. Neil is an author and relationship coach who is enthusiastic and passionate about relationships and the nuts and bolts of what makes them last. You can find out more about Neil Sattin and the Relationship Alive podcast at http://www.neilsattin.com
RSS Feed
Relationship Alive!
2019
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: October, 2017
Oct 31, 2017

If you’re going to seek help from a therapist (or coach), then how do you set yourself up for success? How do you find the right therapist? And how has the process of therapy evolved to achieve better and better results? To answer these questions and more, we have a return visit from Dr. Jeffrey Zeig, the Director of the Milton Erickson Foundation. Along with having been a student of Milton Erickson, and being an incredibly skilled therapist and trainer in his own right, Jeff is also the architect of the Evolution of Psychotherapy conference, which pulls together the top minds in the field of psychotherapy to discuss what’s working, what isn’t, and to collaborate on enhancing what’s possible through the art and science of psychotherapy. As a bonus, we also chat about how you can change your negative habits and addictions into positive habits and addictions! Our goal with today’s episode is to give you the best sense of how to get the most out of a decision to seek professional support for yourself and your relationship.

If you’re interested in hearing our first conversation together you can listen to that here:

Episode 102: How to Evolve Your Relationship - with Jeff Zeig

A little nudge: There is not any one of us that does not have a place in our inner world in which we struggle. We all have areas where we are remarkably competent, and other areas in which we are not functioning at our fullest capacity. We find ways to adapt, defend, and protect ourselves in order to manage despite our shadows- sometimes to our own detriment. A psychotherapist can offer intent attention and support as we learn to untangle our patterns and learn to function more adaptively. Our wounds occur in relationship, and therefore healing is often most effective when it is also relational. We heal when we feel the presence of another person- someone who is unconditionally supporting all of who we are. In this supportive atmosphere we begin to respond to little nudges and gentle pressures, and in discovering our own internal resources we can begin to move in the direction we are designed to go.

Finding the right fit: Due to the fact that healing in psychotherapy depends greatly on the therapeutic rapport between therapist and client, it is critical that you feel met. When you are searching around for a therapist, know that it may take a few tries. As you meet with potential therapists, ask yourself questions such as ‘is this someone I feel rapport with? Is this therapist working hard to understand me? Does this person have the tools that will help me? Do I feel safe in this person’s presence?’ Check in with your felt sense in their space- how does your body respond in their office? Remember that effectiveness of therapy has more to do with the relationship than with the specific techniques and interventions. Note that therapists are aware of this as well and that it is their responsibility as well as yours to assess fit- do not hesitate to share your experience with them as they are trained to help navigate referrals when it is not the right match.

Get the most from therapy: If you can get a very clear image of the outcome you want to see through therapy, the deeper and more effective your process will be. Ask yourself what you want to achieve, and then express this to your therapist. If you are feeling stuck in desperation and lack of clarity, speak this to your therapist as this can then become the first target area.  The time formulating your vision of change is invaluable to the healing process, and is medicine in and of itself as it awakens slumbering parts of our consciousness that actually know how to get us there.

See things from a different perspective- We are all the products/results of our habits of being. Nearly 90% of the habits we form are really good for us- the other 10% of our habits are ones that are maladaptive. A psychotherapist can help us see the ways in which our current approaches are not helping us get to where we are wanting to go. Once we see how our perspective can shift, we can begin to change our cognitions, behaviors, physiology, emotions, relationships, and perceptions in order to create new mental mechanisms.

Recycling addictions- from negative to positive: Addictions have a certain intensity of energy to them. We can harness the energy from old habits and direct it into the fuel that propels us into activities that give us more physical, spiritual, social, and emotional meaning to our lives. You might even be able to double up on your addictions! Can you combine an elliptical workout with learning something new? Can you cook and listen to an audiobook? When we can appreciate the underlying energy in our addictions, we can begin to resource it in ways that are beneficial and generative to our personal growth.

Moving into procedural memory: New habits take time to form- it is important to dedicate ourselves to building the muscles around our positive addictions to the point that they become integrated seamlessly into our lives. When, for example, we were learning to tie our shoes, we did it from working memory until, after enough practice, the entire activity moved into procedural memory. We want to dedicate ourselves to our new positive habits until they too enter procedural memory- where we don’t even have to ‘think’ about it.

A Brief history of Psychotherapy: The field of psychotherapy has exponentially expanded with a proliferation of perspectives since its establishment in the mid 1900’s. We can understand some of the different perspectives through the metaphor of a growing tree. Psychoanalysis (which was the basis of the psychotherapy field) asked why the tree was growing the way it was. This approach holds the belief that understanding the roots (the past) is sufficient for understanding the present.

From here, the field began to shift in response to American pragmatism and the advent of the behaviorist schools of thought, which posits that if you change where the sun is, the tree will shift. This approach places much less weight on understanding the why, and much more emphasis on the how. At the similar time the ecosystemic approaches took hold in which psychotherapy was about treating the ecosystem in order to change the tree.

Then the humanistic traditions began to develop modalities that were more about being present and admiring the tree. Now cognitive behavioral therapy is the most dominant approach (due to both effectiveness and popularity due to research and funding) which states that the tree will change depending on our cognitions. At the same time that CBT is dominating the field there are more and more experiential modalities available that help clients understand themselves from an inside out, and bottom up approach. The field continues to shift, expand, and develop with more about more data available about neurobiology.

Sponsors:

Talkspace.com - Online therapy that matches you with your perfect therapist. You can communicate with your therapist daily - so they can be there for you during the moments you most need support. Visit talkspace.com/ALIVE and use the coupon code “ALIVE” for $30 off your first month of online therapy.

Resources

To learn more about the work of Milton Erikson click here

Read more about Erikson’s work in Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley

Check out Dr. Jeffrey Zeig’s website to find workshops for professionals

Find his video lectures on Youtube

www.neilsattin.com/zeig2  Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide to this episode with Jeff Zeig

Learn more about Dr. Zeig’s new project on evocative language here

Go to this website to read about positive addictions

Read Dr. Zeig’s book Ten Commandments for Couples and read more on this website

And last, but certainly not least find, out more about the Evolution of Psychotherapy conference!

www.neilsattin.com/zeig2 Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide to this episode with Jeffrey Zeig

Our Relationship Alive Community on Facebook

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters - Check them Out

Oct 24, 2017

When things get tough in your relationship, how do you get through it, to the other side - in a way that leaves you better than you were before? Whether it's an everyday conflict, or a true crisis - there's a way to find the healing that will keep you from repeating unhealthy patterns, and allow you to experience an even deeper intimacy with your partner. In this episode I explore, in practical terms, how to find your way to the light at the end of the tunnel. Just because you find your way into some darkness doesn't mean that things are over in your relationship. Instead, it might just be a temporary stop on the way to a destination where you find yourself more capable and healthy than ever before. Today we will cover the important ingredients that will help get you there.

Resources

Free Guide to my Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets. These communication secrets will help you build connection in challenging moments – and are helpful in relationship, as well as in your communication with friends, colleagues, and family.

Sponsors

This episode is sponsored, in part, by Talkspace.com. Talkspace makes it easy to find your perfect therapist at an affordable price – with over 1500 licensed therapists available for you. You’re able to message your therapist and hear back from them daily (text/audio/video), and you can also get live video sessions with your therapist. They also have couples counseling available! For more information, visit talkspace.com/alive and use the coupon code “ALIVE” to get $30 off your first month of online therapy.

Oct 18, 2017

Have you ever received an apology that didn’t quite cut it? That made things even worse? Plus, let’s face it - life can be messy. Despite your best intentions, it is nearly impossible to avoid causing harm or hurt every so often. So - when is an apology necessary? How do you apologize effectively? Isn’t “I’m sorry” enough? What are the key ingredients to be able to repair a relationship in a way that makes your connection stronger? And what is the place of forgiveness in all of this? In today’s episode, we’re chatting with Dr. Harriet Lerner, author of the bestselling The Dance of Anger. Her new book, Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts, is a direct, insightful guide on the art of the apology - with some surprising truths that can help you create healing when you need it most.  

If you’re interested in checking out our first episode together, here is a link to Episode 12 - How to Turn Your Anger into a Force for Good with Harriet Lerner.

It is never too late to apologize: The need to give and receive apologies is universal- we have hurt and will continue to unwillingly hurt others and be hurt by them. While we must all do all we can to treat those in our life with kindness, care, integrity, respect, and love, we will inevitably cause hurt. The goal then is to make a repair. It is never too late to apologize! It is appropriate to make an apology as soon as you become aware that you caused hurt- whether this is hours, days, weeks, or decades after the fact.

“I’m sorry”: ‘I’m sorry’ are some of the most important words we can gift each other. These words become the gateway into repair and healing. When we give another person our full apologies we offer them safety, soothing, and evidence that we care about their feelings and are capable of and ready to take responsibility for what we have or have not said or done.

Apologizing is a process that involves listening: Apologizing is much much more than offering the words ‘I am sorry’. While these words mark the beginning, it is a process that can sometimes feel like a long distance run. At the core of an honest and authentic apology is the ability to listen. We must be willing to sit with the hurt party’s anger and pain. We need to stay long enough to really grasp their injury, to validate their feelings, and to willingly offer to carry some of the pain that we may have caused. Be there until the hurt party trusts that you really get the wrongness, and that you are and will be reflecting on it.

Invite more: If you were the one who inflicted harm, be sure that you do not use the “I’m sorry” to shut the other person down, create closure, and avoid pain. Commit to the apology as an unfolding and evolving process, and find ways to frequently follow back around after the initial conversation. Create spaces and times for the hurt party to share more by going out of your way to check in and ask about how they are feeling in relation to the injury, even without their prompting. This reaching out shows your commitment to inviting any more processing that may be needed.  

Gift to the Self: A true heartfelt apology is as much a gift to the other as it is to ourselves. Our level of self-worth rests on our ability to see ourselves objectively and to see our behaviors against others with clear eyes and assume unequivocal responsibility for acting at another person's expense. As we offer our apology we are choosing maturity and integrity over self-protection, avoidance and fear.

Shame: Apologies are near impossible from a place of shame. A person needs to have a solid platform of self worth to stand on in order to not collapse into self-loathing. With the higher vantage point offered by self-esteem, we are capable of looking at our bad behavior and harmful actions and seeing them as mistakes that are part of a large, complex, and ever changing picture of who we are as human beings.

Calm down first: Authentic and effective apologies can only come from a regulated place. Be sure to take the time and the actions necessary to calm yourself down. Without tending to the dysregulation it is too easy to come from a defensive place in which you end up finding a way to make your “I’m sorry” include a hint of blaming, of vagueness, excuse making, and/or focus on the OTHER person’s ‘crime sheet’. So breathe, ground, center, and get clear with yourself that your motivation to apologize is coming from a place of good will and the genuine wish for a better relationship.

Good, and better apologies: Remember that apologizing is not a way to speed up the repair process as much as it is a slowing down to create the time and space needed to take full inventory of the hurt and the responsibility. A real apology means that you are available, and will continue to make yourself available, by keeping your heart open, and giving the gift of deep listening. A true apology involves caring about the relationship and the other person more than you care about your own self-image and protection. It involves an acceptance of responsibility for your part of the problem and a commitment to ongoing awareness and action related to the hurt.  

Get your BUT out of your apology: There are many ways we ineffectively apologize if we are not coming from a calm and caring place. We make excuses, we send mixed signals, we become passive aggressive… and most commonly we use the word ‘but’. ‘Buts’ have NO place in an apology! This signals a rationalization, an excuse, and a focus on the other person’s behaviors. While often our partner may have their own pieces to apologize for in an interaction, a true apology only focuses on our behaviors, and never on their feelings. For example, you might say “I’m sorry for correcting your stories in front of all of our friends at dinner”, vs. “I’m sorry you felt belittled but I was just trying clarify the details”. Take ownership of your part, find out how it impacted them, and begin to repair.

The art of asking for an apology: While we all long to hear “I’m sorry”, “I really get it” and “your feelings make total sense”, the difficult truth is that sometimes we have to wait a long time. Furthermore, there are certain apologies that we long for and deserve that we may never get. This does not mean we can’t ask for it. The best reason to bring up something painful that you really want someone to acknowledge is because you need and want to hear your own voice speaking the truth about what you really believe and what you know to be true. When and if you do speak up, keep it simple. Be direct, short, and say it with kindness instead of begging for their attention, or criticizing/blaming/shaming them into a sorry. The longer the word count the quicker they will vacate the premises! Share your truth and then invite them to consider your feelings and the effect their behavior had on the way you felt. Of course there will be longer conversations needed, but the initial confrontation will go better if you say it concisely.

Accepting an apology: As much as there is an art to apologizing, there is also an art to receiving an apology. Initially it is best if you receive with grace and openness. Here too there is no place for the ‘BUT…’s. Simply thank the other for their apology, and save the discussion for a later time. Remember that acceptance is different than forgiveness- an apology can lead to both deep forgiveness and to letting go and both paths are worthy. The important piece is that together, and separately, but parties are working towards freedom.

The myths of forgiveness: We live in a culture that is obsessed with forgiveness. There are many myths, including the misleading belief that you must forgive in order to move on and be whole. The truth is that there are many different pathways to finding peace. Forgiveness is not a universally healing emotion, especially not when it is forced or coerced. “You need to forgive” are the last words that a hurt party needs to hear and will inevitably leave them feeling alone, and betrayed all over again. It is no one else’s job to tell you that you have to forgive, or that you should. It is, however, your own responsibility to find ways to protect yourself from the pain you hold, the corrosive aspects of bitterness, and the hate that may be keeping you stuck. This may or may not require forgiveness, but it sure as hell does not require transcending the anger and pain. The hurt holds wisdom, information, and often a plan for what is needed going forward. Listen in and get creative with your self care knowing that there are MANY ways to heal!

Sponsors:

Talkspace.com - Online therapy that matches you with your perfect therapist. You can communicate with your therapist daily - so they can be there for you during the moments you most need support. Visit talkspace.com/ALIVE and use the coupon code “ALIVE” for $30 off your first month of online therapy.

Resources:

Find out more about Harriet Lerner’s work, upcoming appearances, and follow her blog on her website

Read her newest book Why Won't You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts

Read her classic book The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships

Relisten to episode 12 with Harriet Lerner on the Dance of Anger

www.neilsattin.com/apologize Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide to this episode with Harriet Lerner

Our Relationship Alive Community on Facebook

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters - Check them Out

Oct 10, 2017

Do you ever feel alone in challenging times? There's an art to weaving a web of support for yourself, so that the people in your life know how to show up for you. And so that the people showing up for you actually do it in a way that truly supports you - and helps you move towards a more positive, life-affirming way of being. In today's episode, we talk about how to ask for help, how NOT to ask for help - and how to figure out exactly what you're asking for. We also address how to answer when someone is asking you for support. You don't have to do it alone, and in today's episode, you will discover ways to strengthen your connections to get through the tough times - as well as to celebrate the great times.

Resources

Free Guide to my Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets. These communication secrets will help you build connection in challenging moments - and are helpful in relationship, as well as in your communication with friends, colleagues, and family.

Sponsors

This episode is sponsored, in part, by Talkspace.com. Talkspace makes it easy to find your perfect therapist at an affordable price - with over 1500 licensed therapists available for you. You're able to message your therapist and hear back from them daily (text/audio/video), and you can also get live video sessions with your therapist. They also have couples counseling available! For more information, visit talkspace.com/alive and use the coupon code "ALIVE" to get $30 off your first month of online therapy.

 

Oct 4, 2017

How can you use the techniques of tantra in your everyday, busy life? How do you get off the “getting off” grid when it comes to sex, and find deeper, more satisfying connection with your partner? What is “relaxed entry” - and how can that revolutionize your sex life? In this episode, we receive a return visit from Diana Richardson, one of the world’s experts on tantra, and author of The Heart of Tantric Sex (among many other books on tantra). We talk about how to make tantra practical - along with a discussion of “relaxed entry” - which can revolutionize your sex life whether or not you’re dealing with erectile dysfunction. We talk about tantra in same-sex relationships, how to have sex without it being focused on “excitement” - and...much more!

If you’re interested in hearing my earlier episodes with Diana Richardson, please check out:

Episode 2 - Discover the Power of Slow Sex

Episode 10 - How to Get Off the Rollercoaster and Get Back to Love

Cultivate body perception: Our overarching cultural education teaches us to be mind oriented, and thus, detached from our bodies. We engage with our bodies mostly from a place of negativity- focusing mainly on feeling what isn’t working. When was the last time that you simply observed how you were sitting or standing? We must begin to engage our capacity to perceive our integrated selves through re-anchoring our awareness in our own bodies. Once we have some control of where our attention goes, we can then start to feel into our sensations and truly ask ourselves ‘what feels good to me? What might feel better?’. A relaxed body has the capacity to allow for an expansion of energy/life force/vitality- and this is the basis of tantra. In order to set this foundation start to tend to your inner awareness, checking in with your physical self several times throughout the day so that you can truly sense that you have a body and you can sense into where it is holding tension, where it is relaxed, where it needs some extra attention, etc.

Feeling on a cellular level: Paired with our detachment from our physical selves is also an addiction to excitement. Culturally we have this belief that sex requires the production of something. Most people are addicted to excitement and are often having sex that is so over stimulating that they undervalue the nuances and subtleties that could lead to greater pleasure, connection, and fulfilment. What if sex was less about building things up to climax through stimulation than it was about actually feeling what it is we are feeling? Tantric sensuality is founded on the concept that the greater our capacity to feel ourselves on a cellular level the greater our opportunity for deep pleasure is.

From sensation to sensitivity- Many of us have come into our sexuality believing 1) that climax is critical, 2) intensity equals satisfaction. The drive and strive for climax is mostly a mind-led directive, and can further disconnect us from our body intelligence. While intensity of sensation can feel great at times, the truth is that the more we rely on sensation in our sexual experiences, the less sensitive we become, and then the body will require more sensation to produce the same results. This overemphasis on stimulating sensation ends up decreasing our sensitivity. What is the difference? Sensation is extroverted and is situation-dependent whereas sensitivity is our intrinsic perspective on the feeling of our body at any given moment.

Slow shifts through continual reflection: In order to reorient ourselves back to our sensitivity we have to increasing our ability to be embodied. This training of our awareness back into body memory and knowing will not be quick - however the more you can incorporate this practice into daily life the sooner you will see yourself shift. Go inward and do a body scan while driving, cooking, talking, etc. Ask yourself “where am I holding unnecessary tension? How can I shift myself to promote more relaxation and softening?”. The more you can widen and soften your physical self the more access you will begin to gain into your more subtle internal experiences- those that become doorways into deeper sexual experiences.

Do more with your own body! Want more access to pleasure in your body? Start seeking activities that provide opportunities for you to experience the joy of being a being in a body! Book somatic experiencing sessions- massage, cranial sacral, floats, facials, and more. Find trusting professionals to help you connect to yourself through safe touch.

“Let’s put the bodies together and see what happens” Sexuality without shoulds is WAY better! What if masculinity were not tied to erection? What if you could silence the shoulds and be with what is, how it is, when it is… When you move away from a preconceived notion of what sex is supposed to be like or look like or feel like and move towards a perspective of ‘let’s put our bodies together and see what happens’ you enter into a playful, spontaneous, surprising, authentic and usually delightful and informative way of relating.

One way couples can practice entering this space is to begin exploring relaxed entry. This is when you use loads of lubrication to guide a non erect penis into the vagina with the intention of just moving around and allowing for sensitivity and exploration. Once the penis is entered without erection, you can rest and see what happens, or move around, but do not push - just enjoy the feeling(s). This is not only often very pleasurable for both in itself, but it is another way to tune more deeply into nuanced body awareness. Together allow yourselves to see how your parts awaken to each other, and let the process unfold in an organic way. Meanwhile, allow all the feelings - including the non-feelings! Often when you tune in you realize how much you have been missing by simply focusing on erection and climax.

Containing the energy: While orgasms are great- there are many different ways to get there. When we pump and contract and work to build up sensation we tend to discharge the energy. What happens when you don’t chase it? What happens when you bring curiosity, playfulness, and a surrendering to doing things differently? As you each get to know your bodies in more subtle and deeper ways you will learn to drive your attention to different places, and to actually choose to contain the sexual energy and charge and divert it into new places, and more places.

Bring awareness to yourself as you are making love and being with- If you only have 15-20 minutes available, dedicate this time to laying together and being together. Hold each other’s eye gaze. Land in your body. Allow your physical selves to just be in proximity and notice together what arises. This being-ness and then noticing and naming is what will help pave the way towards reclaiming your sensitivity.

Sponsors:

Talkspace.com - Online therapy that matches you with your perfect therapist. You can communicate with your therapist daily - so they can be there for you during the moments you most need support. Visit talkspace.com/ALIVE and use the coupon code “ALIVE” for $30 off your first month of online therapy.

Resources:

Learn more about Making Love retreats led by Diana Richardson here

Read Diana’ Richardson’s books including Slow Sex: The Path to Fulfilling and Sustainable Sexuality

Listen to Diana Richardson’s other episodes with Relationship Alive:

Episode 2: neilsattin.com/tantra

Episode 10: neilsattin.com/tantra2

www.neilsattin.com/tantra3 Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide to this episode with Diana Richardson

Our Relationship Alive Community on Facebook

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters - Check them Out

1