ONLINE MARRIAGE COUNSELING THROUGH MINDFULNESS MEDITATION THERAPY
Conflict results from emotional energy that becomes trapped in beliefs and patterns of habitual reactivity.
Mindfulness is a very effective awareness skill for working with these underlying emotions and resolving them so that communication becomes more effective and harmonious.
Mindfulness Therapy can be conducted ONLINE through SKYPE.
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Does this interest you? Send me an email now. Tell me about yourself and how I can help you. Schedule a trial session via Skype now.
Marriage Counseling Online
ONLINE RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING
I provide Online Marriage Counseling via Skype using Mindfulness Therapy to help you break free from the habitual patterns of emotional reactivity that create conflict within the relationship.
Through Mindfulness Therapy, each of you will learn how to identify those reactive emotions and how to control them through forming a non-reactive relationship with your emotions. This is an absolutely essential part of breaking free from emotional reactivity so that you can discover better ways of relating to each other, establishing trust and growing the relationship.
Welcome! My name is Peter Strong, and I am a professional online therapist. I provide online therapy via Skype for individuals and for couples. I provide Online Marriage Counseling in which I work with each person separately, usually, to help them identify and overcome patterns of emotional reactivity. These reactive loops create a great deal of conflict and stress in relationships, as you will be familiar. So it is very important to find the emotions underneath that are fueling these reactive loops between both partners. And, by changing your relationship with these emotions you can begin to break free of them and establishing more positive ways of being with each other.
So, that’s what Mindfulness Therapy is all about. It’s about learning how to break free from your compulsive emotions that drive emotional reactivity. And this is essential in order to begin to establish freedom in the relationship where you can discover how to relate to each other, how to love each other effectively, without being controlled by these habitual patterns of emotional reactivity.
So, if you are interested in online marriage counseling, please visit my website and contact me, and we can schedule a session in which I can work with both of you, first of all, and then usually, I work with each of you separately so that you are both able to take care of your own emotions that are fueling the reactive loops between the two of you. So, please, contact me today and let’s schedule a session. Thank you.
Relationships are challenging at the best of times, and a successful marriage needs to be a joint endeavor in which both parties are fully committed to managing and resolving conflicts and emotional upsets as they arise. This is a skill and life-long journey, and one of the best tools that can help you negotiate the many emotional problems that will arise in a marriage or other family relationship is the skill of mindfulness.
We all tend to become locked into patterns of habitual reactivity and fixed points of view. We all become experts in what is right and wrong, good and bad, and we impose these beliefs on each other. We have demands and expectations that we “know” are completely right, and impose these on our partner. However, relationships do not respond to demands and expectations or any other from of behavior designed to control another. Relationships thrive on communication, and for communication to be effective there must be freedom and openness based on trust and compassion. The only way to establish this quality of freedom is for each partner to take responsibility for his or her emotional reactions and learn to resolve them so that they do not corrupt communications. Emotional reactivity causes the mind to contract and become fearful and this inhibits effective communication and problem solving. We all know the importance of getting in touch with our feelings, but how do we do this, and what do we do when we have gotten in touch with our fear, anxiety, anger, disappointment or hurt?
In Mindfulness Meditation Therapy, whether given in the Office or through Skype sessions, the focus is on teaching you how to work with your inner feelings and how to establish a relationship with them that facilitates healing, transformation and resolution. Mindfulness is a particular form of focused awareness that can be described as “engaged-presence.” We choose to engage rather than avoid or deny our inner pain. We choose to engage with our hurt rather than blaming it on our partner or some other external cause. We change our focus from, “I am angry because…,” to “I am angry,” and then further refine this into, “I notice anger within me.” With each shift, we begin to change our relationship with our anger, or any other emotion, such that it becomes an object that we can relate to. This is the first part of what it means to get in touch with our feelings.
The second part of “getting in touch” is to learn to be present with our inner pain or hurt. Being present means listening with an open mind and an open heart and being willing to “sit” with our feelings without trying to fix them, resist them or do anything other than be still and open with a mind intent on listening and being aware. Mindfulness is the art of listening in this way, and creating a therapeutic space around inner suffering that is imbued with natural love and compassion. When you begin to relate to your pain in this way, it responds in kind and begins to unfold, unclench, unwind and loosen its grip on you. This is what promotes healing and the resolution of the emotional component of your problem. Heal this and you will find it much easier to resolve the objective components to the problems.
Really, learning to relate to another begins when you learn how to relate to your inner self, those emotional beings that reside within your mind. The two cannot be separated, and when you learn to love yourself, it is then that you will know how to love another. Mindfulness provides the skillful means to achieve both.
Mindfulness Meditation Therapy (MMT) for Couples
MMT is an exciting new development in which mindfulness is applied directly to help transform and resolve difficult emotional states such as anxiety, fear, phobias, anger and other forms of habitual emotional reactivity that affects the quality of our happiness and the quality of our personal relationships.
Personal relationships provide one of the greatest challenges in life and most of us will experience difficulties with patterns of habitual reactivity triggered by our partner, our children or other family members. Our buttons get pushed and we become angry or upset, fearful or anxious. This dynamic is based on learned habitual reactivity and both the perpetrator and victim are compelled to react, often against their better judgment. You may say something knowing that it will cause offense, but are unable to stop yourself from saying it. The victim also feels compelled to react by taking offense and becoming upset or angry. These reactive dynamics take away our freedom and erode the delicate and fragile nature of all relationships, making it hard to feel love and compassion, leaving us bitter and contracted with a closed heart.
However, what has been learned through conditioning can be unlearned through mindfulness. The key to changing these repetitive patterns of habitual reactivity in both the victim and perpetrator is to first learn, through practice, to recognize reactivity in all its forms as it arises. Reactivity depends and thrives on two principle factors: ignorance and emotional charge. Ignorance, or the unawareness of reactivity causes us to repeat the reaction over and over again, like a machine. The first phase of MMT is primarily about learning to recognize reactions as and when they arise and replace ignorance with awareness. This is the first function of mindfulness, the factor of RECOGNITION. Without this most basic first step nothing can change, but with awareness comes the possibility of change. Recognition is the beginning of the transformational process and often this skill alone is sufficient to totally change the whole reactive dynamic between two people.
The next phase of MMT involves changing how we view the reaction and associated emotional energy. This is called REFRAMING and is one of a number of skills that is taught in the psychological science of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and which is another chief modality used in MMT. Normally, (ie when we are unaware) we identify with emotional reactions and literally become the reaction. When a reaction of feeling hurt arises, we become the emotional reaction of hurting. Anger arises and we become angry. We say “I am upset,” or “I am angry” because we literally take on the entire identity of the emotion. During reframing, we learn to stop this automatic process of subjective identification and learn to see the reaction as an object that is not self, but simply a phenomenon that has arisen in our consciousness due to various causes and conditions. When the reaction of feeling upset arises, we learn to see it as an object within us, rather like seeing a bubble rising in a pond. The bubble is not the pond, but simply a small object within the pond and the emotion is not our self, but simply a small part within our self. After reframing the emotion, we learn to say, “I notice a feeling of hurting within me” or “I notice anger arising in my mind.” This is a very important step, because it counteracts the habitual tendency to react and opens up a sense of space and choices around the emotion.
The next phase of MMT, after RECOGNITION and REFRAMING is the most important step of forming a RELATIONSHIP with the internal felt-sense of the emotional reaction. Let us explore this in more detail. Once you have recognized a reaction and made it into an object that you can see and experience, then you begin to see the emotional reaction as an object to be investigated and known in its own right, rather than getting entangled in the storyline of who did what to whom or who is right and who is wrong. The storyline may be very compelling and you may feel very offended or hurt, but indulging in negative, emotionally charged thinking is seldom an effective tool for resolving emotional conflict. This is the first function of mindfulness – learning to recognize a reaction, seeing it as an object and not getting seduced into further reactivity.
The kind of relationship that we cultivate in MMT is called the Mindfulness Based Relationship. This relationship has certain unique qualities. The first and most important quality is non-reactivity. By learning to recognize reactivity, we can stop the tendency to proliferate further reactivity in the form of reactive thinking, or further emotional reactions of aversion and displeasure. The second characteristic of the mindfulness-based relationship is about opening our heart and mind and developing a quality of genuine caring towards the inner pain of our anger or resentment. Instead of turning away, we turn towards our suffering. This does not mean that we indulge in feeling sorry for ourselves and certainly does not mean that we indulge in reactive thinking. Rather, we learn to be fully present with our inner emotion with a keen level of attention. The third quality of mindfulness is investigation. We turn towards our pain, we become attentive and then we take this further step and investigate the deeper inner structure of the experience. What seemed like the solid emotion of anger or resentment begins to unfold into a complex interior landscape of subtle feelings and memories and very often, some form of experiential imagery.
This is the fourth phase of MMT: TRANSFORMATION and RESOLUTION. The exact nature of what unfolds is unique to each person, but the effect of becoming aware of this inner detailed structure is highly transformational. Often, beneath anger there is sadness and beneath resentment there is fear. These more subtle feelings may give rise to further feelings and experience. During the process of transformation, emotions literally dissolve into many small parts, which can be more readily digested and re-integrated by the psyche and our innate intelligence into something more stable. This is the final step of MMT, called RESOLUTION. Any form of emotional suffering, or dukkha, as it is called in Buddhism, represents a state of instability and conflict in the psyche. The psyche hates instability and will always try to resolve dukkha if given the freedom to change. Mindfulness provides the therapeutic space and freedom in which transformation and resolution can occur.
In this way, each person in the relationship works with his or her individual reactive habits. Each learns to identify reactions, develops a mindfulness-based relationship with the underlying felt-sense of each reaction and then allows the internal structure of the experience to unfold into finer detail leading to the transformation and resolution of the compulsive emotional energy that makes us react against our will. When there is freedom from reactivity, we begin to discover new possibilities, new choices in how we respond to the challenges of being in a relationship. The process may be more complex than is explained here, but the underlying theme is quite simple and it is about engaging with our experience, whether pleasant or painful with the faculty of mindfulness. If you can do this, then healing will proceed quite naturally.
ONLINE RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING
Mindfulness is proving to be the most essential part of successful psychotherapy for individuals and couples seeking to overcome anxiety and conflict. But what is mindfulness? This article explore some of the major features of mindfulness and why it is so important for us.
What is mindfulness and why are so many psychotherapists and counselors now incorporating mindfulness into their practices?
There is no doubt that mindfulness has become a buzz word that is attracting considerable interest, especially after the tremendous success of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and others. Such mindfulness-based programs have now become the method of choice for effective stress management and are having a major effect on how we approach psychotherapy and the management of anxiety and depression.
Of course, mindfulness was central to the Buddha’s path of enlightenment and awakening, so the practice of mindfulness has been around for a very long time. Today we are gaining a new appreciation of the remarkable place that mindfulness has in our own lives as a tool for healing the mental afflictions that assail us and the conflict and violence endemic in our world. Now, more than ever, people from around the world are re-investigating this ancient state of consciousness that has remained central to Buddhist meditation and practice.
Mindfulness itself is a remarkably simple practice, and the full understanding of the principle of mindfulness is easily overlooked and poorly understood. But we are already faced by many concepts that have central importance in our lives, but which cannot be easily understood, except through approaching them over and over again at different times and from different angles. Love is one such concept, as is God and Buddha.
The other important consideration to appreciate, before we attempt to define mindfulness, is that the word is multi-dimensional and incorporates several different qualities of conscious awareness, which I will attempt to outline below.
First and foremost, mindfulness, or sati in the Pali language used at the time of the Buddha, means to be fully aware of what is happening as it is happening. It is the opposite of daydreaming and absent-mindedness and the usual condition of habitual reactivity that governs most of our waking consciousness. In its most basic aspect, mindfulness means to remember to be present and this means to be able to recognize when we are not mindful. This I call the RECOGNITION function of mindfulness.
Most of the time, we are not aware of ourselves, but simply react out of habit. This happens, and I react that way. He says this, and I feel hurt. She says this, and I react by becoming angry. Such patterns of reactivity are very common in our personal relationships and are at the root of most marital conflict and suffering. We just cannot seem to stop ourselves reacting. This is a universal problem that affects not only our relationships with people and partners, but also how we relate to our inner experience and emotions. We seldom really experience our inner suffering, anxiety or depression, but most often all that we experience are the products of our reactivity. We may feel anxious, but instead of focusing our attention on this feeling, we become embroiled in reactive thinking and worrying. The original emotional complex becomes repressed and frozen in the recesses of the mind where it will continue to fester and generate suffering.
It is also a universal principle that if we are unable to be present for our inner suffering or to be present with our tendency to react, then nothing will change. If we cannot be fully present for our partner, then we cannot learn how to relate differently and more skillfuly. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that we wake up and learn to recognize our reactions and get to know them in great detail. This marks the beginning of the path to change and transformation and the healing of conflict and suffering. Mindfulness is a process of tuning in to what is happening in our minds so that we can recognize when we are becoming reactive so that we introduce the element of choice. This choice about whether to react or not may be very brief, but it is a beginning and a sound foundation for transformation.
The first function of mindfulness is, therefore, about learning to be present and aware of reactivity. It is simply learning to show up for your own experience, rather than being compelled down a path of mental activity that takes you further and further away from the present. However, this is only the beginning of mindfulness. Recognition is a great skill to learn, but mindfulness has much, much more to offer. The second dimension of mindfulness is learning to establish a relationship with whatever you are experiencing – whether this is your inner experience of a painful emotion, or outer experience of your partner.
Mindfulness describes a particular form of awareness that is present-centered, direct and non-reactive towards an object of awareness. It is best described as the combination of PRESENCE and INVESTIGATION in which there is an openness of mind and heart to fully experience and know what is present in our field of awareness. Presence is one of the most important components of sensitive listening as when we are listening to a friend who is suffering. As we know from experience, simply being there with him or her in this way with complete attention and presence is often more important than what we say or do. In this same way, learning to be fully present for our emotional suffering is highly therapeutic and is perhaps one of the major contributions to the healing process. When we can be fully present for our experience, then it responds quite naturally by unfolding and differentiating – we simply start to see and experience more. This is a natural consequence of a mindfulness-based relationship: the movement from the superficial first appearance of things to an awareness of a much deeper structure; the movement from the gross to the subtle; from falseness to truth. If you look with a mind that is open, you will discover more than if you simply react out of habit.
This second dimension of mindfulness which allows us to see more of the truth and fine inner structure of our emotions and reactions not only gives us more material to solve our problems, but actually opens us to the intuitive dimension of experience and the natural innate intelligence that already knows how to heal conflict and suffering, but is hidden from us by our reactivity. Therefore, there is a third dimension to mindfulness: THE TRANSFORMATIONAL DIMENSION in which the psyche heals itself through intuitive awareness and intuitive intelligence. Over and over again, I find that my clients already know how to solve their anxiety, depression or even phobias and post-traumatic stress. But, the solutions are very subtle and this demands a very refined quality of listening and investigation at the core level of their suffering and conflicts. This is where mindfulness really comes to its own, because the quality of sensitivity and subtle attention to detailed that is developed during mindfulness psychotherapy creates the ideal environment and space in which transformation can occur.
Mindfulness Psychotherapy is a very gentle yet highly focussed approach that produces immediate changes at the core level of your experience. It is a very user-friendly approach that is easy to learn, when you have an experienced teacher, and is also very empowering, because you will be learning about how you work at a direct, experiential level.
I invite you to schedule a consultation with me so we can explore how mindfulness psychotherapy can help you realize you goals.
Peter Strong, PhD is a Professional psychotherapist and Online Therapist, teacher and author based in Boulder, Colorado, who specializes in the study of mindfulness and its application in Mindfulness Psychotherapy for healing the root causes of anxiety, depression, stress and Post-traumatic stress disorder.
Besides face-to-face therapy sessions, Dr Strong offers Online Counseling Therapy through live Skype video sessions.
CONTACT ME NOW!
Does this interest you? Send me an email now. Tell me about yourself and how I can help you. Schedule a trial session via Skype now.
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