Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Real Love

"Real Love makes sure that everyone feels a deep sense of emotional safety in a relationship of any type, something precious few know how to offer...if I take care of your emotional safety in a very conscious way, you will take care of mine; this is done through crystal clear agreements."

~ Steve Solomon

Steve is a former student of mine and had sent me this quote because it expresses a belief he has that was informed in part by his work in my program.  I found this quote in my email just after I ended a counseling session with a couple for which these issues are crucial.

Steve suggests there is something we might call Real Love which implies there is a kind of love that is less than fully real.  I might be inclined to say Deep Love or maybe Full Love, but the point is that what passes for love in some relationships is less than what is possible because it does not create “a deep sense of emotional safety.”

I have met with Pete and Sarah four times now.  They hope to marry some day but they are currently living separately and the fact that Sarah has moved into a house that is owned by a former lover, a guy who often drops by to say hi, drives Pete nuts.  That Pete calls Sarah multiple times an hour and drops by her work in retail has Sarah clamoring to establish some boundaries for herself.  Neither feels safe and I ended the session suggesting I meet with each separately before we meet again together. 

I am in total agreement with Steve that we create emotional safety through crystal clear agreements.  But to assume that if I consciously care for the safety of another they will necessarily take care of my safety smacks to me of co-dependency.  And any agreements we make, no matter how clear, will be things we will have to repair when we hurt each other.

Pete and Sarah have had plenty of hurt.  They have each had many relationships in which they were not safe.  They have a clear and conscious wish to create emotional safety for each other.  And neither feels safe.  They will only be safe to the degree to which they can each be responsible for their own safety. 

Trusting the other to be responsible for my safety appeals to my hurt child parts.  Those parts of me don’t know that I can care for myself and long for that care to come from another.  It is only as I become expert at caring for myself that I become safe with others and they become safe with me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Building Healthy Relationships for professional men

I am starting a new Building Healthy Relationships training group on Monday evenings beginning April 25, 2011. The group will meet from 7:00 until 9:00 and will run for eight weeks taking a break for Memorial Day and ending June 20.

What is it for?
For all of us, the most precious aspect of our lives is our relationships with others. Spouse, children, parents, family…these are the things that matter most to us. As important as our health may be to us, study after study has shown that having quality relationships lowers blood pressure, lowers cortisol (a hormone associated with stress), and stabilizes blood sugar, which results in slower aging and longer life.
While relationships are precious and we all have them, some people are better at forming deep and durable relationships than are others. There are skills we can learn to help us make better choices in our significant relationships.

Who is it for?
While the Building Healthy Relationships material is valuable for everyone, our experience is that one learns it best when in a supportive and safe group. One important aspect of such a group is that it be one in which each member feels they have a lot in common with the other members. In this case all of the group members will be professional men. If you are interested in the training but do not identify yourself this way, just let us know and we will try to find a group that will work for you.

How can I learn more?
The first step is to attend a free introduction which is offered on the second Sunday of each month. The next one is April 10 from 6:30 – 8:30. To register simply follow the links on the web site at www.CreativeConflictResolution.org/bhr/ or go directly to the event page at http://www.trumba.com/calendars/cccr?trumbaEmbed=eventid%3D90677611%26view%3Devent%26-childview%3D and click the words Sign Up.
If you are not able to attend the Sunday evening preview and want to learn more or join the group, just contact me at 314-853-9385 (mobile) or at MLRobinson@charter.net.

Dr. Mark Lee Robinson
Center for Creative Conflict Resolution

Monday, February 28, 2011

Preview of the Building Healthy Relationships class

I have recently revised the Building Healthy Relationships class to make it shorter and less expensive. This makes it more affordable but it also gets students up and running faster with the material.

The core of the class is the observation that our relationships have depth and durability to the extent that we are able to name, address, and resolve the conflicts which arise within them. We tend to see the same conflicts arise again and again, so it is important to note that resolving a conflict doesn’t mean that it won’t arise again. It means that each time it arises we get better and better at addressing it such that we create what we and others need without expecting them to change. As we do so, we find our relationships become safer and more satisfying.

Those interested in what the program has to offer can attend a free introduction. The preview is presented each month on the second Sunday evening from 6:30-8:30. The next preview will be March 13. Details are available here.

Who is the class for?
Virtually anyone will find the class helpful, but most take the class to get specific help for addressing persistent conflicts in significant relationships. The class addresses such things as
· how we choose to act when we are flooded with feelings (anger management),
· how to address issues without starting a fight,
· how to become more aware of our own needs, and
· how to create and repair agreements.

Is it for couples?
Couples may want to come to the preview together but I recommend they take the class separately. If they want to work on the material together we can set up a separate program. In the class it is important to be free to share whatever is going on for you without having to be careful what you say in front of your partner.

How long?
The class meets for two hours once a week for eight weeks.

How much?
The cost is $250 per person.

The next class will meet on Thursday evenings from 7-9 and will start when we have eight people signed up.