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couples playbook

The Couples Playbook

Written by Rob Giltner, MAMFT

The process of self-soothing is extremely important.

  • When an individual feels flooded (emotionally overwhelmed) she/he may begin to have over 90bpm and it makes it very difficult to listen to understand, offer empathy, and dialogue. This may then result in stonewalling, criticism, and defensiveness.
  • Antidote to flooding is self-soothing. Being aware that you are flooded and that your partner might be flooded is the first step to avoid causing damage in a relationship.
    • What triggers you and your partner to feel flooded?
    • What ways does your partner soothe?
    • What is something your partner does that soothes you?
  • Couples who soothe are extremely more likely to come back to the argument and discuss the problem in a rational and gentle way leading to a solution.
    • Steps to manage flooding:
      • Being mindful
      • Pause
      • Soothe
      • Ask for a Break (not avoidance)
      • Come back to the problem

The act of accepting bids.

  • Couples have small moments throughout the day that build up and can “make or break” a relationship.
  • Bids are bids for connection.
    • Ex. Come sit with me while I read.
    • Do you love me?
    • Is it cold in here?
    • What do you think of this outift?
    • Look at this meme.
    • That cooking class looks fun.
    • I am so tired.
    • Did you see that?
    • I am fine.
  • Couples need to accept influence to accept the bid.
    • Accepting, understanding, and allowing your partners perspective, feelings, and needs into your decision-making process as a couple.
    • Find the emotion in the bid and turn towards.
  • Managing failed bids.
  • Couples must repair after failed bids because small moments can create lasting scars. Ex. A partner might be feeling lately that her partner is annoyed or frustrated towards her. She offers a bid to connect to feel valued. If her partner is not aware of the bid it has failed and she may be left feeling rejected and not important and that feeling can grow.
    • The Script to repair after failed bids:
      • Understand your partners subject reality. (Both partners have their own subject reality)
      • Communicate your understanding, make meaning of it.
      • Admit some role.
      • Offer empathy.
    • Ask follow up questions:
      • How have I/we been expressing needs for loneliness?
      • How have I/we been expressing needs to be alone?
      • Is there a better way I/we can express needs?
      • Is there a conversation we need to have but have not?
  • Understand the triggers
    • Events related to influence.
    • Events related to acceptance.
    • Events related to affection.
  • Triggers that go unnoticed can grow into emotional wounds that can corrupt relationships.
  • Find the “seeds” (dreams within conflict) to heal wounds.
toxic positivity

When the Dust Settles: Avoiding Gaslighting, Toxic Positivity, & External Validation

Written by Megan Bayles Bartley, MAMFT, LMFT

In Julio Vincent Gambuto’s brilliant article, “Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting” we see that the treadmill we’ve been on for a decade has abruptly stopped. When life returns to “normal” or some semblance of a “new normal” the economy is going to need a huge boost and we will be sold a lie that we need stuff to soothe ourselves from the trauma we’ve experienced due to COVID-19.

Gambuto’s article refers to Gaslighting as: “Manipulation into doubting your own sanity.” The example he gives is, “Carl made Mary think she was crazy, even though she clearly caught him cheating. He gaslit her.”

The last several weeks of realizing that the treadmill is broken and there’s no way we’re ever getting back on it has been a traumatic experience whether we realize it yet or not. While we’re “in” the traumatic experience we go into survival mode (fight, flight, or freeze) to get through it. It’s not until the trauma has stopped and things go ‘back to normal” that we begin to see the effects of trauma unfold.

Most of us are quite resilient and will recover from the isolation of this pandemic just fine. Some of us will be shaken up for a while and need help getting our bearings. If this is you, therapy can be extremely helpful. Look for a wonderful therapist who will validate your experience and allow you to move beyond it as you are ready. Don’t get caught up in toxic positivity which forces you to think that if you aren’t “staying positive” something’s wrong with you. That’s a load of shit. You are human and your moods are watery, shifting and changing with the tides. A good therapist helps you make friends with the ocean so you can navigate it and find the balance that is best for you in each new moment as you ride the wave of life.

Click here to read the full article! 

calm yourself during covid-19

5 Easy and Practical Ways to Calm Yourself During COVID-19

Written by Megan Bayles Bartley, MAMFT, LMFT

I think I have COVID-19! I’m having a hard time breathing, my chest feels tight, and I’m more tired than normal. Or perhaps it’s just my wonderful friend Anxiety, reminding me I’m still alive and kicking.

Here are five things you can do to welcome your friend, Calm, into your life during this time:

1. Blow out Birthday Candles!

Say what?! Yup! When you are holding your breath, you already have a breath of air in so you want to focus on your exhale. Forcefully blowing out air and squeezing every last bit of air out of your lungs invites your body to breathe a deep breath in on the inhale. Do this a few times and it feels wonderfully invigorating!

2. Get clear on what you have control over and what you don’t have control over.

The easy answer is: You don’t have any control over COVID19, you only have control over yourself. Your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Even if it sometimes feels like you don’t, you can learn how to do this. What you don’t have control over is anyone or anything else — what they do, what they say, how they think, how they feel, or how this whole pandemic plays out.

3. Focus on Your Five Senses

Take a moment, or two, wherever you are, to focus on each of your five senses — sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Encourage yourself to find descriptive words for each sense you notice. Being curious and noticing counteracts the desire to judge or evaluate things. Allow what you notice to be just as it is without it being good or bad, right or wrong, you like it or don’t like it.

Click here to read the full article!

extrovert

The Extrovert’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving COVID-19

Written by Ashley Vaden, LMFT

It’s a basic human need to feel connected to others, and more importantly, connected to ourselves. The fact is, we are all in this together, and we share much more in common than we realize. Everyone knows what it feels like to be alone, or have your mental health rocked in a time of confusion or uncertainty. Here’s how to make the most of it:

Get creative.

There are a lot of posts/messages on social media about making this a productive time; to really buckle down and tackle projects that you haven’t had time for, read that book you’ve always wanted to read, and start that hobby that has always felt like a distant dream. The truth is, it’s great to get stuff done and “be productive,” but because this is a difficult time, we might be placing a little bit too much pressure on ourselves to “be our best selves” and “live the life you’ve always imagined.” While we are not advocating that you neglect our responsibilities, shun your school work, and stay in our pjs all day (although, we’re not against it), we are saying that instead of framing your quantity of work to equal a successful day, why don’t you give yourself he chance to be creative?

Is there any creative endeavor you’ve wanted to research, learn about, or even try? This is the time to go for it. Not only will you be more present because you’re learning something new, it adds an extra built in layer of meaning to your day that doesn’t have to come from getting stuff done. You are more than a number; use your imagination. Connect with your sense of wonder, your curiosity, your passion, your interests. Ask yourself, “what inspires me?” and run with it.

We know the words “mindfulness” or “meditation” may make your eyes glaze over.

But hear us out! Just 30 minutes of self-compassion a day has shown to make a positive impact on mood and increased happiness (Desmond, 2017). Doing this practice may add some much needed structure to your day and help to cultivate joy. A lot of people think that if they just focus on the future and the fact that one day the quarantine will be over, as soon as that day comes, they will be so happy! Full of energy! Thankful, blessed! However, our happiness doesn’t always work that way.

Most of the time, our happiness is kind of programmed to stay at a certain level, and if we aren’t intentional about smelling the roses and thinking about what we’re thankful for, even just in the current moment, then our happiness levels tend to drop and may take a while to comeback up. Kind of like if you don’t go to the gym for a while you can get out of shape. If you are intentionally working toward being positive during this time, you’re much more likely to be able to bounce right back when this is but a distant nightmare.

  • Take a few minutes to focus on your breath. Try taking 5 deep breaths, slowly in and out, and notice how your breath feels in your nose, and in your throat.
  • Focus on feeling thankful for breath. Focus on breathing in positivity and joy, and breathing out anything that is negative and does not serve your body or mind.
  • Identify and locate any positive sensations, thoughts, or feelings in your body, and imagine these growing, almost like a flower blooming. Welcome them to become as big as they want or even to stay the same.
  • Take a minute to write down what you noticed in the exercise and 3 things you are thankful for that day.

Volunteer and reach out.

If you’re catching yourself complaining, know that it’s ok, and that you can offset it by reaching out to someone or helping someone. We aren’t here to compare pain, or feel sorry for ourselves and others; we’re in this together, and there is always someone out there who maybe has it a little or a lot harder.

That’s not said to bring on feelings of shame, but more to make you aware that you can help someone in this time. There is a problem out there and all it needs is someone to care enough to fix it. If you’re naturally inclined to want to be around people and connect with them, find out how you can become involved in community efforts to make an impact. Your generation has so much to contribute that you may not even be aware of! This is an opportunity for you to notice a deficit and bring light to it with your natural talents, gifts, abilities, and interests.

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social neglect; organize a Go Fund me with your friends, or even reach out to someone that you’ve been meaning to check on. This could be a great time to build relationships. Maybe someone that you’ve always wanted to know more about is feeling lonely at this time too; wouldn’t it be a great opportunity to connect or find out more about someone that you may not have had the opportunity to in the past? What if they are wanting to talk to someone just as much as you are?

Welcome New Therapist Chris Davis, LMFT!

Welcome New Therapist Chris Davis, LMFT!

Like I said a few posts ago… Louisville Mindfulness Center is E X P A N D I N G!!

Chris, Megan & Margaret

Margaret and I are excited to have Chris Davis joining our team. Chris has been a therapist for several years and is super-interesting! He’s had a few careers before becoming a therapist so he has lots of life experience (which we love!!). You can read more about him HERE.

Chris and Margaret will be taking the bulk of new clients as I (Megan) focus on some new endeavors. Clients will be in excellent hands! I would not trust just anyone to work in my practice.  I hand-pick all the therapists who work in my practice because they are excellent at what they do. We are committed to providing excellent services at Louisville Mindfulness Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisville Marriage and Family Therapist, Megan Bayles Bartley LMFT, Expands Her Counseling and Meditation Practice by Launching the Louisville Mindfulness Center

Megan Bayles Bartley, a well-known marriage and family therapist in Louisville, KY, is excited to announce that she has expanded her counseling practice by opening the region’s first mindfulness center. After seeing an increase in demand for her therapeutic and meditation services, Megan hired two additional therapists to join her practice and to help establish the Louisville Mindfulness Center.

The Louisville Mindfulness Center mission is to help participants find peace and joy within themselves and their relationships through therapy. Megan, and her new team of therapists, plans to provide the necessary mental tools available to clients, so that they can more effectively deal with life’s stressors in a practical manner.

Some of the therapeutic approaches offered by the Louisville Mindfulness Center include the following:

  • One-on-one sessions that address an individual’s specific needs in that moment of time. During these sessions mindfulness practices that will help relieve stress associated with the life event in question are discussed.
  • Group classes that are affordable opportunities to be introduced to the practice of mindfulness. Some also get a “refresher” course for those who need to get back on the right track towards mindfulness.
  • One-hour mindfulness meditations that introduce the practice of mindfulness to newcomers. These also help refocus individuals who have strayed from a personal path towards mindfulness.

Megan is making it easier to access therapeutic services incorporating a different view of mindfulness in Louisville, KY. She hopes that as a result individuals will be able to decrease their levels of anxiety. The coping skills taught are designed to calm a person and help them think in more peaceful and joyful terms.

For more information on Louisville Mindfulness Center, Megan Bayles Bartley, and her expanding practice, click here. If you are looking for a therapist in the Louisville, KY-area who incorporates mindfulness into their practice – contact Louisville Mindfulness Center today. Megan and her two new therapist associates have open appointment slots available for new or returning clients. You can register for an appointment online by clicking here.

 

Marriage Counseling, Anger Management, Anxiety, Couples Counseling

We are expanding! Introducing… Stewart Morgan!

Welcome Stewart Morgan!

Marriage Counseling, Anger Management, Anxiety, Couples Counseling

Due to the high demand for services, I am happy to announce I have added a new therapist to my practice.

Stewart works with individuals, couples and families to communicate better and feel more connected in their relationships. Not only is he a Marriage and Family Therapist Associate, he also has a master’s degree in Art Therapy.  He loves helping his clients come up with creative solutions to their issues.

Stewart grew up in Bangladesh, India and the US before attending college in Arkansas and graduate school in Missouri. He has a knack for working with clients of different cultural backgrounds and worldviews. He likes helping clients be accepting of themselves even when it feels like others aren’t always accepting of them.

Stewart’s excited to get to know you and be a positive support for you and I’m grateful to have him!

I’m expanding! Looking to Hire a Contract Therapist!