Tag Archive for: marriage counseling

forgive

How To Forgive

Written by Megan Bayles Bartley, MAMFT, LMFT

“How do I forgive? How can I let go? When will this feeling go away? How do I get over this?”

These are phrases I hear daily. These are phrases I’ve asked my own therapist.

The best advice I was given is to find compassion for the person or the behavior as well as for myself. I had no idea what this looked like. I wasn’t even really open to the idea at first. It seemed that if I was compassionate, I would be excusing the person and the behavior. It took me years, if not decades, to allow that compassion to slowly become more present in my life and feel it make a home in my heart. It was DEFINITELY not an easy process.

The more compassion grew inside of me, I finally understood why it is so important. I thought of all the years I spent (perhaps wasted) in anger, fear, and anxiety that hurt me much more than it hurt anyone else.

Be open to compassion. If not for someone else, at least for yourself.

When you are compassionate with yourself, you model for others how to treat you. When you are compassionate with others, you invite them to be compassionate with you.

You deserve it. You are worth it.

domino

Domino Stacks in Relationships

Written by Rob Giltner, MAMFT

Have you noticed that you and your partner have arguments about the same thing over and over again? Or perhaps the subject matter in arguments gets changed to something in the past or unrelated to what caused the conflict in the first place? This may be a result of emotional dominos being stacked up within your relationship. 

Emotional dominos are under the surface conflicts that are unresolved.

Usually, these dominos are hidden and only surface during a conflict. Often dominos are related to events of inclusion, affection, and influence. For example, whenever your partner does or says something to you that makes you feel unloved, a small domino appears regardless if it was intentional or not. 

If we do not repair this domino, it grows into a larger one and likely breeds more dominos. These dominos then begin stacking up and leaning on each other, and small moments in your relationship can knock them over and cause conflict. 

One such small moment, for example, could be your partner not sitting next to you on the couch. This action knocks all those other dominos down and the event of not sitting on the couch turns into something more emotionally intense than originally warranted. 

The tricky part about dealing with dominos, besides them being hidden, is that we feel like we must solve the domino we are presented with now. In this case, it would be sitting next to each other on the couch.

Couples often make the mistake of trying to solve problems too quickly. Even if your partner just agrees to sit next to you on the couch forever, you are still left with the original domino of feeling unloved. In order to heal these past conflicts, your partner and you have to go through all of the dominos one by one to make sense of why they are there in the first place and then empathize with each one. 

A behavior of listening to understand rather than respond or solve is a great first step. Instead of responding defensively or by immediately problem-solving, we should ask our partners to “tell me more.” 

improve your marriage

How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It

marriageYes, you heard that correct! When I (Megan) lived in Austin, TX, I had the privilege to be mentored by author and relationship expert, Dr. Patricia Love. She encouraged me to think outside-the-box when working with couples which is what helps me be one of the “Three-Best Rated Marriage Counselors in Louisville.” You CAN improve any relationship without talking about it and that’s what I teach my clients and the other therapists at Louisville Mindfulness Center every day.

How you show up with others, invites them to show up that way with you. If you are acting as your “Best Adult Self” and setting appropriate boundaries and the other person you want a good (or, even decent) relationship with can’t meet you there, that gives you more information. With that more information, you can decide if being in that relationship works for you or at the very least how much time and energy you want to give to that relationship – especially if there is not a mutual exchange of energy…i.e. you’re doing all the work.

While I couldn’t find the video of Dr. Love on the Oprah show (yep, she’s done that!), I want you to see her YouTube page so you can watch her live!  And here are some other wonderful books Dr. Love has written as well…

love

marriage therapy

relationships

listening

The Art of Listening

Written by Jennifer Komis, MAMFT, MDIV

The first class I took in therapy school was called The Art of Listening. I thought I had it in the bag. I mean, come on, I’d been listening for AGES (as an eldest child and total feeler). WRONG. Here’s what I learned…

Listening is easy if:

1) You already agree with what’s being said

2) You aren’t emotionally involved in making a separate point or

3) You’ve slept 8 hours, accomplished all of your tasks, have had a great day, and are your very best self (insert sparkly smile here)

Otherwise (which is most of the time), listening is HARD. We want to interrupt and make our point (I do). We want to insert a platitude so we don’t have to sit with the other person’s pain (Shh, shh, everything happens for a reason), we want to interject some kind of suggestion (If you try a, b, and c, I think it would help…), or we want to judge and silence to get it over with (This IS NOT a big deal. Get over it.).

We live in a culture that prizes efficiency, speed, debate, ego, and winning. This is deeply ironic because therapy research seems to say that what we really, deeply want is to feel heard. Things like being right seem to matter far less when we truly slow down, let go of the perceived threat to our worldview, and just hear one another out.

Can you hear it? That’s the voice of someone else. Someone else whose fought her/his own battles trying to put words to them. Someone else who is seeking to protect her/himself in a world that feels overwhelming at times. A person who is hoping to feel heard, seen, and valued, despite their imperfections. Someone else like you.

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.

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.

 

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!

marriage counseling quiz

Do I Need Marriage Counseling Quiz

When is it time to get Marriage Therapy?

do I need marriage counseling quiz by louisville marriage therapist Megan Bayles Bartley

  1. Are you and your spouse stuck in a pattern of thinking, feeling, or behaving that aren’t working for one or both of you?
  2. Do you find there is a fair amount of criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and/or stonewalling that makes being around each other pretty unbearable?
  3. When there are arguments or mean things said, one or the both of you have a hard time taking responsibility of your words and actions or saying you’re sorry and being remorseful.
  4. Is there an issue or two that you have in your marriage that just keeps coming up over and over again?
  5. Your spouse says he/she won’t go to marriage therapy or doesn’t think your relationship needs it.

If you are experiencing one or more of these five situations, it is time to schedule an appointment with an certified marriage therapist.

Whether you come together as a couple or you come on your own, you will benefit from working through this difficult time. It won’t always feel great, but you likely begin to feel a relief that you have been wanting.