Author Archives: FireSpike

The Impact of Social Media on Gay Couples

Is social media a threat to your LGBT relationship wellness?

Learn how social media affects your gay relationship.

In 2019, the average person spent 144 minutes per day on social media (Clement, 2020). According to Media Dependency Theory, the higher dependence a person has on media the stronger the influence of media on the individual’s perceptions and behaviors (Joo & Teng, 2017, p. 36). A study conducted in 2018 by Brigham Young University found that extensive social media usage is linked with decreased emotional wellness and lower satisfaction in interpersonal relationships (Christensen, 2018). In other words, if you think your relationship is being negatively impacted by social media, you are not being “dramatic,” it actually is (you can read more here).

It’s important not to downplay or dismiss the role social media plays in relationships. Acknowledging and talking about it can actually help strengthen your bond.

Continue reading at The Gottman Institute.

Contact me for more information on how relationship therapy can help you.

Relationship Tips for Lesbian Couples Using The Gottman Method

Advice for Coming Out as Lesbian/Bi/Queer After 35

The Gottman Method therapy for lgbt couples

Maybe your attraction to women came as a surprise to you. You might have suddenly started having feelings for a friend. Perhaps a woman expressed attraction to you, and you were surprised to find yourself feeling open. Or maybe you’ve known about your feelings for a long time, but there were inner or outer barriers that kept you from living your way. Then something shifted and what seemed unthinkable suddenly became something you couldn’t stop thinking about.

Although I’ve been out for a long time, I still remember how scary it was walking into my first LGBTQ meeting. At that time, the “Q” stood for “questioning,” and I made sure every woman in the room knew that’s all I was. A few weeks later, a woman kissed me, and my physical response to her kiss answered that question in a way I could no longer deny. Since then, I’ve spent my adult life loving women, and, more recently, teaching other lesbians and queer women about dating, love, and sex through the Conscious Girlfriend Academy.

So, what do you, as a new lesbian, bisexual or queer woman, most need to know? Here are a few things I wish someone had told me when I came out.

Continue reading at The Gottman Institute. 

Contact me to learn more about Gottman Method therapy and how it can help you.

Understanding When a Partner Withdraws Through Therapy

The five most common reasons why a partner withdraws.

Telehealth therapy understanding why a partner withdraws

Intimate partners create internal maps of how their partners think and feel about themselves and the relationship. They can pretty accurately predict what thoughts and behaviors they can expect in most situations from that knowledge and understanding.

But sometimes, those comfortable and secure expectations slowly or suddenly go awry. A partner’s predictive behavioral patterns shift without warning or explanation, leaving the other partner confused and unsettled. A withdrawing partner often becomes even more inaccessible when pressed for reasons or attempts to understand.

Rarely have I been called by those partners. It is much more likely that the newly-exiled partners are worried that something is wrong and need help to understand and what they can do.

Continue reading at Psychology Today.

Conflict Resolution in Neurodiverse Relationships Using The Gottman Method

Two Different Brains in LoveNeurodiverse conflict resolution using The Gottman Method

Neurodiverse romantic relationships include at least one or more neurodivergent partners. Neurodiversity refers to the variation in neurological differences that occur naturally in all humans, with 15-20% of people falling in the category of neurodivergent.

The term neurodivergence is most commonly used with Autism and ADHD, but it also applies to people with Dyslexia, Sensory Processing Difficulties, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Synesthesia, OCD, and other common brain variations.

MOST COMMON SOURCES OF CONFLICT IN NEURODIVERSE RELATIONSHIPS 

The biggest conflicts in neurodiverse relationships boil down to the difficulty individuals have in understanding the differences in how each partner processes information.

Continue reading at The Gottman Institute.

5 Secrets to Being Happier Without Relying on Your Partner

Using these easy, science-backed tweaks can make a big difference in your life.

Tips on creating a happy relationship without involving your partner. Oregon therapy telehealth.Every relationship has its ups and downs. In fact, life has its ups and downs.

That’s totally normal—we wouldn’t be human if we did not have these mood swings.

At times, you don’t even know why you feel down but you find yourself dreading getting up in the morning and are having trouble getting through the day. In any case, a little mood booster would be a good thing.

But you may not want to involve your partner because they’ve got enough on their plate or because you don’t want to impose on them. Or you may find that your partner is just not up for working on your relationship right now.

So, what can you do to be happier in your relationship?

Here are some suggestions to help you find more happiness in your relationship and everyday life without involving your partner:

Continue reading at Psychology Today.

How to Add Passion to Your Relationship

Does personal growth help or hinder passion in relationships?

Sharing passions to bolster relationship tips from online lgbt counseling Oregon.Passion refers to intense feelings of longing for a partner, whether emotionally or sexually. In North America, at least, people who have more passion in their relationships tend to be happier.

But while passion is often high at the beginning of relationships, it tends to decline over time. Luckily, there are things couples can do to combat passion decay.

One way to increase passion in a relationship is by engaging in exciting activities with a partner (e.g., going on a trip together, taking a cooking course, hiking). These exciting, shared activities are associated with increased relationship well-being, sexual desire, and passion.

Continue reading at Psychology Today.

3 Ways to Invest in Your Relationship

Make deposits into the wealth of your relationship and see dividends in love.

gottman method couples therapyOf all your relationships, the one you have with your romantic partner likely requires more work. To stay happily together long term, you need to put effort into things like attunement and managing conflict—and that’s in addition to handling outside stressors like work and finances as a team. With so much going in the world, it’s easy to let your relationship fall through the cracks and just assume that everything is okay.

If you want your partnership to thrive this year, you both need to be intentional about investing in it. Like a bank account, you need to actively and consistently make deposits to help your relational wealth grow. It won’t happen on its own.

Here are a few ways to invest in your relationship and get intentional about your happily ever after.

GO TO COUPLES COUNSELING
Therapy isn’t just for people in crisis. Preventative care can go a long way in addressing smaller needs and overcoming everyday obstacles. For example, a counselor can help you manage stress, reignite the spark in your bedroom, or raise children going through difficult stages. Also, a counselor can assess your relationship for areas that may seem insignificant now but could become major issues later on. You can head off conflict before it happens with preemptive inventions learned in the therapy room. Find a couples therapist trained in the Gottman Method or scroll through Psychology Today. You both can see pictures, read profiles, and see if they’re a good fit. Also, you can connect with a therapist about their in-person or telehealth options, rates, and whether or not they take insurance (knowing how to financially budget for routine therapy will help you stick with it longer). With professional help, you can turn any weak spots in your partnership into your strengths as a couple.

Continue reading at The Gottman Institute.

How to Build Gottman Method Love Maps

What does it look like to stay curious about your partner?

Gottman method couples therapyIt’s time to dispel some myths. Relationships don’t always fall apart because of personality differences. Conversely, don’t believe that having similar hobbies is enough to keep you together. There are a lot of pop psychology, quick-fix methods out there. Thankfully, research from Dr. John Gottman gives insight into what really strengthens a relationship. Here at The Gottman Institute, we take it one step further by providing you with the skills and tools that are backed by science.

LOVE MAP BUILDING
This is the first level of the Sound Relationship House theory that details how solid relationships function. Essentially, Love Maps are how couples can stay curious about one another. Lovers in healthy relationships ask each other questions to explore each other’s inner world. As you both ask questions and take notice of the little things (e.g., how they like their coffee or how they relax), you start to build a mental map of who your partner is—their likes and dislikes, hurts and hopes, and everything that makes them who they are.

Continue reading at The Gottman Institute.

Couples Therapy Tips During The Pandemic

5 Ways to Keep the Heart Fires Burning

Therapy tips for couples during COVID-19 pandemic.

There are many ways to show the one you love just how much you care. These actions can make the difference between a mutually supportive and emotionally engaging relationship and a relationship that’s languishing. The more energy you put into loving, the more love you will get in return. It’s that simple. Here are five ways to keep the heart fires burning.

1. Figure Out the New Normal Together

Right now, almost everything feels new and different. Even doing things again that we haven’t experienced in almost two years feels oddly unfamiliar. Experiencing this together bonds you. It is also well-documented that couples who do new things together build more of the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin. This will help you navigate unfamiliar terrain better and make you a closer couple.

Continue reading at Psychology Today.

Couples therapy appointments are available online for Oregon residents with Telehealth.

Gottman Institute Proactive Self-Care for Couples

When Is It A Good Time To Seek Couples Therapy?

Suggestions for couples using the gottman method therapy.

Prospective clients, as well as friends and family, often ask me if a little rough patch in their relationship requires professional help or if they can and should work out their problems on their own.

I usually ask them this: Do you ignore small fires in your home and only call 911 when your house is about to burn to the ground?

Just as we are quick to call the fire department, we should call for help early, rather than let hotspots get out of control.

We should also take a step further. Like how we teach our family fire safety, we must proactively protect our relationship by learning crucial relational skills and improving our emotional intelligence.

While my response may seem self-serving, since I am a couples counselor, trust me when I tell you it’s not.

Continue Reading at the Gottman Institute.

If you are having a little rough patch and are looking for help, contact me to learn more about the Gottman Method.