Category Archives: Jackie Dunagan

Couples Therapy: Experience Something New!

Couples Therapy: Experience Something New!

If couples are going to change, they are going to need more than knowledge about what they could do differently. They are going to need to risk doing things differently and have new, healing experiences.

DH Lawrence wrote,

The world fears a new experience more than it fears anything. Because a new experience displaces so many old experiences. . . . The world doesn’t fear a new idea. It can pigeon-hole any idea. But it can’t pigeon-hole a real new experience.

This is so true in couple’s therapy!

Positive, new experiences are far more corrective than ideas or concepts learned from couples therapy.

So why is this such a difficult challenge for couples? That’s a big question. Personally, having worked with many couples and having experienced being part of a couple myself, I think it has to do with vulnerability and a desire for acceptance. Also, doing things differently often requires us to step out of our own comfort zone.

If you are looking for positive change in your relationship, here are a few ideas on how to do your part to facilitate a new experience with your partner.

  1. Start small. It’s far better to make a small change than no change at all. It’s also usually more comfortable. A good start might be to intentionally tell your partner one thing you really appreciate about him or her.
  2. Stay positive. Change is usually a bit uncomfortable, even when it is positive. Recognize and acknowledge that a little discomfort as normal.
  3. Talk about what has worked. It’s easy for us to talk about what we don’t like or want, but it takes a little more effort to talk about what is working. I often tell couples that talking about what you don’t want to have happen is a bit like giving directions and only someone only the roads that they should avoid. It leaves a lot of room for error! You’re more likely to keep experiencing what works if you can clearly state it.

Jackie Dunagan, LAMFT
jdunagan@GROWcounseling.com

Blended Family: Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season

Blended Family: Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season

If you are in a blended family, the holidays may seem like the most difficult time of the year rather than the most wonderful.  Splitting time between more than one household is can be stressful. Time always seems too short. You can’t please everyone or feel like you always draw the short straw. Here are…

Contempt – Relationship Poison

Contempt – Relationship Poison

Dr. John Gottman has researched couples for over 40 years. One of the things that he is known for is being able to predict which couples would make it and which would fail with a 94% accuracy rate. Predicting individual behaviors and outcomes is tricky business with a very low accuracy rate. One would think…

Reducing Money Conflicts Between Couples

Reducing Money Conflicts Between Couples

Money is one of the most argued about topics for couples. This blog discusses some of the deeper meanings behind the money arguments and provides guidelines for helping couples face the money dragon and manage their finances as a team. Learn more in this guest blog post from one of our counselors, Jackie Dunagan, on…

What about the kids? Children and divorce.

What about the kids? Children and divorce.

If you have children and are either thinking about, going through, or have been through a divorce, you probably wonder about how your divorce may impact your children. Many people debate whether or not they should stay in a rocky relationship solely for the sake of the children. There are two important conclusions that several…

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