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marriage killers - Imago Relationship Therapy New York

Avoid These Marriage Killers

Let’s face it – we’ve all probably been in a situation where we are arguing with our partner and start to become unkind in the process. Anger flares, insults are hurled, and now the difficult situation we found ourselves in has gotten increasingly worse. There’s many factors that can get in the way of a good marriage, but often, they’re the small, unnoticed things that make their way in. In order to make sure our marriages survive and thrive, here are 4 marriage killers every couple should be on the lookout for:

marriage killers - Imago Relationship Therapy New York
  1. The Silent Treatment
    This behavior shuts off all communication and is used as a weapon of manipulation. You withdraw from the interaction. It’s sometimes a way to shutout stimulation when feeling attacked. You’re simply unresponsive. Learn to process your emotions when under stress. Communicate that you’re feeling overwhelmed / attacked and need time to process. If you find yourself consistently resorting to this behavior, it’s beneficial to seek out counseling to understand why this is your default response to conflict.
  2. Defensiveness
    You completely shut out what your partner is trying to say and instead you avoid accountability for your part in the conflict. It’s used to protect against feeling blamed – a form of counter attack. Realize that in every conflict, there are two sides. Accept responsibility for even part of the problem. Demonstrate a willingness to see your role in the problem.
  3. Criticism
    This is pointing out something negative by blaming a personality flaw verses the actual behavior. It’s about who a person is… a character assassination. This marriage killer is a form of verbal abuse and an attempt to tear down the other person’s self-esteem in order to obtain the outcome the critic desires. To combat criticism, use a gentle start up to a conversation. You can complain without attacking or blaming.
  4. Contempt
    Once criticism has taken root, the heat gets turned up to contempt. Tone of voice is the most powerful weapon in contempt. It diminishes another person in order to belittle or put them down. You portray harmful feelings of disgust, disrespect, mockery, name-calling, sneering or hostile humor. Build a culture of appreciation and respect in your relationship. Look for the good in the other person and seek to restore the relationship through asking for forgiveness.

I think it’s important to remember that we’re all probably guilty of a few of these marriage killers on occasion. However, a pattern of these in your relationship should really serve as a red flag for you and your partner.

For more info. on couples counseling, contact Robin Newman, LCSW

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the spiral experience in relationships - Imago therapy NY

The spiral experience in relationships – Imago therapy NY

Robin talks about the spiral experience in relationships according to Imago relationship therapy during her couples’ intensive workshops in Long Island, New York. For more information on couples counseling, contact Robin today.

marrying partners like our parents

All relationships start off with a flood of good emotions, then couples begin to hit a wall when things get challenging. What Robin teaches is that this is a normal cycle, and in order to come out on the other side better, we must be aware and DO THE WORK to get to a place of real love and safety.

It all starts when you or your partner perceive a disconnect: in intimacy, in support, or in understanding of each other.

Then you notice that you don’t feel as close to or as attracted to your partner as you used to be. This makes you sad because you remember what it was like to be so giddy in love when you were first together.

You have a realization that something has gone wrong. At this point, you start to feel anxious. You begin to look for a reason or a scapegoat, for those negative feelings. In this case, your partner becomes the scapegoat. You start to look for what your partner is doing wrong or what he/she is neglecting to do:

They left the house without saying goodbye. They forgot to tell you they invited friends over for drinks tonight. They left dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher. They didn’t call you to tell you they’d be getting home late.

Now you have something to latch onto. You criticize and attack your partner. They did something wrong because of a flaw in their character. This becomes a power struggle.

When you’re in this state of looking for reasons why your partner is causing your unhappiness, you only see what they’re doing wrong. You ignore all the things your partner may be doing right.

What’s interesting about this is that science has shown that women subconsciously use criticism as a way to draw their partner in and as an indication to move closer. That’s not how a man sees complaining and criticism! When a woman criticizes, the man believes he’s failed in some way, and begins to feel hurt, ashamed, and misunderstood. This makes him angry with himself. But he doesn’t want to direct his anger at you, so he withdraws. He stops talking. He grows cold. He seems to ignore you. He may even leave the room or the house.

When a man withdraws, he’s often protecting you from his anger. But if he withdraws long enough and often enough, you don’t feel safe or connected. This again causes you to feel contempt. When you’re in a state of contempt, you believe they can no longer do anything right, because their actions aren’t just what’s wrong. THEY are wrong.

When you’re in a state of contempt, you also may say mean things, be sarcastic, or belittle them… Contempt is ugly. Once you start to feel it, it’s much more difficult to bring the relationship back. That’s because with contempt, you believe you’ve made up your mind about your partner, and it’s not good. They can’t do anything right. They can’t give you what you need. They’re flawed.

Now it’s just a matter of time before things fall apart. That’s why it’s so important to recognize EARLY ON if you’re falling into relationship failure and do the things that will reconnect with your partner, FAST.

How can you do that? You both must make the decision to recommit to your relationship with curiosity.

Rather than complain, criticize, or ask your your partner to stop doing things that annoy you, look for ways to add positives to your relationship. Ask questions on how your partner feels. Be curious on how they’re feeling as well. That is by far the most effective way to turn any relationship around. This will forge a stronger connection with your partner, knowing that you are both on the same page looking for more love, intimacy, and trust.

When you strengthen intimacy and connection, your entire relationship changes for the better.

The spiral experience in relationships is something you should be aware of from the start so when you feel that things are not going smoothly, you can know what to do to get back on track and move forward stronger together!

For more information on Imago relationship therapy, follow Robin on Facebook!

Robin Newman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Long Island therapists

Are therapists paid to agree with you?

Robin Newman, Imago relationship therapist: Are therapists paid to agree with you?

I often get the question if I ever ‘agree’ with my clients.

So, here’s my answer to that:

I will always agree with blatant injustice. But, I feel that if I agree completely, I’m letting the person off the hook of looking at what their duplicity is. What they are doing to participate in the relationship / situation that they are in?

If I just agree, then how am I helping them to see and to prevent the next ‘set up’ because I always say to people that things come in different disguises.

So if I just agree with you saying he / she is a jackass, etc. and then you get into a new relationship with someone else and you’re doing the same things again. How is that helping you?

I’m going to be more in the realm of saying, yeah, that wasn’t such a great thing that he / she did to you, but what did you to participate? What patterns are you following / stuck in? What kinds of people are you choosing to surround yourself with to find yourself still getting into these situations?

For more info. on counseling, contact Robin Newman, LCSW

Robin Newman, social worker & owner of the Huntington Relationship Center in Long Island, NY.

Robin Newman, LCSW-R, PC THE HUNTINGTON RELATIONSHIP CENTER

Imago Relationship Therapists – Individual, Couples & Family Counseling

148 East Main Street (Suite 102) Huntington, NY 11743 (631) 421-4701

individual counseling depression / anxiety Long Island

How we feed into our depression / anxiety

Another question that is often asked to me when people are calling me up to sort of screen me to see if I’m the right fit is they’ll ask me, how I work with their depression / anxiety?

I try to approach it as a relational model.

I do Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well.

Most people that are coming to me individually, they are coming in because from a relational perspective, they feel immobilized. They are in a relationship. They want to blame their parents, spouse, children, boss, etc.. whoever it is.

I try to create a construct for them to look at how are YOU feeding into the problem?

How are you making yourself the victim vs. the victor?

We try to focus on being curious again and filled with wonder about how do I participate in this relational dance as opposed to looking to blame, shame, or throw it off on someone else.

Let’s face it: we all want to completely control our outcomes in everything.

I think if we can spend less time thinking about what other people may be thinking, and spend more time thinking about what WE can do to change or shift the outcome, we’ll usually find a favorable outcome.

If there isn’t a favorable outcome, then you have the opportunity to look at the situation and say, ok so, now what do I do with the situation now that this person is not accepting the boundaries that I’ve expressed to them?

Individual counseling is meant to help people with emotional & other mental health issues such as depression / anxiety, which can range in severity / intensity. Get the help you need in a 100% safe space.

Contact Robin for additional information on therapy sessions.

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imago relationship therapy NY

The Imago Dialogue for Couples

If you feel that your relationship is lacking intimacy, I highly encourage you to look into the Imago Dialogue. As an Imago Relationship Therapist, I help guide couples who struggle for re-connection to find their way, develop better communication skills, and fully be heard and understood. Once this happens, couples open up, their hearts open, and their relationships are revived with a new hope and feeling of intimacy with one another.

Effective communication is really the lubrication to your relationship. It matters to both partners to have the freedom and safety to express their concerns/resentments/issues and fully be heard.

The Imago Dialogue

In the Imago Dialogue, both partners agree to a basic ground rule: one person talks at a time.

There is one person who is speaking (aka sending) and another who is listening (aka receiving).

It’s when you’re in the role of Listener/Receiver that you will be doing the 3 steps of Imago Dialogue which are:

• Mirroring
• Validation
• Empathy

STEP 1: MIRROR

When your partner pauses, or perhaps when you have asked them to pause, you will repeat back exactly everything you heard them say. You will mirror without analyzing, critiquing, modifying or responding.

EXAMPLE: “If I got it right, I heard you say…” and then ask the Speaker/Sender if there’s more they’d like to add to what they said: “Is there anything else you want to add/say?”

STEP 2: VALIDATE

After giving the Sender as many opportunities to “add more” as needed, once the Sender says there is no more, the Receiver attempts to validate what the Sender said. The Sender will validate if what they are hearing back from you is making logical sense to them – if they feel you got the message. If the Sender feels that you didn’t understand what they’ve told you, you simply share what does make sense to you, and then ask the Sender to say more about the parts that don’t.

EXAMPLE: “This makes sense to me because…” or “That makes sense, I can see where…”

Ask for clarification:  “This part makes sense, but help me understand this, can you say more?”

STEP 3: EMPATHIZE

In the final step, the Receiver takes a guess as to what they imagine the Sender might be feeling with regard to what they have been saying. If the Sender has already said how they feel, then the Receiver can simply reflect this back once more. If the Receiver can think of an additional way their partner might be feeling, this is where they add that.

When sending empathy, it is fine to say something such as:  “I can imagine you feel like …. (you’re the only one working on our relationship).” However, it’s important to know that once the word “like” comes into play, what’s being expressed is a thought, not a feeling. The best way we have come to distinguish the difference between a thought and a feeling, is that a feeling can generally be described in a few words: happy, excited, safe, cared for, hurt, frustrated, scared. Try to include feeling words if you can. Doing so, especially when lucky enough to hit the proverbial nail on the head, will often bring a look of recognition and joy to your partner’s face faster than anything else you could say.

EXAMPLE:  “I can imagine you might be feeling drained from this…”

Now that the Sender has said all they have to say and the Receiver has mirrored, validated and empathized, the whole process reverses. Partners trade places, but the new Sender does not start a new topic, rather s/he responds to what the first Sender said. The Receiver now gets their turn to respond with whatever came up for them while the first partner was sending.

If you are interested in learning more about using Imago Dialogue for your relationship, contact Robin Newman, LCSW.

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Robin Newman licensed clinical social worker Long Island, marriage counselor talks about empathy

How do you teach empathy?

Robin Newman, how do you teach empathy?

Empathy is the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place. Essentially, it is putting yourself in someone else’s position and feeling what they must be feeling.

I like to explain empathy as looking at a sunset. Imagine standing next to your partner on a dock looking at a sunset. Everyone sees colors differently. What colors are you seeing? What colors does your partner see? Maybe you do this in real life to show how differently we all see and what we focus on.

This is a glimpse into empathy. It’s all about perception. Maybe you focus on the blues and your partner is seeing more oranges in a sunset. Is there a correct answer to what we’re seeing? Not really… it’s just what we as individuals personally focus on.

Empathy is about letting go of our vision and truly trying to see someone else’s.

If we can only learn to see things through another person’s eyes, our understanding of other people would be greater, maybe our tolerance and acceptance would be greater, and our relationships (in all forms) would be better.

CONTACT ROBIN NEWMAN, LCSW-R, PC
Individual, Couples & Family Therapist

couples counseling - love & empathy

The Huntington Relationship & Therapy Center
148 East Main Street Huntington, NY 11743
(631) 421-4701

“My approach towards couples is oriented not only towards solving the problems the couple is facing, but to revive the feeling of love and affection they have towards each other.”

couples therapist Long Island - Therapy for Better Mental Health

Therapy for Better Mental Health

Therapy for better mental health with Robin Newman, licensed social worker in Long Island, NY

So, somebody said to me, “ugh, 2020.. it sucked..” Yeah, it did.

But I’ll tell you something really great that came out of 2020.

More people now, than ever before, are finally looking at mental health / therapy as a viable, positive option to feeling better and making themselves better.

Is alcoholism and substance abuse up? There’s no question.

My phone has been ringing off the hook. I’m happy about that on some level because whatever existed before where people were going through life and just essentially existing, not addressing. Now, people have to look at things.

People are looking at therapists in a whole different light than they ever did before.

Contact Robin Newman, LCSW-R, PC

Imago Relationship Therapist
Individual, Couples & Family Counseling

THE HUNTINGTON RELATIONSHIP CENTER

Individual counseling is meant to help people with emotional & other mental health issues which can range in severity / intensity. Get the help you need in a 100% safe space.

Problems with anger management, often called having “anger issues,” only becomes a problem when you can no longer control it.

When one is looking for a steady balance in mind than being on a roller coaster of highs and lows of self-esteem, counseling indeed helps.

148 East Main Street (Suite 102) Huntington, NY 11743
(631) 421-4701

centering exercise - Book an appointment with social worker in Huntington, NY

Centering exercise before couples speak during therapy

Centering exercise before couples speak during therapy with Robin Newman, LCSW in Long Island, NY.

Whenever I start an Imago session with a couple, they often ask why we do a centering exercise before starting.

Part of why I believe in doing a centering exercises, is first of all, to calm oneself. It also sets up an openness to listen.

Casey the therapy dog

I have a therapy dog in this practice and I now like to use the metaphor of trying to see the world through a puppy’s eyes.

Take that puppy-kind-of-attitude and use that when looking at your partner’s stated issues.

Be curious at what they’re saying, opposed to getting defensive, annoyed and/or angry.

“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”

David Augsberger

For more info. on counseling, contact Robin Newman, LCSW

Imago relationship therapy provides couples with effective communication tools that allow both people to feel safe & connected as they talk about their problems, instead of entering the painful “power struggle”.

When both partners make positive changes that have meaning to the other, it serves as reinforcement and is a catalyst for more positive change. At this time, making changes could seem difficult but this too will probably be explored in the counseling process.

Robin Newman, social worker & owner of the Huntington Relationship Center in Long Island, NY.

marriage counselor / imago relationship therapist long island ny

Recognizing Conflict, Resolving Tensions, and Rebuilding Your Relationship

Conflicts in a marriage are inevitable and perfectly normal, but many couples struggle to resolve these conflicts alone. This inability to communicate effectively with one another can cause dissatisfaction in one or both parties. Seeing a marriage counselor is one of the best ways to help clarify and resolve the issues that arise between couples.

It’s a common misconception that couples only pursue marriage counseling when there is infidelity in a relationship. Seeking marriage counseling can resolve a variety of issues including poor communication, lack of intimacy, finances, children, transitions, and a range of other topics.

It may be hard to decipher when marriage counseling is the right step for you and your partner, but getting information is the first step.

Each couple is unique, so a marriage counselor takes a personalized approach to help resolve the conflict between partners.

Robin Newman LCSW Long Island, marriage counselor

Robin Newman uses Imago Relationship Therapy with couples of all kinds.

Imago Relationship Therapy focuses on relational counseling to transform conflict between couples into opportunities for healing and growth.

There is frequently a connection between early childhood experiences and frustrations in adulthood, and these childhood sensitivities often arise in a marriage. When issues that occurred in childhood repeatedly come up with a partner, they can overshadow the positive aspects of a relationship.

Imago Relationship Therapy allows couples to understand their childhood experiences and allow themselves to heal their relationship and move towards more effective means of communication.

During counseling, Robin aims to disarm conflicting verbal communication, and in doing so, increase respect, intimacy, and affection. Additionally, Imago Relationship Therapy works to remove barriers that may make couples feel stagnant in their conflicts while creating a heightened sense of empathy in the relationship.

Couples learn how to replace negative conflict patterns, increase intimacy and emotional connection, and enhance shared goals.

With marriage counseling, couples learn how to be emotionally available and empathetic towards one another, eliminating negative conflict cycles and strengthening attachment bonds.

Marriage counseling is extremely effective when partners are motivated and willing to work on the conflicts in their relationship.

Working to resolve conflicts in a marriage is hard work, requiring a lot of communication and commitment, but with the help of a counselor, couples don’t have to face that strain alone.

Robin is trained in helping partners through a variety of issues and tailors her method towards your needs. Open and honest communication between all parties is the best way to go about counseling and will yield positive results.

For more info. on counseling, contact Robin Newman, LCSW

Robin Newman, social worker & owner of the Huntington Relationship Center in Long Island, NY.

Robin Newman, LCSW-R, PC, Imago Relationship Therapist
Individual, Couples & Family Counseling

THE HUNTINGTON RELATIONSHIP CENTER
148 East Main Street (Suite 102) Huntington, NY 11743
(631) 421-4701

anger management counseling

Anger Management: Symptoms & Triggers

Anger is a natural response humans have to certain situations, and it should in no way be something we’re ashamed of. However, having troubles controlling your anger can be an issue. Problems with anger management, often called having “anger issues,” only becomes a problem when you can no longer control it.

Anger shows itself as saying or doing things that harm you or others around you.

Uncontrolled anger can physically and emotionally harm you if you do not recognize or take steps to reduce it, and the first step is to identify if you have this problem.

There’s many different cues to help identify if you struggle with anger.

Common behaviors can include:

  • struggling to compromise in an argument or meeting
  • having difficulties expressing emotions in a calm manner
  • ignoring others when angry
  • isolation
  • self-harm
  • shouting / cussing
  • physical violence
  • substance abuse or addiction.

Not all of these immediately point to troubles with anger management, but a few paired together could be a sign that you might have trouble with it.

The next step is to find out what triggers these emotions.

Triggers can stem from mental illness, short term triggers, and/or individual triggers. Mental illness like depression, OCD, and substance abuse can bring forth anger issues which link to anxiety, meaning this is one of the most important triggers to nip in the bud.

Short term triggers can include injustices, feeling you are not being heard, remembering a past trauma, or losing patience. These are common triggers for feeling upset in general, but they could also be amplified if you have problems with anger.

Lastly, we all have individual triggers, examples of such include political views, religious beliefs, or other subject matters that relate to who we are. It is helpful to identify these so that we can react calmly in these situations.

Anger is unhealthy for many reasons, including mental and physical illnesses.

Misdirected or unexpressed anger can lead to poor cardiovascular health and/or heart disease. Anger and stress can also lead to higher blood pressure, which can cause a blood clot or bleeding within the brain. You are three times more likely to endure this bleeding or a stroke in the hours after an outburst, putting you at risk for a fatal incident. Lastly, when you are angry, you release stress hormones, which can affect your airways and lungs and can lead to poor respiratory health.

Because of both the physical & mental stress anger brings, it’s important to reduce outbursts.

There are some strategies you can implement to help with this. First, recognizing when you are upset so that you can de-escalate the situation.

Next, trying to think before you react. This gives you time to process what the best reaction could be to benefit not only you but the people around you.

It can also be helpful to talk to people about your situation. You could talk to others who are not involved about what you are going through or feeling at the moment.

Many people exercise in their spare time, and this releases chemicals that make you feel happy and refreshed. If you enjoy exercise this may be a viable solution.

You can also practice being more assertive, helping to express your opinion in a calm and efficient way to the people around you.

Lastly, you can use apps for peer support, mindfulness, and relaxation. There are many peer support groups and platforms where people share their own experiences and journeys, many meditation apps that can help reduce stress, and overall just many apps that can help with relaxation such as white noises, calming games, and more.

anger management counseling Long Island

If you feel that you are overwhelmed by your struggles and need professional support, consider talking to a counselor.

For more info. on anger management counseling, contact Robin Newman, LCSW today.

Robin Newman, social worker & owner of the Huntington Relationship Center in Long Island, NY.

marriage killers - Imago Relationship Therapy New York

Avoid These Marriage Killers

Let’s face it – we’ve all probably been in a situation where we are arguing with our partner and start …

the spiral experience in relationships - Imago therapy NY

The spiral experience in relationships – Imago therapy NY

Robin talks about the spiral experience in relationships according to Imago relationship therapy during her couples’ …

Robin Newman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Long Island therapists

Are therapists paid to agree with you?

Robin Newman, Imago relationship therapist: Are therapists paid to agree with you? I often get the question if I ever ‘agree’ …