Avoid These 2 Defensive Behaviors and Powerfully Transform Your Relationships

Avoid These 2 Defensive Behaviors and Powerfully Transform Your Relationships

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By Tara Rullo, LCSW

Defensiveness is lethal to relationships.

As a relationship therapist, I am trained to be on the lookout for defensive reactions when I’m working with couples. Longitudinal studies by Dr. John Gottman have shown that defensiveness is one of the predictors of divorce.
Leave Defensive Reactions Behind and Learn Solutions to the 2 Most Common Barriers to Constructive Conflict

Leave Defensive Reactions Behind and Learn Solutions to the 2 Most Common Barriers to Constructive Conflict

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By Tara Rullo, LCSW

What is the defensiveness trap?

Defensiveness escalates conflict, but many people still get trapped in a pattern of reacting defensively in conflict. This is what I call the defensiveness trap. Longitudinal research conducted by the founder of Gottman Couples Therapy, Dr. John Gottman, shows that over time, defensiveness kills relationships.
Building a Strong Foundation: Pre-Commitment Counseling with Gottman Couples Therapy

Building a Strong Foundation: Pre-Commitment Counseling with Gottman Couples Therapy

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By Tara Rullo, LCSW

The journey of committing to a life partner is a beautiful and meaningful one, but it is not without its challenges. For couples looking to ensure a strong and lasting bond, pre-commitment counseling can be an invaluable tool which can help couples build a solid foundation for a lifetime of connection and good communication!
Mind-Body Disconnect in the Digital Age: Understanding and Enhancing Interoceptive Awareness for Better Health

Mind-Body Disconnect in the Digital Age: Understanding and Enhancing Interoceptive Awareness for Better Health

By Tara Rullo, LCSW

The concept of interoception, the sense that helps us understand and feel what's going on inside our bodies, is crucial to our overall well-being and health. However, in our modern, tech-driven society, there is a distinct lack of emphasis on bodily awareness and the importance of listening to the messages our bodies send. This cultural oversight can lead to widespread interoception difficulties among individuals who do not have any specific medical condition or diagnosis.
Effective Conflict Resolution: The Body-Mind Approach in Gottman Couples Therapy

Effective Conflict Resolution: The Body-Mind Approach in Gottman Couples Therapy

By Tara Rullo, LCSW

Conflict is an inevitable part of any relationship, be it a new relationship or a long-standing partnership. How couples navigate these conflicts plays a pivotal role in determining the health and longevity of the relationship. Gottman couples therapy is a groundbreaking approach to couples therapy that focuses on effective conflict resolution and is distinguished by its holistic "body-mind" approach to helping couples turn conflict into connection.
Daring to Disappoint: The Art of Embracing Your True Self

Daring to Disappoint: The Art of Embracing Your True Self

By Tara Rullo, LCSW

In a world that expects us to conform to standards and meet the expectations of others, daring to disappoint can be a revolutionary act of self-discovery and authenticity. The journey of embracing your true self and defying societal, familial and social pressures is not only empowering but also liberating.
Discover Healing Through Somatic Therapy: Reclaim Your Body, Reclaim Your Life

Discover Healing Through Somatic Therapy: Reclaim Your Body, Reclaim Your Life

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By Tara Rullo, LCSW

Somatic therapy is a treatment approach that recognizes the mind-body connection and focuses on the experiences of the body, sensations, and movement to promote emotional healing and overall well-being. In the context of trauma, somatic therapy can be particularly effective because trauma often manifests not only as psychological symptoms but also as physical sensations and tensions in the body. Here's how somatic therapy helps trauma survivors:
Am I Fawning or Just Nice?

Am I Fawning or Just Nice?

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By Tara Rullo, LCSW

The fawn response is a term used in the context of responses to trauma, particularly in the model known as the "four Fs" – fight, flight, freeze, and fawn. These responses describe different ways individuals react when faced with a threat. The fawn response specifically refers to a person's tendency to seek safety and avoid conflict by complying with the wishes and demands of others. It involves an extreme focus on pleasing others and maintaining harmony, even at the expense of one's own needs, boundaries, and well-being.
Tune into Your Body to Reduce Anxiety

Tune into Your Body to Reduce Anxiety

By Tara Rullo, LCSW

If you have ever suffered from anxiety, you know that it can feel like an uninvited guest that can hijack your thoughts, emotions, and even your physical sensations. It can feel like being trapped in a never-ending loop of fear and doubt, where the world feels like a threatening place, and your own mind becomes your worst enemy. While the mind is racing, anxiety also manifests in physical sensations. Common symptoms include a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, trembling, dizziness, and a churning or queasy feeling in the stomach.
Navigating Criticism in Relationships - Insights from Gottman Couples Therapy

Navigating Criticism in Relationships – Insights from Gottman Couples Therapy

By Tara Rullo, LCSW

In every relationship, disagreements and conflicts are inevitable. It's completely natural for individuals with different perspectives, needs, and personalities to occasionally clash. However, the way we express our dissatisfaction or concerns can make all the difference between constructive communication and destructive arguments. Criticism, when not handled with care, can easily erode the foundations of a relationship. This is where the principles of Gottman Couples Therapy come into play, offering guidance on how to complain to your partner in a healthy and productive way.