Couples often find that they have arguments with a common theme, over and over. Usually, the reason this happens is that partners aren’t fully understanding each other’s meaning under the surface. When we get triggered, the very organ we need to work through it, our brain, gets in the way of our understanding. Here’s why: the alarm system in the brain goes off, and connection to the prefrontal cortex becomes limited. The prefrontal cortex must be active so that we can hear our partners effectively while at the same time regulating our own emotions and keeping our attention on what is being said, rather than formulating a rebuttal.
In couples counseling, I use a very effective method that fosters honest communication between partners. From the very first session, I make emotional safety a priority because without that, it’s impossible to move forward. Couples are relieved after we start our work and often say they wish they had come in sooner.