HOW TO HEAL YOUR RELATIONSHIP
There are many ways to mend the rips and tears we create over time in our relationships. Having been in private practice since 1978 I have studied a multitude of modalities that attempt to create, maintain and restore healthy relationships. Never have I been so excited with my new learning of ECCT, Encounter-Centered Couples Therapy. Hedy Schliefer, the founder of ECCT offered her first 3 year Master Class when I turned 72 years old. Now, three years later at the age of 75, I graduated from one of the most profound learnings I have ever had in my professional career.
So, what is ECCT? Why do I sound so excited about this new, innovative approach to help couples clean up their relational space that has become polluted over time? The answer is simple. It works! It works like no other I have ever used and where I have more success in helping couples than the entire thirty-seven years I have been in practice.
Why does it work so well? To begin with, the couples are self-selective. Both partners want change and connection. When I get a big fat YES from both, the green light goes on and we move forward.
What makes ECCT so distinctive than other approaches and modalities? First, it is not about communication! Yes you read that correctly. It’s about a visit. There is a huge difference between communication and a visit. In communication there is dialogue. In a visit there is presence and seeing your partner with a new set of eyes, an open heart and a deep, profound curiosity and appreciation. It’s about crossing the bridge to their side and visiting a neighborhood you know little or nothing about. It’s about listening with a third ear. It’s about learning something you may never have known. It’s about exploring deeper into their world, learning about their feelings, their needs, their desires, their fears and their language. Yes, it’s discovering, perhaps for the first time who your partner really is. It’s an exciting journey that will sweep you off your feet more than when you both first began. And most importantly, it is perhaps having a deep level of connection with one another that you could never possibly imagine. It has a lasting effect because when you “cross the bridge”, you are no longer in your survival self; you are in your authenticity, something that you may never even have known before.
In order to create and maintain true intimacy, “IN TO ME SEE”, both partners must be truly authentic. When they are, they can step out of the survival dance which has high jacked their true selves and step into the world authenticity, where they can achieve a healthy, vibrant, exciting and very sexy space between them. Crossing the bridge to each other, cleans up the polluted space that so often causes couples to lose the joy that first brought them together. It ‘s like a spring cleaning that lasts forever as long as you keep the space clean as you would a garden that grows too many weeds. When we pluck the weeds in our relational garden, we grow more beautiful flowers that never stop blooming. Our soil becomes rich for more flowers to grow and we tend it as we do the garden in our yard. A relationship is a living thing that needs nurturing, love, understanding, respect, consideration as much as a garden needs sunlight, weeding, fertilizer and water. Too much or too little will limit or destroy the garden we want.
When couples get together they don’t even know they are in a survival dance. Everyone puts their best foot forward in the beginning. It’s the sustainance, maintenaince, management and effort that’s the glue that will keep them together. No one knows how to achieve this. Most of us came from families where there was little or no role modeling of conflict resolution. Our parents often fought about the same things all their lives, never learning how to negotiate, appreciate and resolve conflict. How were we to know? We only know what we know. So it takes knowledge to learn how to behave in ways that bring us benefits we yearn for.
ECCT is what I offer my clients who want a beautiful relational space where their children play and where their pets live. I lend them my wisdom, experience and help them reach a new level of intimacy. After all, we are hard wired for connection, and when we disconnect, we go into crisis. If you can gain the resources, tools and skills to reconnect and use them as an opportunity for adventure and growth, why would you not want them? Isn’t connection what we all want and need?