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From Confrontation to Collaboration

10 common points of struggle in couples, and practical ways to move from conflict to connection

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Couples therapists often get the question: "What's the most common issue you see in relationships?"

I don't know what the answer is for other practices, but I imagine it's similar to mine, in that there are several themes that come up repeatedly.

You can probably even guess what they are. And most of them don't have neat, easy, clear-cut solutions.

But there are different ways to navigate them and some are more effective than others..

In this talk, we discuss 10 categories of the most common struggle points in relationships, and look at some of the pitfalls and minefields they present.

We'll use stories and case examples to explore some alternate ways to approach them, to demonstrate how we can move the relational tone from confrontational to collaborative.

Sometimes (not always:) these areas of disagreement can be repurposed as fulcrums for better and deeper understanding, empathy, and intimacy, to strengthen the relationship.

Come join a group of like-minded thinkers as we spend a couple of hours together learning this user-friendly approach to relationship building and enhancement.

From Confrontation to Collaboration


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We'll look at subjects such as:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Communication and conflict resolution
  • Parenting and family life
  • Socializing, community, and recreation
  • In-laws and family-of-origin relationships
  • Finances, spending, and saving
  • Values, religion, and fidelity
  • External stressors, circumstances, and big decisions
  • Physical and mental health matters
  • Sex and intimacy.

*The paradigm for this talk is a focus on committed relationships, but you don't need to be in a relationship to come. If you're over 18 and think you might be in one at some point, you are welcome too:)

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Disclaimers: There's no way to cover all these themes comprehensively in one talk, and many suggestions will be helpful for some but not others, since we are different humans in different circumstances. The goal is to name and address topics that arise often, and to offer some normalization, insight, and tips for how to prepare for and respond to them in relationally useful ways.  Most of these ideas will be relevant in relationships where there is a mutual foundation of basic commitment, respect, and stability. Where there is danger or serious dysfunction, customized help is more appropriate. I am a religious person, and much of my clientele is as well, so there might be some reference to religious-cultural norms and examples, but most of the material should be applicable to secular audiences as well.