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Relationship Distress

Has your marriage become a battleground for arguments, conflict, and anger?

Do you feel your relationship partner isn’t there for you? Is there so much distance you feel like roommates?

Our primary specialty is relationship distress and marital problems. The relationship experts at our Center have advanced training and many years experience in helping people heal even the most distressed relationships — and create secure, loving marriages and partnerships.

Every type of relationship problem is addressed at our Center, including:

  • Angry conflict and fighting with no resolution
  • Communication problems in marriage and other relationships
  • “Emotional Divorce” — physical and emotional distance, stonewalling, and shutting down
  • Unmet needs and hurt feelings; lack of emotional support
  • Sexual problems that cause relationship distress
  • Addictions (including pornography and sex addiction)
  • Insecurity and trust issues
  • Infidelity
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Separation and divorce

Why do couples experience relationship problems?
Relationship distress results from several specific, identifiable causes. Recent studies point to five major factors (John Gottman, Ph.D.; Dr. Sue Johnson; Les Greenburg, Ph.D.; Steven Stosny, Ph.D.).

  1. A relationship pattern with daily interactions that are more negative than positive
  2. A lack of responsiveness in the relationship (“He’s not there for me”; “she doesn’t listen”; “I don’t feel loved or cared for”)
  3. Too much criticism, complaining, stonewalling (shutting down / shutting out), and downright contempt
  4. Destructive patterns (“relationship dance”) such as blame–defend-counterattack, or demand-escalate-withdraw
  5. Fear and shame (biologically, women tend to react with fear; men tend to react with shame)

The new science of love and relationships gives us the answers we need.
In recent years there has been an explosion of important research findings from a number of diverse fields, including brain science, anthropology, psychology, and the new field of interpersonal neurobiology (literally, how our brains are connected to each other).

This new science explains how successful marriages and relationships are based in a safe, secure attachment (connection) — an attachment that says “I’m here for you — I love you and I’ve got your back.” We now understand how relationship problems result from a lack of secure attachment, which results in unmet needs and a reactive emotional “dance” (pattern of interaction).

At the Relationship Center of South Florida, we use the most up-to-date methods to help couples reduce and eliminate chronic relationship distress and problems. Our approach is based primarily on Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), and is also informed by the Gottman Method. We help couples identify their distressing relationship patterns, along with the underlying emotional reactions (generally based in fears and shame), and the unmet needs that often trigger these reactions. And we help couples to create a new, loving emotional connection, and a partnership based on mutual trust and respect.

Appointments are available – we are welcoming new clients

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