I am attaching a protocol I use for couple’s in my psychotherapy practice. Now, what, you may ask, does this have to do with ENERGY MEDICINE?
I am very fortunate to be able to cross thresholds in my practice as a psychotherapist/nutritionist/healer/energy medicine practitioner/practitioner of the Work of Byron Katie/spiritual minister.
In waking up to reality in 1989, I found what many people espouse but few really ‘get’ – we are truly all one. Literally, in every way. Everything we do, every practice in which we engage, whether we know it or not, is to find God. Now, these are my words. You may not believe in God. Frankly, neither do I.
How could I ever limit the magnificence of my understanding to a belief? Everything I do is ABOUT THE DIVINE. BUT ONLY EVERYTHING….
Spiritual work is what I do with everyone. People want a connection to something greater than the small “I” which is so befuddling to them in daily life. They have become depressed and contracted. They actually think they can control things and perhaps become happier and better if only THEY DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY.
It then becomes my great honor to help people understand that this is an illusion and a fatal delusion. Whether the individual, couple, family or group needs energy work, counseling, spiritual help, or nutritional advice, I will always, always, guide them to work with the greater Self, to find the truth in who they are, and what they are apparently doing on this so-called plane of existence (and believe me, we ultimately question that thought….) 😊
I woke up to reality in 1989, and since that time I see only the great Self in the people who come to me. I work with that. I work with That which sees That which is seeing. It is a great honor and one I consider with sincerehumility.
So, this month’s E Letter is about CBT protocol for couple’s therapy. I will next send an E Letter about the Ileocecal Valve.
Sound diverse? Sound like a dichotomy? Really? And you live in 2019?
CBT Protocol for de-Escalation: What to Do When Your Relationship is too Hot to Handle
Katharine Manning, M.A., M.S.W. ©2018
Sometimes we cannot communicate with our partner no matter what we do. It is like we are constantly fighting water which becomes alternatively calm, then churns, then foams and hurls and throws us against rocks. Where we had once been efficient and communicative, we are now clumsy and combative. It seems that everything we say provokes an enraged response.
We enter treatment, wanting relief, determined to stay together. But something happens: it gets worse. All the emotional volatility, pent up emotions and wounds from the past are triggered. Things fall apart. We project and blame.
The following protocol is both personal and clinical. It comes from years of practice with my own relationships as well as with my psychotherapy clients.
The protocol requires an open mind, discipline, and willingness. And a little humility from time to time.
There are three unequivocal agreements.
The first agreement is this: the couple agrees to practice the exercises for 30-90 days.
The second agreement is this: the couple refuses to threaten to leave the other during this time, no matter what.
The third agreement is this: the couple agrees to “stretch” if things escalate. Stretching is a family systems term which consists of the following: she says something which triggers him. He wants to snipe or say something ugly, or worse, turn and walk away. Instead, he says: “I feel activated. I am going to (take a walk, go in the other room, go into the bathroom), and I WILL BE BACK.” Now, the being back can be anything between 5 minutes and overnight. It depends how long it takes that person’s nervous system to calm down. The important thing is to use words and return.
Before the exercises begin, each individual spends time in contemplation writing the following CRAP exercise. The understanding in writing this – and it will not be shared until the end of the allotted time – if then – is to keep the intention of retrieving and re-establishing harmony in the relationship. This can only be achieved by giving the relationship space and by removing the obstacles of emotional volatility and anger.
AND A DAILY JOURNAL IS KEPT – FOR BOTH SUCCESSES AND FAILURES. THIS CAN BE SHARED, OR IT CAN BE PRIVATE.
CRAP ANALYSIS: (This is the only part of my protocol which isn’t original. If I could remember where I read it, I would give that person or data credit.) Please sit quietly and reflect on the following, and please take as long as is needed for this contemplation. Write the answers clearly and completely. This will be read and shared later with your partner, if this is the agreement at a later date.
C: What is the Conflict? What is the conflict as you see it in you? What is the conflict you see as a couple?
R: What is the Resistance? What resistance do you see in yourself personally to achieving success in this relationship? What resistance do you see in your partner?
A: What Anxiety are you experiencing? What anxiety do you experience if you consider the end of the relationship? What anxiety do you experience if you consider the success of the relationship?
P: What is the biggest Problem that you see? What problems prevents you from succeeding in this task? What problem prevents you from achieving your goals in general?
Now, to begin the work you will do as a couple.
MINDFULNESS (This exercise and several meditations are attached )
DAILY INTIMACY EXERCISE (This exercise is attached separately)
The stretching exercise has been explained. This exercise has saved more relationships than almost any other! Then, there is another on-the-spot exercise which either can “call” when trouble arises (and trouble is any emotional escalation). One or the other says “PAUSE!” I described this in my book, “First Kill all the Lawyers”, and interestingly, it got more requests for more information than some of the other energy interventions and/or legal suggestions.
This is an acronym for:
P = Pause. Just stop whatever is happening and take a breath
A = bring Awareness to yourself and your partner. Practice a true moment of mindfulness. Notice your surroundings. Where are you? What is he/she wearing? Pay attention.
U = bring Understanding to yourself and your partner. This means you enter the great compassionate heart. You might do a mini-Tonglen exercise on the spot. You might have compassion for all beings who are experiencing what you are experiencing in that very moment.
S = Surrender. Just surrender in this moment to what is. Surrender completely to life on life’s terms. Just love what is in this very moment.
E – Experience whatever is happening to you in your body. Experience the room where you are standing or sitting. Experience YOU right now.
All of this will begin to take a very short time. Less than 30 seconds. It is done individually, and it is meant to bring mindfulness to the individual as well as to try and break a cycle of activation.
I suggest to couples that they use a Responder, or something during the day which reminds them – “hey, we’re in this together. And I love you.” My husband and I would put our hands over our hearts whenever we made eye contact in the kitchen (when I was cooking for his cancer). It was a stressful time, and whenever our eyes met, we would SOFTEN OUR BELLY and use the RESPONDER of our hand over our heart.
You can decide what your RESPONDER will be, but I suggest that you use the one I used when you begin your practice. Remember to SOFTEN YOUR BELLY and SOFTEN YOUR EYES when you use a RESPONDER. It makes a world of difference.
A SAFE WORD is hopefully a word which will never be used. It is only for the time when things are so completely out of control that nothing else will work. Decide on a word and agree. However, it is my experience that if and when a SAFE WORD is needed, things have deteriorated to such an extent that the SAFE WORD may not only NOT be heard, it may not be adhered to….
And finally, the crux of the protocol, the daily INTIMACY EXERCISE™
My husband and I devised this and worked on it for some time. It is a sure thing for most couples.
This is more complex than some of the protocols described above and needs to be demonstrated. Furthermore, it is copyrighted and important not to try and duplicate in any way – not just because of this legal issue, but because couple’s have tried it on their own or taken it to other therapists or practitioners in a revised fashion, only to find how easy it is to have it fail or become ‘watered down.’
Attached are 9 pages of practices for you. We will begin slowly for what has become, for most of you, many years or months of conflict.
Be patient. You are here because somewhere you know and trust this is so.