become an LMFT

How to Become an LMFT

How to Become an LMFT

 

How does one become an LMFT? 

Great question – and we get asked how do therapists become therapists ALL the time! 

I am often asked how to become a therapist and what path I took to become one. There are often a lot of assumptions surrounding the process. And so I wanted to offer some insight for people who either want to become one, have a therapist, or just are generally curious. 

There is not one way to become a therapist. There are several different paths to accomplish this. First and foremost, you have to complete a bachelor’s degree and at least a masters and in some cases a doctorate. By and large, most therapists have a Master’s degree in some specific type of therapy or counseling. 

 

Therapists who Prescribe

Although not as common, therapists that prescribe are usually Psychiatrists (MD) or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) or Psychiatric Nurse. Some of these practitioners may engage in some counseling, but often it seems that they work in conjunction with a therapist to help support a client/patient in the medication therapy. In order to be in either of these roles requires various certifications and training and/or medical school (in the case of the Psychiatrist). Obviously time to accomplish these certifications varies based on trajectory but can be anywhere from 3 to 8 years. 

 

Therapists who Conduct Assessments

Most therapists conduct some level of assessments in their practice. These can range from intake assessments and ongoing assessments to identify appropriate diagnosis and course of treatment for their clients. 

Psychologists (Masters or Doctor of Philosophy) and Doctors of Psychology (PsyD or PhD) often specialize in various areas of standardized assessments or testing. This can include things like neuropsychological exams, learning disabilities, mental status and cognitive testing, etc. Commonly we see these types of therapists or psychologists connected with universities, school systems, or medical facilities (hospitals, etc). 

Psychology is a broad field, but in terms of therapy we typically see a Masters, Psychology Doctorate, or Doctorate of Philosophy connected to Clinical Psychology. Clinical psychology focuses on treatment and assessment of emotional, mental, and behavioral disorders. In order to engage in this type of practice, you must complete a masters degree of usually 3 years or a doctoral degree of 4+ years. 

 

Therapists and Counselors

When we think of therapists we more commonly think of therapists who received Masters or Doctorate Degrees in Social Work (LCSW),  Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Clinical Psychologists (PsyD or PhD) or Professional Counselors (LPC). Each of these specialities focus on providing clinical services, therapy, and counseling to their clients. Many of these therapists have different specializations and certifications to support their practice whether that is in substance abuse treatment, trauma treatment, sex therapy, couples therapy, etc. Although, each may have specialties, generally, each degree allows for therapists and counselors to be able to practice individual, group, or relational therapy in a clinical setting. In addition to case management and assessment. 

Below I have described the most common types of therapists noted above. 

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) 
      • A LCSW is someone who has completed their Masters or Doctorate degree in Social work. A licensed clinical social worker focuses on the clinical aspects of social work rather than other concentration areas of community organization, case management, or other social work tracks. Simply completing a social work degree does not necessarily mean that they are therapists or clinicians
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
      • I am totally biased on this one because this is what my degree and specialization is in. A person who is a LMFT has a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy or in a related area with a concentration in MFT. This training focuses specifically on relational therapy and systemic thinking. This degree is predominately clinical and is often connected to family therapy or couples therapy.
  • Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC)
    • A person who is an LPC may have a Master’s Degree in various fields (school counseling, general counseling, psychology, etc). LPC’s are trained in a variety of clinical practices depending on their base degree, but are predominantly clinical professionals. Often specializing in individual, group, and substance abuse treatments. 

These tracks vary in requirements, however on average Master’s Levels Programs take about three years to complete and an additional two years to become licensed. In addition to our degrees, licenses, and certifications we are also required to take a certain number of Continued Education (CE) courses each year to be sure we are remaining up to date with our clinical practice. This is not the case for all practitioners. 

 

Typical Requirements to be a Licensed Practitioner

Although this varies state to state and is also dependent on the type of clinical degree you have. Generally the following criteria has to be met: 

  • Completion of Masters or higher degree
    • Practicum (supervised clinical experience)
    • Internship (a clinical experience unpaid in the field)
    • Specific amount of clinical hours (sometimes specified by individual, group, relational, and/or case management)
    • Specific amount of supervision by licensed professional
    •  Usually somewhere around 50-60+ credits hours
    • Coursework in clinical, developmental, and theoretical models of treatment
    • Thesis or Capstone presentation on your therapeutic methods and/or research
  • Post graduate Clinical Hours (usually about a year or two of clinical or case management experience)
  • Post graduate supervision hours (supervised by a licensed clinical practitioner within your field)
  • Successful Completion of Exam (Licensure or Board Certification) with passing score

 

State Licensure

Each state has different requirements for licensure and are also dependent on the type of clinician/therapist you are. Some licenses are more transferable than others across states. It is important before getting licensed in specific state that you research what your state requires in way of credits from masters, hours, and Continuing Education Credits, etc (see above). 

In Connecticut, we pay $320 per year to maintain a license and need a specific amount of Continuing Education Credits (CEs) per year. There are also certain types of CE’s that we are required to have. For instance, in MFT we need to get a certain amount of CE’s surrounding veterans and diversity. 

 

Insurances

As with other medical providers, in order to accept insurances therapists have to be paneled with each specific insurance company. Each insurance company has its own contracted rate for each provider based on credentials and area of service. Credentialing with insurance companies can be time consuming and arduous for therapists. 

Therapists can choose to contract with different insurance companies based on their access to patients, reimbursement rates, etc. If therapists do not want to contract with a specific company, they do not have to. They are still able to work with clients with that insurance company but charge a private pay rate and the client can bill their insurance for full or partial reimbursement or bill towards their deductible if they have one.

 

Associations

In addition to licensure and insurances, therapists also usually associate with various associations which require their own benefits and memberships. These can be general based on educational/certifcation background or specializations such as sexuality, trauma, addiction, couples, etc. 

Some of the most common ones are:

There are also associations for people based on their specialities, some of these include: 

These are some examples above, however there are many that have more specifications and more general. Each association allows various benefits, resources, and membership requirements. As therapists, we maintain various certifications and associations to support having the most up to date information within the mental health field. 

Obviously this is a broad overview on how to become a practicing therapist and clinician. Basically, we do a lot of work to become therapists and maintain our abilities to practice clinically. 

If you need help finding a therapist for you, feel free to reach out and we are happy to help you here at LCAT! We are a staff of LPC, LCSW, and LMFT’s (now you know what these mean!). 

Learn more about CE for therapists – learn unique couples counseling and sex therapy methodologies to help you with your clients.

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do.

Dating a Liar

Are You Dating a Liar?

Are You Dating a Liar?

 

We all have omitted truths at times, yet are you dating a liar? 

Whether it’s a white lie or something small to children, all lie from time to time. 

When you are in a relationship trust and truth are the building blocks for a solid foundation for lifelong relationships. 

Therefore, lies can be like a crane and destroy the foundation you spent your whole relationship building.  Often, it is easy to lose sight of what might be true or false in life, especially when it comes to relationships. 

 

Here are some signs you are dating a liar.

They lie frequently– We all know we should trust our gut instincts. If your immediate thought is that the person you are talking to is lying to you, you are probably right. Actually, compulsive liars will lie about all things. Similarly, their lies are subtle, so they may go unnoticed.  This can make it difficult to tell when they are telling the truth or not.

They are seeking attention– If the person you are talking to seeks attention in an overwhelming way, they may be a liar. Liars may bend the truth as a way to try and impress you and those around you. Sometimes, you will notice that they act like a child constantly implying “look at me! Pay attention!”

They have self-esteem issues– More times than not, the reason people lie is because they want to avoid certain realities or perceptions about themselves. Lying gives them a sense of ego-boosting power. They can be whoever they want to be, if they lie about it.

Their body language is telling– You can learn about a person solely through his or her body language. For “beginner” liars, they may not look you in the eye. They will always try to avoid eye contact by looking away or at the floor. The more comfortable a liar becomes they can manage to stare straight in your eyes and continue to lie.  Other body language signs are standing with their arms crossed or simply turning away from you because they do not want to look at you. In extreme cases, people will start to sweat because they are so nervous about lying.

Their stories change– The problem with liars is even they cannot keep their stories straight. They might tell you a story and it has a totally different plot and ending compared to the ones they share in front of others. Or they will tell you one story today and tomorrow the same story will be completely different. They are known for being great storytellers.

They are unable to confront the truth– Compulsive liars have the inability to confront the truth. Liars will not admit to the truth no matter how much you beg them to or confront them with evidence. Once they have told one lie, they feel like it is their duty to stick to it. Even if you know the 100 percent absolute truth about something, they will still convince you that you are wrong and they are right.

You can sense a “relationship rut”- If you see your intimacy has reached a low point, where perhaps you are not emotionally connecting, spending adequate time together, participating in engaging conversation or showing much affection, then a rut is likely and your partner could be compelled to start lying to you.

They speak in an emotionally unstable way–  If your partner’s phrasing, tone and emotional language is off, then it’s possible that he or she is lying to you. It might be shown as erratic outbursts, shaky tones, and weirdly constructive and defensive statements. Conversations are supposed to be a comfortable and familiar place with each other, so if your partner’s language is odd, keep your guard up.

They are overly secretive– If your partner is overly secretive or shady, such as he or she is always heading to the shower upon arriving home, pays mostly in cash, has different sets of keys, or even has different cell phones or numbers then it might mean something is up.

If any of these signs sound familiar, do yourself a favor and get out. Walking away won’t be enough because every time you try to leave, their lies may convince you to stay. 

The longer you stay in a relationship with a compulsive liar, the more complicated the relationship will become. Continuing to build a relationship on lies will make the foundation crumble. This eventually will lead to a verbally abusive relationship. Please be aware that not all abusive relationships involve physical or sexual abuse. 

The lies can create damage to the core of your relationship. Lies are not easy to spot, especially during the “honeymoon” phase, and it is easy to overlook them. We tend to dismiss thoughts which are unpleasant, as we just want to feel happy with the people we are with.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

non monogamous meaning

Non Monogamous Meaning Explained! 

Non Monogamous Meaning Explained! 

 

Please raise your hand if you are confused about the non monogamous meaning of romantic relationships. 

When asked about what non monogamous means, there are a variety of responses. 

In general, a non monogamous relationship means that individuals, single or within a couple, are able to love and / or connect sexually with more than one person. 

There are various types of non monogamous relationships with various meanings, and it’s important to know what they mean because non monogamous romantic relationships are complicated. 

There are a variety of non monogamous meaning definitions to learn: 

  • Monogamish – (brought to you by Dan Savage) which means mostly monogamous with some wiggle room in terms of their fidelity. So basically, it means monogamous with exceptions. 
  • Polyamory – more than one committed or love based relationship. This is also called “poly” or “polyam” in the community. 
  • Solo-Poly – more than one committed relationship with no hierarchy or primaries assigned. Primary relationship would be with oneself.
  • Kinky Play Partners – partners agreeing to a negotiated commitment of time, service, and an exchange of some sort. It can be once, yet often this term means it is ongoing. This arrangement can be based on love, friendship, and / or shared interest in some type of kink. 
  • Intentional Community – known as “communes” at times. A planned community designed to have a degree of cohesion and teamwork, where they share resources. This design may include non-monogamous relationship structures where individuals sleep in different bedrooms on different nights of the week.

What Do These Have In Common?

Non monogamous meaning to relationships includes communicating openly and honestly with all partner(s), even if you would rather avoid it. 

non monogamous meaning

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Gray Divorce

Gray Divorce On The Rise

 

Recently the New York Times discussed a new phenomena known as “Gray Divorce”. Gray Divorce is a trend being seen of people over 50 getting divorced. And seemingly correlating with “empty nests” (after the children leave the home) and a variety of other factors.

The gray divorce trend seems to indicate that divorce rates generally are decreasing. However, among “boomers” and older folks, the divorce rates are increasing. Gray divorce means that long-term marriages of decades and are now divorcing at higher rates than expected.

The issues faced by this age group getting divorced overlap with reasons the general populations divorces. However, the impact is different. If you divorce younger, the financial and social impacts can be different.

 

Social and Financial Impacts

In divorces where people are older, we are seeing really challenging financial and social experiences.

Financially, many people at this stage in life are close to or in retirement. Which is making it extremely difficult to divide assets and can drastically shift plans people have to retire. If the couple has already retired, a divorce during retirement reverberates into a some really difficult and significant changes in each partner’s standard of living. Some people have to return to work or grieve what they anticipated retirement to look like for them.

The social impact is also unique in gray divorce as couple’s often have an established social network or already experiencing a reduction of socialization. Either of which can create some difficult circumstances for navigating a divorce. Often couples divorcing end up having friends and family choosing sides which can reduce social contact. And connection for each partner in the process. And increase tension and conflict at gatherings and functions where both parties are there.

 

Retirement and “The Empty Nest”

Retirement and the “empty nest” can create a significant change within the relationship. Both things individually are monumental shifts in people’s lives.

For years, work and family have been the focus in the relationship and when both those things shift couple’s are finding less satisfaction and less in common. This can the experience of “falling out of love” or wanting to different futures as it comes to their “golden years.”

Often, we see that the couple has focused much of their resources on work and family and over the years did not grow and change together. As children moved out and they retired this becomes more noticeable as there is less “distraction” from the couple’s relationship themselves.

Couple’s report that they have become more disconnected and their life became much more quiet or calm, leaving the relationship and marriage feeling quiet and disconnected.

 

New Relationships – Partnering / Re-partnering

Whether the new relationship is the catalyst for the divorce (engaging in emotional or physical infidelity). Or if the new relationship comes after the divorce there is quite a bit of challenges. If one or both people have new relationships, because of the long term nature of the previous relationship (or marriage) it is often more difficult for the family and friends to adjust to new partners. Often times, we see further conflict or tension in the family and community system as people engage in new relationships.

In the event of infidelity, the partner who engaged in the infidelity has the most difficulty, as they are blamed for “breaking up the family”. Unfortunately, this results in children, family, and friends that may refuse to be part of the relationship if they continue to see affair partner.

For the partner who did not engage in the affair, there is often varying levels of trauma that occur. They often received a lot of support. However, they may struggle with the emotional and relational components moving forward.

Regardless of how the new relationships started, this is extremely difficult in the event of a “gray divorce.”

 

Trauma and Grief

As you age, grief becomes an ever present part of life. Grief is the process of loss and could be a divorce, death, unemployment, and / or loss of connection.

In the case of gray divorce, it is the loss of what you expected in the “golden years”. Sometimes, loneliness is a common feeling for those grieving.

This grief and depression may be symptoms of greater trauma in life transitions. For example, when you are over 50 and getting divorced, there may be fear. That fear, in addition to the massive shifting, can create levels of trauma and difficulty. People going through divorce are recommended to seek therapy, and this population is no exception.

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

IAM Communication

Using IAM Communication to negotiate for a Win – Win

Using IAM Communication to negotiate for a Win – Win

By Francesca Gentille & Edited by Amanda Pasciucco

 

Have you heard of IAM Communication?

For some of us, due to lack of attunement in childhood, attachment fears, hypervigilance and projections can cause communication issues. 

The Inner Aspects Method (IAM) created by Francesca Gentille discusses trauma triggers and missing skill sets so our relationships can thrive.

Instead of giving up or giving in, begin to question how you used to negotiate. In the beginning of the relationship, what was different? 

You may wonder how the relationship transformed from loving to where it is. 

It is difficult to find ways to collaborate that are connective. 

 

Most people were not taught how to do so. 

In most cases, caretakers used the “Old Paradigm” ways of raising children or talking to one another. 

These common yet dysfunctional communication styles view The Other (unconsciously) as an enemy or a flawed being that needs to be controlled, or punished. 

You may recognize some of these common, yet dysfunctional statements: 

  • You don’t get to!
  • Back off!
  • Who do you think you are?
  • I’m in charge. 
  • As long as you’re under my roof, you will do things my way. 

 

To collaborate and get creative in designing a win-win relationship is entering a New Paradigm. 

For many, it will take healing in some way to reduce reactivity to sensitized projections. 

In the New Paradigm, others we choose are friends, collaborators, and co-researchers in life as to what might work. Therefore, release knowing what is right or wrong. This is a journey of discovery to something new. 

Similarly, training in healthy forms of communication, like the ¨Non-Violent Communication¨ designed by psychotherapist Marshall Rosenberg (www.CNVC.org), may be helpful. 

 

Functional Adult Qualities:

  • Collaborative
  • Creative
  • Consensual 
  • Able to postpone immediate gratification
  • Able to grow at edges of comfort to give toward the relationship without resentment

 

From the Wise Functional Adult State we can ask ourselves and one another:

  1. How could it work?
  2. What else is possible?
  3. On a scale of 1 to 10 how important is this strategy, desire, wish to you (or to myself)?
  4. What is the underlying need that this is designed to fulfill?

A favorite phrase to ask as an empowered, functional adult is something like “would you be willing to collaborate with me to get BOTH our needs met? Then, we can then brainstorm possible options together.”

We might choose to try on a particular strategy for a week, a month, a couple months or some other period of time. Sometimes it feels easier to experiment for a limited time period than commit indefinitely. 

I recommend thinking of being collaborators and Field Researchers in the experiment of love and life. With a compassionate, creative, open mind, so much is possible!

We might take turns as to whose strategies get to lead, or base the decision as a couple on who has the most need (scale of 1 to 10). Also, consider professional guidance, support, mediation, coaching, or psychotherapy. 

We will make mistakes. Once we have agreements we will find out that not all of them were realistic or workable. I appreciate how this is described in The 5 Reasons Agreements Fail by Dawn Davidson. 

 

If we find it difficult to forgive or trust our partner, it is time to go back into therapy and-or other healing modalities. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Queerplatonic

Situationships: Queerplatonic or The Bond of Intimate Friendship?

Situationships: Queerplatonic or The Bond of Intimate Friendship?

 

Queerplatonic or The Bond of Intimate Friendship?

If your mental health is causing you to struggle in your friendships, this is the how-to guide on responding when your friendships are struggling. 

Most common friendship myths: 

  • Friends do not move to cities, states, and/or countries to be with each other.
  • They do not celebrate anniversaries or special moments within their relationship.
  • Friends do not love as strongly as romantic partners. 

In one way or another, open communication is needed in all friendships, situationships, partnerships, and relationships. 

Queerplatonic is an umbrella term for relationships that differ (or “queer”) away from the platonic; therefore, bending the rules on what is considered acceptable or not. 

No two queerplatonic relationships are exactly alike, yet they break the idea of what is “normal.”

 

Queerplatonic situationships or friendships may (or may not):

  • go on “dates” or celebrate milestones
  • be emergency contacts
  • have shows together that are “theirs”
  • dedicate songs to one another
  • give each other cards
  • be physically affectionate; such as hug or cuddle often
  • kiss each other (on the lips, top of the head, forehead) 
  • live together or share a bed
  • plan vacations together 
  • partner exclusively or non monogamous
  • care about each other’s opinion of romantic partners

Typically, a queerplatonic relatedness values intimacy and loyalty.

If you are having difficulties in one of your queer platonic relatinoships, outline what would make it feel better. 

Discuss what your needs are and what you may be desiring. 

 

Example of Healthy Conversation in Friendships: 

At times, our friends will feel something is happening with us, and they may check in. If a queer platonic friend checks in, and says something like “I feel off. Are you mad?” that will likely cause reactions in the person they are speaking to. 

No matter what the bond, first responses to personal statements may feel uncomfortable or even unhealthy. 

In a healthy connection, saying something like:

“the part that is showing up is disappointed you are not understanding me. The story I am telling myself is that I am not clear and confusing. I am not feeling off in a blaming or disappointed sense towards you. I feel frustrated internally that as evidenced by your responses, you are not understanding me. This reminds me of when I was a child… so that has me pull back and that’s probably why you feel something is off.” 

Then, give them an appreciation of “thank you for checking in.” 

 

Followed with an attuning question, “what is going on for you when you hear me say this?” 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

 

Communication exercizes for couples

Communication exercizes for couples using Inner Aspects Method

Communication exercizes for couples using Inner Aspects Method

 

When you think of Communication exercizes for couples, you often think of what your partner could do to be better. 

Sometimes, we can sit with our couples therapist and ask for exercises, yet we think that our partner is in the wrong. 

A part of you may be young and scared to show that you too have messed up, and feel something like “Am I safe to say this?” 

Or you could have a part of you that is a rebellious teen saying, “you know, my partner made me go to this therapy session, but I really don’t want to be here.”

Think about all these various parts of you and bring up a picture that represents what your inner aspects look like. 

What’s actually going on inside your mind? 

Who is in bed in your head? 

The Inner Aspects Method (IAM) created by Francesca Gentille is a way to bridge between the personal, the clinical, and the deeper subconscious parts of self. 

The method behind the IAM model is life-changing, personally and professionally, as you start to incorporate its principals. 

For those looking to bring this into their love life, and for clinicians looking to experience this with your clients, you are able to dive deeper into communication exercizes for couples and yourself! 

In the inner aspect method (IAM), participants discover that life follows intentions. 

While having the intention of integrating this into your life, it became clear that it is important to continue growing to the next level. In communication, and in collaboration. The reason we need to practice is because we were mostly trained in communication that was demanding, commanding, criticizing, complaining or coercive. 

This Dominator form of communication is normal yet does not value consent, sovereignty, and / or collaboration. If we want a world of empowered consent within couples relationships, we must train ourselves to utilize language in a new way. 

This will take practice. 

As we practice, we get the results we desire. 

In the OLD Dominator Model we communicated to be heard, get our way, get what we wanted. Who cares if the other person is hurt by that, or didn’t consent? 

In the NEW Model of communication we communicate to achieve collaboration, connection and to look for the win/win. 

It isn’t healthy communication if only one partner is heard, happy, and/ or satisfied. 

Use phrases like: 

  • I’m noticing…
  • A part of me….

Energetically, choose to: 

  • To be Centered & Open.
  • What Inner Aspects have the “microphone” and are speaking for you? 

In Nonviolent Communication, we take the war out of words. 

Do not use: 

  • ACCUSING: 
    • You did this! 
    • She said this. 
    • You did too! 
    • He yelled at me. 
    • They did it first. 
    • You violated, betrayed, used me. 
  • BLAMING: You made ME do or say it.
  • GUILTING: If you hadn’t done/said X, I never would have done Y. 

If you have any questions about technology addiction for yourself or others, let us know. Take your life to the next level through personalized sessions using Text Therapy.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Being Understood

The Importance of Being Understood Instead of Right Fighting in Relationships

The Importance of Being Understood Instead of Right Fighting in Relationships

 

A common issue we hear from our clients is communication, their lack of being understood and “right fighting” for a particular perspective. 

 

Many couples will say in a session “we can’t communicate.” 

 

Clinically, this may signify that the therapist will “translate” each individual perspective within the psychotherapy session.

 

Often, it isn’t about “being right;” rather, it is about not understanding or hearing, and thus, an individual is missing out on their needs of being understood, seen, and heard.

 

Yes, we can teach mirrored reflective listening, empathic and non-violent communication, yet at the core, all human beings have an innate desire to be heard and seen. 

 

As humans, we communicate ALL the time, through verbal and non-verbal ways. 

 

It is often not that we do not know how to communicate; it’s that we are not collaborating or using compassion in the ways we communicate with one another. 

 

Therefore, we are right fighting, instead of collaborating in connection. 

 

Right Fighting

 

Most often, I notice people in relationships who are focusing on “winning” or being “smarter” or “right.” I see this in romantic relationships, parent child relationships, friendships, etc. I often say to the people I am working with “I am wondering why you feel like you have to convince me” or my personal favorite “I am not a judge or jury!’

 

Usually people are surprised when I say those things and try to redirect them in session to have other goals (such as connection, problem solving, or conflict resolution).

 

All too often in our culture we are more focused on being heard than hearing what the other person is saying. This is usually rooted in our own personal traumas or feelings of powerlessness in our life. So instead of focusing on fixing the issue, we get stuck in the “facts” and our own perspective.

 

I call it “right fighting” and others call it “gridlock” or something else. Either way, it is one of the most common dynamics I see between people in my office. We are all guilty of this. I know this is something I have worked extremely hard on, myself. It is not easy work, but it is important work.

 

Inner Aspects Method (IAM) for Being Understood

 

One of the most transformative ways to support is utilizing a trauma-informed approach such as the Inner Aspects Method (IAM). 

 

IAM is an identity-affirming, trauma-focused approach used to increase insight to the various parts of our personality. Mostly, it helps us understand why we act the way we do. It focuses predominantly on bringing consciousness (or presence of mind) or awareness to what we are doing and why we are doing it.

 

At the core of the IAM model is compassion and collaboration, which ultimately enhances people’s connection to themselves and others. 

 

When an individual slows down what is happening to notice the aspect of themselves that is engaged, it provides more clarity. When this happens, individuals are able to notice the need under their emotions and thoughts, and then have a choice. The choice can be to alter and adapt a new strategy.

 

For those specifically engaged in “right fighting,” recognize that “being right” is a strategy you are using because a need is not being met.

 

Compassion Instead of Shame

 

There is nothing wrong with you, it is important to notice you have a choice in finding another strategy though… a strategy that can connect you.

 

When each individual in a disagreement is able to connect to their underlying need not being met, it allows for faster conflict resolution. 

 

When realigning the goal from “being right” to connection and collaboration, there is greater ability for joy, attunement, and respect. 

 

Finding a strategy to effectively and adaptively meet all needs is a healthier model of engaging than most individuals have been taught. 

 

The goal of this is that the “problem is the problem,” rather than the person. 

 

If you want to be right more than you desire to resolve the issue, that may be something to look at in individual counseling. 

 

Recognizing the line of what is your responsibility and what is others is important in addressing issues about communication. So, use these tips to make long-lasting relationships work. 

 

Strategies to Improve Being Understood:

 

Here are some quick tips on how to address this issue of right fighting in relationships right now!

  • PAUSE what you are doing and SLOW down!
  • Take a deep breath! There is a body of research describing the importance of taking a deep breath to help calm your physiological reaction 
  • Take a break if you need to. 
    • During this break, find an alternative strategy to calm your body. 
    • Consider a stretch, a calming app, meditate, listen to music, write, drink some water, do something active.
    • Note: this break should not be TOO long – no more than 30 minutes ideally
  • Reflect on what need is not being met.
  • Find a way to communicate that to others and ask yourself “which part of me am I responding from?”
  • Refocus your goal in the conversation to connection, collaboration, or conflict resolution
  • Slow the conversation down
  • Reflect back what the other person is saying – this is validation. VALIDATION IS NOT AGREEING it is just showing someone you are listening
  • APPRECIATE, LISTEN, REFLECT, BREATH, RESPOND
  • Rinse and Repeat as needed

STOPP Skill

If you cannot self regulate within the 30 minute break, please reach out to a mental health professional to help.

 

If you are interested in learning more about engaging in the IAM, we are happy to help you.

 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

real sex

Real Sex Begins with a “Yes”

Real Sex Begins with a “Yes”

 

When it comes to real sex, it begins with enthusiastic consent in the form of a “yes.” 

 

If you are waiting for a no, this isn’t the type of real sex we are talking about. 

 

Actually, unless there is a deep “yes” from others, most people are not interested in the sexual situation. 

 

There is a caveat for those who are partnered for over 3 years though… sometimes, these partners are used to hearing “no”. Therefore, when it comes to sex, they will take any sign as a yes. 

 

If you think about it though… seducing ANYONE requires the receiving partner’s WILLINGNESS to receive initiation. If they aren’t a yes, they aren’t interested.  

 

When You Check In With Your Partner, You Have To Be Sure That They Are WILLING!

 

If they are acting numb, avoiding you, or even making up excuses, there is no consent to be engaging with them. If you aren’t getting the real sex you need, it may be time to have a discussion about sex therapy or a change in the relationship. 

real sex

In AASECT supervision to become a certified sex therapist, it took me two years to learn that “without willingness, there is no way.” 

 

Not even the best of lovers can begin with approaching real sex and pleasure with someone who has a resistance to trying. 

 

If your partner(s) is/are not willing, remain curious. Remain appreciative of your partner and curious instead of expecting something and then being critical. 

 

They may come around. Sometimes clients report the more curious they are, the more willing their partner has become. 

 

Therefore, check in mind, heart, and genitals. 

 

See if there is a YES or a NO to real partner sex.

 

If you want MORE than a YES or a NO. Then please use the YES spectrum below, a scale of 0-10, to see how each part of you feels when it comes to giving a “yes.” 

real sex

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do.

The Inner Aspects Method

The Inner Aspects Method (IAM):  A Methodology to Improve Communication and Satisfaction in Couples

The Inner Aspects Method (IAM): A Methodology to Improve Communication and Satisfaction in Couples

No one can make you do anything as an adult, unless there is physical force. Don’t believe it? Think about it…

Now is an intense time; locally, domestic violence is up 20%.

It’s time to learn a new way to teach others how to communicate.
Using the Inner Aspects Method changed my life and revolutionized how I practice with my clients. 
See a brief demo here: https://youtu.be/oxAOkI0clyI

If you are desiring to dive deep into therapeutic practices with your online or in person clients clients,  using the inner aspects model, created by Francesca Gentille, will help! 

The Inner Aspects Method

There are many couples counseling techniques: 

  • Imago Therapy
  • Gottman Method
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Couple-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS) for Couples

The problem with these models is that it misses the pervasive cultural trauma that most of us have. So, if you aren’t looking at  childhood traumas and cultural conditioning of romantic relationships within the media, you are missing out on how to help couples. 

Actually, the problem is in the interaction with others, and specifically the systemic dynamic within the romantic partnership.  

We compare ourselves to what we see online, hear in music, or watch. We believe that other romantic relationships are going better and that they are having a more passionate intimate life, so then we begin to justify our learned behaviors (yelling, shaming, avoiding, and criticizing). 

Even if the best intentions in romantic relationships are acted out of fear, resentment, judgment, scarcity, or rage, these strategies for connection do not result in long-term positive outcomes for individual success or relationship sustainability. 

However, empowered strength with compassion, learning boundaries, and working on building new skill sets is what the Inner Aspects Method can help you model. 

For Counselors and Therapists

When you counsel your clients, do you wonder how clients justify the shaming, blaming, and yelling? Or, do you question that they criticize their partner or relatives in front of you? 

When in a “child” part of us, we believe that our only option is verbal violence, or even physical aggression. 

Even though our clients often assume that they know why someone said or did a certain thing, that is not true and is often a sign of black and white thinking patterns – the thinking of a young internal wounded part of ourselves, and even an inner rebellious streak we have. 

Refresher! 

No one can know for certain what is in the heart and mind of another. 

Most of us were not trained in how to listen with care and compassion to the variety of our own Inner Voices and diverse feelings and intentions. Even in graduate programs, sometimes, the nuances of working with the inner psyche is not addressed. 

This model helps clinicians uncover for themselves, and their clients, new skill sets! 

  • Collaborate for wins
  • Make requests that get responses
  • Express a boundary with compassion and firmness
  • Find the solutions to problems that trauma in childhood may leave behind

Conclusion

In this model, we can teach our clients to give empathy and compassion while holding compassion for their partner. Therefore, we can look for the win-win.

The most inspiring couples in therapy collaborate in uncovering, discovering, and recovering the many INNER ASPECTS that they have on the inside. Learning to bring love, understanding and compassion to themselves as a foundation for how they interact with their beloved.

If you want to learn more about these techniques to apply to your own life and your practice working with individuals and couples, please click this link to learn more.

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do