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Pursuing Passion Through the Neo-Cortex

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Presentation on theme: "Pursuing Passion Through the Neo-Cortex"— Presentation transcript:

1 Pursuing Passion Through the Neo-Cortex
Don Ferguson, Ph.D.

2 Response to Threat Full body experience
Breathing, heart rate, musculature, body chemistry, hormones, digestion The brain also prepares for battle or flight Direct routing of threat info to amygdala Narrowed focus and vision

3 Executive Operating Systems
RAGE CARE FEAR PANIC SEEKING PLAY LUST Affective Neuroscience Panksepp, Jaak, 1998, New York: Oxford University Press

4 Bartholomew and Horowitz used this model to create the Relationship Questionnaire (RC).

5 Curiosity I need I can’t You won’t You’re bad
You want too much You’re bad You won’t You’re bad

6 Anxiety increases anxiety
Frustrated needs and desires will lead to increased anxiety and need for reassurance As one acts out this desperation, the partner’s anxiety and desperation increases and so on Getting one partner to surrender in some manner may only make matters worse

7 Couples out of synch The partners are often startled by the fact that even their most positive efforts are met with suspicion or resentment. (the gift of information) They are out of synch so that when one tries the other is not ready. This leads to hopelessness: “Nothing I do is ever good enough.”

8 John Gottman Increase overall positivity in marriage—nonconflict
Decrease negativity during conflict discussion Increase positivity during conflict discussion

9 The Goal Reduce intensity between partners.
This is exactly opposite of attempting to increase intimacy. Reducing their closeness and tension facilitates their ability to use complex neo-cortex abilities.

10 The treatment agreement
Following the initial assessment- I ask the couple to have a brief meeting about their experience of the intake. They should discuss whether this approach sounds reasonable and whether they both feel comfortable with me. If agreeing to treatment, they will make one evaluation appointment for each and a conjoint session for recommendations.

11 Common fears when attempting change
It won’t change It will get worse It will change but it won’t last The change will not be sufficient I will be talked/coerced into doing or accepting things that are not good for me.

12 The mechanics-assessment
How do they attempt discussions? When do they have time together? How do battles begin? How do they fight dirty? How do they ask for things? Who initiates sex and how do they respond to each other?

13 Primitive battle Diagnosis and name-calling Attacking the family
I’m the expert I work harder than you Calling on experts, books and other evidence Intimidation Arguing the facts

14 Looking for positives Attachment language-agency, connection, hope, positive story telling, humor Shared goals The exceptions to the negatives: When do things go well? When do they have their best times? Be cautious when asking about exceptions.

15 The Experimental Nature of Change
Everything a couple asks for or tries is merely an experiment. Be prepared to back up because… If an assignment fails, it wasn’t resistance. It was the wrong assignment.

16 We need to talk. I really need to talk to you and get to know you better. I will feel closer to you. or I want to rip you open emotionally, make you feel guilty and inadequate and then tap dance on your bloodied useless carcass. This will take about four hours.

17 The mechanics- planning
Planning meetings- timing, time-limits, preparation, decreasing surprises Place- remember conditioning theory Establishing rules of engagement Soft start-ups, bids and increasing positives (Gottman)

18 Defining the Problem Forcing your brains to organize the data
Specific and behavioral objectives Select and define sub-arguments and distractions What are the key subjects and what do they mean to each of you? What would each of you view as a successful conclusion to the topic you have named as important?

19 Early Building of Positives (Gottman, Hendrix)
Wish list Minimal positive contact Sacred times Initiating times together (How do they get together after absences? The arsenic hour is described.) Celebrating change Note: These are early interventions and do not necessarily address the big issues, yet.

20 Relapse Inoculating against catastrophic reactions to relapse
Using relapse as a learning tool Celebrating new responses to old behaviors Discussing continued growth

21 After Relapse, Tx Begins!
Couples have an initial honeymoon They then have a vicious relapse which is all the more painful because they thought they had made it. Now they are ready to do the deeper work beyond just learning to be nicer to each other. You need to invoke their curiosity.

22 Sex, love and affection Couples often view problems of sexual desire, arousal and performance as problems of interest, affection and desirability. It is often difficult but necessary to help them separate these concepts.

23 What part of sex is just business and mechanics?
Business versus Personal Issues Partnership Meetings Place, timing, agenda Defining the problem and who has what problem What is minimal positive change? What else do we need for this discussion? (books, other info)

24 Group Program Introduction to the biology of fighting and estrangement
Self Assessment Development of structured interactions Meetings, Negotiations, Play Family Discussion and Assessments Problem focus for successful discussions Increasing intimacy Relapse


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