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“Marital Peace After An Affair” – BlogTalk Radio Show Wed. 7/27/16 8:30 PM EDT

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In this thirty minute episode I’ll co-host with Dr. Laura Louis, author of the popular book, “Marital Peace,” which is a valuable resource for supporting couples throughout the challenges of marriage.

Dr. Louis has specialized in helping distant couples heal after infidelity, and in the program discusses some of the ways she recommends rebuilding trust, rekindling intimacy and enhancing communication. Her therapeutic approach has been influenced through trainings in Brazil, Mexico, London and Haiti, as well as hundreds of transformative seminars all over the world.

Don’t miss this vital program if you and your spouse have endured or feel at risk for an affair! Learn some key tools to not only help avoid infidelity, but to restore trust, build forgiveness, and promote growth after an affair. You too can achieve marital peace after this traumatic development.

Call in live with questions or comments at 877-497-9046.

If you can’t make the live show you can listen to the podcast afterward at: www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SusanLager

One way or another, I hope you can join us!

BlogTalk Radio Episode: “I’m Talking! Are You Listening?” Tonight (Wed. 10/21) 8:15 PM EST

If you’ve ever felt stuck in conversations which seem to go nowhere, and feel the need for some good skills in this area, then don’t miss this episode!

In this next 30 minute BTR episode tonight, (Wednesday 10/21/15) at 8:30 PM I will teach you a vital secret tool for better communication, especially when there’s conflict surrounding an issue.

Call in live at toll-free 877-497-9046 to join me on the air with questions or comments. If you can’t make the live show catch the recording at: www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SusanLager anytime at your convenience.

If you or your partner tend to shut down, retreat, or yell at each other when you disagree, and the “conversation” goes south fast, then this show is for you. Moving forward, you’ll have the means to talk more calmly, take turns, listen better, lower reactivity and move toward solutions faster.

I hope you can join me!

Cheers,
Susan

*P.S. To get my book “I’m Talking! Are You Listening?” click on the link below to find it on my Amazon store. There are lots of tips and tools in there for much better communication.

Ashley Madison Hack: Divorce Not An Inevitable Outcome!

If you or your spouse has been exposed as using the Ashley Madison site to seek an affair, stop and take a deep breath! (Apparently thousands of people have already flocked to lawyers to pull the trigger on impulsively decided divorces).  Driven by the hurt and humiliation of public exposure and profound betrayal, as a discovering spouse you are understandably experiencing the first waves of trauma that this news usually brings. Vengeance and assuaging the broken trust through divorce may seem like the only solution to you at this point.

As the unfaithful spouse you are probably traumatized in different ways: what may have seemed like a discreet, compartmentalized adventure without victims now feels real in its damaging consequences. You are now either bathed in shame and fear, or furious that you can no longer “have your cake and eat it too.” However justified you may feel for your infidelity you know that your world is about to become unravelled. You are about to take the hit for everything wrong with the marriage, and cannot imagine ever being forgiven. If you stay married you imagine a lifetime in the “doghouse.” Whichever end you’re on, the impulse on both sides is often to give up and get a divorce, convinced that healing and reconciliation would be impossible.

As a couples therapist who, for many years has worked with thousands of couples reeling from infidelity, I have a few strong pieces of advice:

  • Slow down!
  • Take some deep breaths!
  • Don’t make any rash decisions now!
  • Don’t impulsively file for divorce!

Here are some things you may NOT be aware of:

  • Many marriages can not only be saved, but strengthened after the trauma of infidelity. It requires a lot of determination, hard work, vision, and a good couples therapist the spouses both trust.
  • Many couples who impulsively divorce deeply regret that decision later on.
  • Children are often the biggest victims, especially in a contentious divorce.
  • If you don’t know what direction to take regarding your damaged marriage there is an alternative to couples therapy called Discernment Counseling. This is a brief treatment designed for couples where one spouse is leaning toward a divorce and the other wants to stay married. It is not geared toward tools and skills for repair, but instead focuses on helping partners make a decision about a direction for the marriage. Only trained Discernment Counselors can provide this service.
  • There are terrific books and support groups for couples wrestling with infidelity.
  • If you do decide to get a divorce you can have a healing, constructive process through Collaborative Law. Divorce doesn’t have to be an impoverishing dog fight.
  • There may be hope. There is help.

Anyone in the greater Boston area wanting more information, feel free to contact me at The Couples Center PLLC, in Portsmouth, NH: 603-431-7131.

 

“The Art of a Good Apology” – BlogTalk Radio show Wed., 3/25/15 8:30 PM EDT

Do you say you’re sorry when you’ve behaved badly? If you do, do you apologize well?  If you’re not sure and you’d like to learn something about how to apologize in a heartfelt way which has a healing effect on the other person, then you won’t want to miss my next half hour BlogTalk Radio episode tomorrow night!

We all do or say things at times which call for an apology when we feel we’ve hurt someone. Knowing how to apologize in a way which creates healing and meaningful repair requires an understanding of the importance of timing, as well as the key elements of an effective apology. This is what you’ll learn by tuning into this episode.

Call toll-free 877-497-9046 to join me live on the air with questions or comments. If you prefer, you can catch the episode live streaming, or you can listen to the recording afterward by going to: www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SusanLager

I hope you can join me!

“Healing Trauma Through Yoga – Hope for Survivors” BTR Show 2/5/15 8:30 PM EST

I’m very excited to announce this upcoming BlogTalk Radio episode about Trauma Sensitive Yoga with Lisa Boldin, a graduate of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, and specialist practitioner in this unique form of Yoga.

In this episode we’ll discuss the unique advantages of Trauma Sensitive Yoga for anyone who is struggling with anxiety, emotional stress, or trauma related to experiences such as sexual assault, military combat, or domestic violence.

Call in toll-free at 877-497-9046 to share comments or ask questions about this Yoga. Or, listen live streaming (or later to the recording) at www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SusanLager where you will learn more about how and why this practice offers unique benefits for coping with PTSD. You won’t want to miss this show!

Discernment Counseling Update – Some Results and Impressions

I’ve been doing Discernment Counseling for several months at this point. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s a form of treatment specially designed for “mixed agenda” couples, where one person wants to continue the relationship and has hope for improving it, and the other person feels done and is “leaning out,” but hasn’t yet pulled the plug. It’s a one to five session form of treatment geared to help the couple move toward one of three choices:  stay in the status quo, or break up, or do the work of reconciliation. It’s a decisional therapy, not regular couples therapy which presumes mutual energy and commitment toward improving the relationship. It is designed to help “couples on the brink” avoid the time, expense and frustration of  half-hearted couples therapy). I can tell you right now that it works! I don’t yet have any hard statistics, but in my experience so far I’ve found that this way of working really resonates for couples in this dilemma for the following reasons, among many:

  1. Both partners tend to feel understood and honored, as nobody is being “sold” the continuation of the relationship. Instead, the three paths are intricately explored, with each partner exploring their own part in the negative history, as well as in possibilities for change of any kind.
  2. The “leaning out” partner doesn’t feel pursued or pressured to stay in the relationship by the therapist (who often in regular couples therapy would mirror the pursuit of the “leaning in” partner by encouraging strategies for improving things). Instead, they are given space to explore any ambivalence they may have about moving on, as well as space to look at their own contributions to the situation.
  3. The “leaning in” partner is helped to look at how to bring their best self to the work, and not humiliate themself in the process, as well as exploring their understanding and willingness to address their partner’s concerns.
  4. Clients report really appreciating the format, where we begin the session by meeting all together, then each is seen individually while the other leaves the room, ending with us all reconvening so partners can share their thoughts and feelings about what they have each gained or taken from their individual sessions. I get regular feedback about how each person feels safer having their own time with me to look at the issues, and what they want to convey to their partner about what they’ve learned.
  5. I observe a tremendous lessening of defensiveness and commotion without both partners in the room at all times, given free reign to talk at each other. There is very strict protocol for each segment of the sessions. This is not a free-for-all, duplicating the toxic dance the couple has already been doing. It’s a carefully guided exploration.
  6. So far, this form of treatment has moved most seemingly intractable couples toward a more solid, trusted decision about their future relationship.

I am in the process of pursuing advanced training in this work, so I can envision ironing out some of the kinks which come up, like the time management piece – (there’s lots to cover in a particular sequence each session, something a bit foreign to my more organic way of working). There are also unique dilemmas presented by each couple which require attention and sensitivity. We’re nowhere near perfect, but Discernment Counseling is experienced as a whole different thing by couples on the brink of a split.

For any “mixed agenda” couple interested in getting out of a stalemate around the direction of your relationship, feel free to contact me in my Portsmouth office to further discuss the possibility of doing Discernment Counseling with me. I have some openings at this point, but expect that as we move into the Fall my availability will be much more limited, as it usually is when Summer ends.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Anger BlogTalk Radio Show Tonight 8:30 PM EST

If you’ve been wondering if your partner or anyone significant to you has anger problems, then you’ll want to tune into this 45 minute BlogTalk Radio episode: “Why Are You So Angry?” at 8:30 PM EST. I’ll be co-hosting with Meredith Richardson, a collaborative lawyer and conflict coach, and together we’ll be talking about the signs, origins, and motivations for healthy vs. unhealthy anger. We’ll also share some professional tips about how to cool things down when they are getting too heated.

Call toll-free 877-497-9046 to listen to the live show, or to join us on the air with questions or comments. If you can’t make the live show, catch it streaming at your convenience by going to: http://bit.ly/1l3ZL0I

Either way, hope you can join us!

Susan Lager

For Couples On The Brink Of Divorce: A Unique Resource

In my work as a psychotherapist, I’d say that about 25% of the people who come to me are on the fence about continuing their marriages or “committed relationships.” Generally, spouses have been together long enough for the rose-colored glasses to have come off, and have lost hope for a happy marriage. “Trying” seems to be inauthentic, as partners recite the long list of violations and disillusionments, and the longer list of futile attempts at repair. It’s not uncommon for one or both spouses to be having, or have had an affair. It’s also not uncommon for one or both partners to have consulted an attorney, readying for a split. They are “hovering by the escape hatches,” yet they often describe having problems they’d somehow like to fix. The sense of anguish in the room is palpable.

As a couple therapist, I have spent most of my career fighting to save marriages, and often I’m the last one standing! As marriage counselors we’ve been trained to pull up the hope in the partnership, and teach people how to get along better: strategies for better boundaries, communication, managing conflict, spending quality time together, figuring out how to collaborate, etc. But sometimes one spouse wants to try, and the other doesn’t, and that’s when traditional methods can fail. Getting “busy” working on trying to fix a marriage on the brink can be misguided. First, couples need to have the psychological space to decide if they both want to try to reconcile. Any treatment which provides “tools” prematurely is missing the point.

Enter “Discernment Counseling,” a 1 – 5 session process of exploring what would need to be different for the “leaning out” spouse to have the energy to “try,” and how the “leaning in” spouse can maintain a stance which brings their best self to the process, not one which humiliates or degrades them.

I’m very excited about this work, and have been added to the National Directory of Discernment Counselors after having completed The Minnesota Couples On The Brink Project training. (As far as I know, I am now the only Discernment Counselor in New Hampshire).

I will be doing a half hour BlogTalk Radio show introducing this process on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 8 PM EST. Call toll-free 877-497-9046 to join me live on the air with questions or comments. I’d love to make it a conversation! If you can’t make the live show, you can hear the recording afterward at: www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SusanLager

Couples Therapy In Portsmouth, NH: Addressing Disconnection In Marriage

If there’s one central problem I deal with most frequently in my work as a couples therapist, I’d say it’s disconnection in marriage. It can happen through over- involvement with children, work, hobbies, family or hyper focus on self. It’s a defensive posture, masking some internal fears. Left unexplored, it can ruin a marriage.

Often, the stage is set early in life as spouses adopt certain attachment stances in relation to early nurturing or lack of it. *(See my “resources” page at www.SusanLager.com and take the Adult Attachment Style Survey to find out about your own leanings toward healthy connection or disconnection – you may be surprised!)

Significant research findings indicate that spouses who spend more time together are generally much happier in their marriages than those who don’t.

If you’ve lost touch with your spouse, it’s time to register for a couples’ retreat, to revisit or re-learn the behaviors which helped you to bond when you were courting, and to become more conscious of the defensive behaviors the two of you have adopted over the years.

Meredith Richardson, a talented mediator, collaborative lawyer, and conflict coach and I will be presenting a couples’ retreat May 16-18 at the Victoria Inn in Hampton, NH.  It’s a charming bed and breakfast on the seacoast which we plan to have all for ourselves for the weekend, so there will be ample privacy as well as space to do this important work.

You could also join us for a Couples Retreat on beautiful Star Island, off the coast of Maine and NH, from June 21-25. It’s another ideal setting for reflection and learning.

For more information, or to register, contact me at: 603-431-7131

or call Meredith at: 207-439-4267.

Space is limited, so don’t wait too long – your marriage calls!

 

Back To School (Of Relationships) Part 3

Hello Reader,

It’s August 24th, and about two weeks away from the end of this glorious summer. (!) This means that the first task is to let go without being morose, and feeling sorry for yourself about all the endings. You’ll be able to do this with more finesse if:

1. You visualize your summer experiences as precious nuggets of memory in a treasure chest you can open at any point to enjoy alone or together with your partner. All is not lost.

2. You think about the things you never got around to doing, and resolve to get to them next summer through an ACTION plan.

3. You “reframe” the Fall as the Time for New Starts, (remembering that resolution you made to address the one or two problems in your relationship you would begin to deal with.)  Hopefully by now you’ve gotten curious about your role in the problem(s), as well as your role in the solution(s). If you’re clueless, use your short-term memory to pull up an image of your partner complaining about something you’ve done or not done. Now imagine a miracle has happened and this is no longer a problem in the relationship.  What do you see yourself doing differently, and what are the markers of change which tell you this miracle has happened? Those behavioral “flags”are your map toward working on your end of the changes. Do one thing differently, then look for the “feedback loops” (acknowledgment of impact from your partner).

School is in session!  Now go to “recess” for a little break before you tire of all this positive action…..

Happy Trails,
Susan Lager

P.S. Check out my latest published article about the Couplespeak Marriage Fitness Test at: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Susan_Lager

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Susan Lager

I am a licensed, board certified pyschotherapist and relationship coach in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Through my psychotherapy or coaching services, I can provide you with skills and tools to transform your life.

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