Dr. Barbara Fontana, PhD
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"Relationships & How to Make Them Work"

Barbara Fontana, Ph.D
45 Route 25A
Shoreham, NY 11786
Ph: 631-821-1880
Fax: 631-821-4750

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the Week
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Barbara Fontana, PhD - Psychologist & Imago Relationship Therapist
Suffolk County, Long Island, New York - Couples Therapy

Tips of the Week for Couples

  • When two people treat each other the way they did in happier times, they begin to identify each other as a source of pleasure once again (tweet from Harville and Helen, 9/15/16).

Think back to when you were first dating and what you enjoyed, try doing those things today and in the weeks ahead.

  • Our feelings guide us in issues large and small; they tell us what we want, what our preferences are, and what we need (tweet from Dr. Sue Johnson, 9/30/16).

Try listening to both your own feelings and your partner's feelings. What are they telling you? What do you need to do?

  • Sometimes people cannot solve their relationship problems on their own and need professional help.

I urge you to consider couples therapy with someone who is well trained in working with couples. You can find certified Imago Relationship Therapists at www.imagorelationships.org. If your partner won't go with you, consider individual therapy for your own well-being.

  • If you have something important you want to discuss with your spouse or partner, asking "Is now a good time to talk?" can make a big difference.

It gives the other person a "heads up" that you want their undivided attention, that this is important to you, that you want them to really listen to you. It also shows that you are respectful of their time and are not assuming that they are available on your time schedule. If your partner or spouse says no, it's not a good time, accept that and ask for an appointment within 24 hours when he/she will talk to you.

  • Hugs are very important! Couples who hug and cuddle regularly are more satisfied with their relationship.

They feel more emotionally attached to their spouse/partner. Make the effort to hug each other every day, your relationship will benefit. I sometimes give couples a homework assignment to give each other a thirty second hug daily.

  • Take a few minutes each day to ask each other "What was the best part of your day?"

It will give you an opportunity to connect with each other in a positive way.

  • When you are discussing something that triggers strong feelings, learn to mirror.

When you mirror, instead of responding by being defensive or by telling the other person why you disagree, you repeat back what you just heard the person say. It does not have to be word for word but try to get the main ideas without adding your "stuff" to it. When we mirror, the other person feels really heard and respected.

  • Give your partner one appreciation every day.

So often people tell me they don't feel appreciated by their spouse. Tell your partner how much you appreciate something nice or thoughtful he/she did for you today. Or, tell him/her something about their personality that you appreciate (like their sense of humor or their dependability). Appreciations help us feel emotionally safe with each other.

Psychologist Shoreham, Long Island | (631) 821-1880