Dr. Barbara Fontana, PhD
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Barbara Fontana, Ph.D
45 Route 25A
Shoreham, NY 11786
Ph: 516-982-1199

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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

  • One study by Andrew Przybylski and Netta Weinstein (as reported in Psychology Today July/August 2016) found that Smartphones "inhibited the development of interpersonal closeness and trust and reduced the extent to which individuals felt understanding and empathy from their partners."

I encourage couples to have some "no device" time together every day. It could be the first hour you are home together at night, some time in the evening, before bed or in bed; you decide but whenever it is, your phones are where you can't see or hear them. It will give you an opportunity to be close again and to share some time together without the distraction of technology.

  • Random rewards for your partner create an air of uncertainty and expectancy that increases their impact on the receiver (tweet from Harville and Helen, 9/28/16).

Try "rewarding" your partner by doing or saying something kind, warm, or loving.

  • Ever notice a couple out to dinner and each is on their phone rather than talking to the other person?

Psychologist Dr. John Gottman's research has shown that unstructured moments (like being out for dinner) that couples spend together are an opportunity for conversation, laughter, a shared moment or observation and hold the most potential for building closeness and a sense of connection. When looking at a phone, people miss their partner's overtures to connect. Try putting away your phone in those unstructured situations and give you and your partner a chance to connect.

  • When couples have fun together they identify each other as a source of pleasure and safety, which intensifies their emotional bond (tweet from Harville and Helen, 9/18/16).

Try making time for fun, something that brings laughter and smiles to both of you.

  • Another study by Jesper Aagaard found that with an increase in telecommunication has come changes in the way people communicate in person.

Specifically their communication had delayed responses, mechanical intonation and a lack of eye contact. This created misattunement between the couples and a feeling of apathy which led to both partners responding less and less to the other. Try to "tune in" to your partner, make eye contact, pay attention, be engaged, try to show him/her that you are interested or curious and want to know more.

  • Intimacy is only possible in a context of pleasure and safety (tweet from Harville and Helen, 9/17/16).

Try to work on both to enhance your relationship: plan pleasurable activities; be a source of emotional safety by respecting their thoughts and feelings even when you see things differently.

  • How you respond to each other can have a positive or negative effect on sexual desire.

When your partner tries to talk to you, you can kill desire by frequently being adversarial, by being defensive, by shutting down and refusing to talk. Being a good listener, being engaged, being curious about how the other person sees things, being willing to dialogue all have a positive effect on emotional safety between partners and sexual desire.

  • If your partner does not nurture you and attend to your needs, a part of you fears you will die, and believes your partner is allowing it (tweet from Harville and Helen, 9/4/16).

Try to see your partner's needs as important as your own and make an effort to meet each other's needs.

  • Your touch is powerful.

Studies using fMRI's have show that when partners hold hands, their brains calm down, there is less emotional responding in the brain, they feel soothed and calmer. Try sitting face to face while holding hands and breathe, let your partner's touch calm you and watch the change in him or her too. Try doing this every day for a week and see what happens or try doing it when you have a difficult topic to discuss.

  • It's easier to stay late at work than to tell your partner that you feel unhappy every time you walk in the front door (tweet from Harville and Helen, 9/6/16).

Try to tell your partner how you feel rather than "exit" the relationship by working late.

Psychologist Shoreham, Long Island | (516) 982-1199