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

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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

  • Consider this and ask yourself what you can do to help your partner feel emotionally safe with you.

"Intimacy happens when we feel SAFE enough to be vulnerable, open up and just BE. That's when LOVE feels free and soars to new heights." (Tweet from Dr. Sheri Meyers on 9-19-15)

  • "The only way to heal childhood wounding is to have someone with traits like our caregivers learn how to give us what we needed in childhood." (tweet from Harville Hendrix and his wife, Helen LaKelly Hunt on 2-13-2016)

Ask yourself: what does my partner need from me to heal and am I willing to try to give that to him or her today and every day?

  • Set aside some time for the two of you and complete these sentence stems with your partner and then talk about how you can meet each other's need:

"The wound I experienced in my childhood in the family I grew up with is..."; "And the need I brought to our relationship is..."

  • "When triggering occurs, you can be sure that the past is present." (from Raphael Cushnir 2.18.16 email)

When you are triggered by your partner, try to stop, take a breath or two, and remember you probably are making up a story about what they just said or did based on your past. So often we misread our partner's intention/meaning; learn to ask and not assume you know. Try calmly saying "It sounds to me like you are _____; is that your intention or is that what you meant?"

  • Consider this tweet from @HarvilleHelen on 3/31/2016: "You can't cuddle up and relax with 'being RIGHT' at the end of a long day."

Do you stop your partner from being affectionate with you because you insist that YOU ARE RIGHT? Can you be open to the notion that neither of you is right or wrong; you just have different ways of looking at the world sometimes?

  • In a recent study, Dr. Amy Muise found that an active sex life is more important to a happy relationship than money (as reported in Health Day News, 11/18/2015).

Try to take time for sexual intimacy on a regular basis. It's good for your relationship.

  • In a recent study, Communication is important all relationships.

When a spouse or partner looks at his/her phone or texts while the other person is talking, it sends a strong message "you don't matter; whatever is on my phone is more important to me than you;" whether we intend to send that message or not. Make an effort not to look at your phone or text while your partner is talking to you; put it down, put it away or put it on silent; give your partner your full attention. It will strengthen your connection and help you to feel closer to each other.

  • When our partners grant us caring behaviors independent of our actions, our need for unconditional love appears to be satisfied (tweet from @Harville and Helen, 9/27/16).

Try doing one caring behavior for your partner every day. Something as simple as a caring text during the day or making eye contact when asking how was their day.

  • 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.

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