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

  • In my practice, I often reassure couples that good relationships do take work.

I think these words from Dr. Bonnie Eaker-Weil sum it up very well: "Intimacy doesn't just happen and it doesn't come ‘naturally.' It takes time and skill to create a truly close connection. Intimacy means sharing, trusting, confiding in each other, and bonding – without fusing." If you both keep working on your relationship, it will get better and better.

  • It is so important to reduce the negativity in your interactions with your partner/spouse.

When you attack, blame or criticize your partner, he/she will usually attack back, withdraw or stonewall (not talk.) None of this helps your relationship/connection. Make a conscious effort to stop ALL criticizing, blaming and/or attacking.

  • Love and respect are the keystones of a good relationship.

All your words and behaviors should reflect both love and respect for your partner. Even complaints can be expressed with love.

  • Remember one "zinger" will erase twenty acts of kindness.

Once you say something hurtful, you can't take it back; you can apologize, which helps, but an apology does not erase your partner's hurt feelings. Think before you speak and choose your words with care and love.

  • It's not the differences between partners that cause problems but how the differences are handled when they arise.

It's important to respect each other's point of view and try to figure out a solution that will work for both of you or accept that you see some things differently and always will.

  • Men and women fight using different weapons but suffer similar wounds.

Men tend to withdraw from conflict; women tend to need to resolve every conflict. Try to let some less important things go and try to resolve the most important conflicts.

  • One of the problems I observe in my office when couples are dialoguing (taking turns speaking about a specific concern) is one person "flooding" the other with words.

The listener often stops listening when the speaker goes on and on. When you are speaking try to be brief, try to summarize your concern rather than going on and on. This will improve your communication.

  • Accepting influence is a good predictor of marital success according to Dr. John Gottman's research.

Accepting influence means that you'll accept/respond positively to requests from your partner. Try to say yes when your partner asks something of you.

  • Try to praise your partner this week for what he/she is doing right...

...rather than criticize him/her for what he/she is doing wrong.

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