Category Archives: Uncategorized

Compassionate Communication: 5 tips to healthy vulnerability

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Today’s guest blogger, Adrienne Glasser LCSW, continues the theme of mind-body awareness with a set of coherent suggestions on how to make your communication more compassionate—for your partner and yourself. The method also works with friends and family and anyone else with whom you want to have a more humanized experience!

We all argue. It’s only human to get frustrated with those we love. In fact, arguments are often noble attempts at communicating effectively that go awry. A few weeks ago, I was trying to get some writing done at home and deadlines had me pretty stressed out.  My husband just would not stop bothering me. He asked me questions about the upcoming weekend, or did I want breakfast. It didn’t matter what he said, my resentment grew by the minute. “Doesn’t he see that I need to concentrate?” I heard loudly in my head. My nervous system actually perceived this breakfast offering as an environmental threat worthy of a fight, flight or freeze response. This time, the wheel of fortune for survival stopped on FIGHT.

“When are you going to leave for work? I mean, can you just go already?” I snapped.

 “Fine” he retorted. “You know that I was just offering you breakfast right?”

“I don’t care just leave!”

Of course it immediately hit me that I was being pretty mean. Even though I pride myself on my meditation practice and being a compassionate therapist, I found myself snapping. In the past, I would have compounded this awareness by beating myself up afterward. I would feel embarrassed but still have a hard time controlling the impulse to lash out. But this time I recognized that my attempt to gain control of my environment was really about my suffering, and instead of beating myself up, I did something else:  I smiled at my feelings.

In this moment I allowed for some self-compassion, which led to compassion for my husband having to reckon with a partner that confused breakfast with a threat. I quickly took a breath and said how sorry I was for not saying what I needed in a nicer way. These kinds of arguments can really escalate quickly (many times much more dramatically than this example) and can be avoided if we are able to use mindfulness and compassion with our loved ones.

Below is a 5 step process that I use in my practice as a therapist to help couples and families build compassionate communication. It’s also what I practice in my relationship. This 5 step process is a practice, and takes much time to cultivate- so be compassionate with yourself as your initial attempts will be imperfect.

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The 3 Dimensions of Communication and 6 tips to help you get the most out of them

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Good communication has vast implications. For couples who enjoy it, they are able to take their potential to the limit. And those without it? Many couples fail to connect erotically because of poor communication. Others, like those who argue constantly about money, would see their savings–in terms of stress—skyrocket if they were able to generate emotional safety as part of the way they talked to one another. A good first step in that direction would be to understand how that can be done.

Despite almost universally wanting improvement in communication, partners–when asked to define how it works—tend to stumble, mumble and bumble, though not always in that order. That’s because, for too many, communication resides in-between the far side of mystery and the near end of bewilderment. When asked whether communication has a structure, the most common response is a quizzical look. Some hold that good communication requires talent–like being able to sing on key. These believe that if you can’t hit the right notes in conversation you are doomed to a life of isolation, insecurity and loneliness. How do we overcome these misleading notions?

What do you think about this? Would it make sense for anyone to say that being able to derive sustenance from food is a talent that only a gifted few possess? I don’t think I could find anyone to make that argument. Yet deriving the qualities that go into making us truly human, integrating the capacities that allow us to form our sense of self results from, and depends on, communication. As surely as we utilize food to form the foundation—skin, teeth, bones, internal organs and so on–that sustains our physical existence; so we utilize meanings derived from experiences with others to form the neural networks that become the core of our individual identities and of our connection to humanity at large. In short, without participating in effective human communication throughout our life span, our capacity to love and cherish others, as well as ourselves, cannot thrive.

Read more about the three dimensions here, and get six helpful tips on

Inside Out – Pixar’s new film shows us how feelings really work

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Today’s guest blogger is Adrienne Glasser, LCSW, RDMT. She is a wonderfully insightful, dynamic and compassionate clinician, certified in working with Internal Family Systems and mindfulness techniques. Her practice is based in NYC.

Adrienne Glasser is the Director of Services at the Experience Wellness Group. She has been helping clients to find their intuitive path towards healing for over15 years. She also leads intensive weekends and trainings for professionals in which she teaches Active Insight and Experiential Therapy theory and techniques.

Adrienne writes:

We all have feelings or internal parts. They talk to us all day long. We hear them at home, at work; each moment is peppered with this, sometimes very opinionated, chatter. Often, our instinct is to shut them up.  From our earliest days, we are taught that feelings are untrustworthy, make us weak and are best, in many situations, dealt with by dismissing them.

If we think of the mind as if it were a ship, many of us treat its parts, our feelings, like mutinous crew members that are trying to usurp the true captain’s power. We do not trust them or give them their due.

But who controls where our mind goes? Which part of us makes the final decisions? Are parts aligned with specific feelings? Or is there some larger aspect of us that references a broader perspective, an appreciative and compassionate way of seeing things?

Pixar’s new film, Inside Out, addresses our relationship to our feelings in a surprisingly sophisticated way.  Read the full post here on



The Greatest Gift a Mother Can Give: An Appreciation

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I was sixteen when my father died. My mother told me that she didn’t know how to offer me guidance after that point because, “I don’t really understand men.” But she was very wrong about what she had to offer me. She taught by example. She demonstrated courageous, adventurous, passionate engagement with her life and community, a gift I still draw strength from.

Ironically, I became a couples therapist, not because I was inspired by the example my parents set for me, but because I learned first hand about so much of what doesn’t work in a partnership from them. Not that they didn’t love each other. I believe they did. But their marriage was difficult and my mother, in particular, was ground down by being caretaker for four children. She cooked, cleaned house, played secretary to my father’s various business ventures and overall complemented his initiatives. She yearned for the opportunity to have a connection to the world beyond the home. And when their marriage of thirty-odd years ended she never looked back.

My father came by his sense of entitlement honestly if such a thing can be said or make any sense. When we were alone, I was my mother’s confidant. She explained that, because my paternal grandfather, tailor by trade, had lost his eyesight when my father was in elementary school, he—five ten by the time he was twelve years old—had been working, building and repairing tracks in the New York subway at a time that his age would have dictated he report to junior high school. With his fifth grade education, and later sporting runner-up status in the Golden Gloves, he made his way to manhood. One hundred percent old school. He was a thoughtful and even a sensitive man but questioning his right to exercise prerogatives and control in his home was, to his mind, neither real nor right. He worked hard and felt entitled to be attended to when he got home.

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4 Steps to Getting a Relationship Unstuck: A Guide to Changing your Outlook and Reconnecting with Each Other

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Excepting abuse or addiction, the vast majority of couples’ difficulties with one another are two-sided.

Partners typically come into therapy well-armed with anecdotes and lists of grievances about each other, but rarely with insights into how their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors need to change to make their relationship grow. But lasting solutions emerge from the inside out—self-focus is the key.

For example, “Jillian” reports:

“I have been trying to make this relationship better but I cannot seem to make anything work. I know that what I am doing is in the best interest of the relationship but my partner is not doing their part. I would take responsibility for my part in the problems if I felt I was at fault. The thing is, I don’t. I can’t be critical of myself for being disappointed in what my partner hasn’t been able to do! That wouldn’t make any sense.”

What should she do? Click here to read the full post on

The Power of the Middle Ground: a Program for Couples

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In this interview, I give explicit instructions on how couples can access, or think about approaching their Middle Ground. Reverend Jennifer and her husband, Ogun, brought out the heart of the Middle Ground concepts with their astute questions and comments. Here’s the show we did together: : Podcast

To hear more of the Family Unity Matters Programming check out

HOT102.FM Interview with Beverley Anderson Manley

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About my host: Beverley Anderson Manley, Former First Lady of Jamaica, is Jamaica’s former representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and the OAS/CIM – the Women’s Section of the OAS. She is a gender and transformational trainer; consultant on Third World developmental issues, as well as issues of communications and gender. A Vice President of the Third World Foundation headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Anderson-Manley was active in the politics of the Peoples’ National Party in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. She has written numerous papers on Third World political, social and economic issues as well as articles on communications and transformation. She is well known in Jamaica, the Caribbean and the Third World as an expert on Gender and Development with particular emphasis on Policy issues. This podcast interview is the part of a series of recent radio appearances I have made on HOT102.FM Jamaica.

Social Networking Addiction

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Q: What are some of the causes of addiction to social networking? How and why do people get hooked? What is the allure of social media compared to attachment to people in a three-dimensional context?  How many Americans are addicted to social networking?

A: Social networking addiction is like any other: the dependent person gauges their self-esteem and regulates their emotions through their addiction rather than through direct connection with their “real” interpersonal surround.

The causes for this type of addiction runs the gamut from depression, despair of making contact with people face-to-face, to anxiety disorders, fear of disappointment and potential confirmation of a core identity that is neither strong enough nor worthy enough to gain the attention of others without the use of the addictive medium as a go-between.

If one is neglected in a Facebook foray, in contrast to a get-together with a friend, no other person is privy to the reality of this defeat.  The shame and loneliness that a person who uses social networking to shield themselves from the risks that contact with others can – at least for a time – remain private. Issues such as facing humiliation at one’s need for others can seem to be under control despite a characteristic sense of desperation that is the hallmark of addiction.

Current Facebook users number at approximately 30 million!   Because social networking addiction has not been formally recognized as a diagnosable condition there are no reliable studies or statistics on how many of users are addicted.

I’d estimate that between five and ten percent of social media users – conservatively pegged at 5 million – are addicts.

Take the FREE Three Dimensional Quiz to help you evaluate the condition of your own Middle Ground! Learn more