Helping you ... Helping yourself

Articles by Lynne Foote

LATEST ARTICLES:

To reach Lynne by email or to sign up for her quarterly newsletters and other news alerts:
about Upcoming Programs
and for new Article Alerts





Article Alerts
Upcoming Programs
Do not add me to your Email List




To help prevent spam, please enter the characters into the box above.


Your name and information will not be shared or sold to anyone for any reason.

CAITLIN AND GREG: AN INTERVIEW WITH A COUPLE WHO CAME BACK FROM THE BRINK OF A DIVORCE

I interviewed Caitlin and Greg (their names have been changed to protect confidentiality), a couple who have been together for 33 years, because this is a story of two people who found their way back from the brink of divorce. I worked with them over the course of only three months and was moved by the way they reclaimed their marriage and also by the courage each had to face their own part in the Dance. Their process was truly transformational and my hope is that this interview will help other couples who are suffering in their own version of a dysfunctional connection and facing the possibility of divorce. Perhaps Caitlin and Greg will encourage you to find a way to forge a more secure bond in the next chapter of your lives.

Read more»

ROMANTIC LOVE: A REVIEW OF ROBERT JOHNSON'S BOOK WE

I just finished reading Robert Johnson’s book, WE: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love, which is a study of romantic love based on the myth of Tristan and Iseult, seen through the eyes of a Jungian analyst. This myth, which came out of the King Arthur tales of the 12th century, was the beginning of the Courtly Love tradition and formed our ideal of romantic love. This ideal, with its historic roots in the Middle Ages, took form through the love poems and songs of the troubadours. Coined as “courtly love,” this was the love of a brave knight who worshiped his fair lady from afar. She became his inspiration to be noble, spiritual, refined, and high-minded. This love was not meant to be consummated and lived on the earthly plane, rather it was an idealized, spiritual relationship, destined to enflame the passion of this young man and inspire him as he found his way in the world and made the journey to become a moral and honored knight. Johnson claims that our modern era psychologically begins at this time. He also states that our Western society is the only culture in history that has experienced romantic love as a mass phenomenon, and is the only culture that makes romance the basis of our marriages.

Read more»

KINDS OF LOVE AND THE ROLE OF COMMITMENT

Robert Sternberg in his book THE TRIANGLE OF LOVE (1987) gives us an insightful taxonomy of the different kinds of Love. He bases his distinctions on the presence and/or absence of three foundational points of PASSION, INTIMACY, and COMMITMENT. Passion, which can be defined as an intense longing for union with other, is not in our conscious control. It is often the first quality to appear and the quickest to decline and cycles throughout the life of a relationship. Intimacy, with Latin roots meaning “without fear”, relates to feelings and behaviors that promote closeness, connection and a sense of bondedness. It starts with self disclosure and can be defined as the willingness to know and be known. Commitment, in the short term, consists of loving the other person, and over the long haul means maintaining that love through the hard times. Healthy commitment in a relationship is a conscious choice to become and remain steadfast in one’s dedication towards one’s partner and towards the relationship.

Read more»

WEDDING VOWS, PROMISES OF THE HEART

Many couples spend more time preparing for their wedding, than for their marriage. A lot of excitement, expectation, and work goes into the creation of a wedding and couples can find themselves waking up inside a marriage lost in a kind of post-party depression not knowing how to proceed. Some couples may not even be sure how they got there. The marriage ceremony, when created and experienced consciously, is a sacred vessel that helps two people cross the threshold into their sacred union. The true power of a wedding arises from gathering family and friends who then bear witness while two people make a spoken and heartfelt commitment to each other. This community can become a support system which helps hold the vessel of a marriage together when the individuals cannot. Loved ones can offer verbal and energetic guidance, and hope, that allows each partner to find their way back to each other through troubled times. In some wedding ceremonies, the people gathered are asked to make their own commitment to the couple to be this support for them.

Read more»

THE ART OF COMMUNICATION

The single most consistent cause that brings couples into my office for counseling is that their communication has broken down and they are caught in a cycle of arguing and bitterness that is steadily wearing away the stability of their connection. In this article, I want to look at the dynamics of healthy communication and offer some guidelines for finding your way to mutual understanding.

Read more»

WITHDRAWING PROJECTIONS AND TAKING RESPONSIBILITY

Maggie Scarf, in her book INTIMATE PARTNERS, talks about five levels of differentiation for couples which is valuable both as an assessment of what level you as a couple might be functioning from, as well as offering a model for what you can aspire to. This model consists of two lower, less differentiated and more troubled levels, a third "bridge" level, and two levels of higher developmental maturity and functioning.

Read more»

CREATING THE FOUNDATION FOR A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP

Three qualities that are essential for creating a healthy, enduring relationship are: respect, friendship, and trust. When we hold respect for our partner, we foster a feeling of esteem and admiration. We feel good about who they are. We see them in a positive light. And this positive factor has been proven to be a critical determinant in the health and welfare of a couple. John Gottman, who has directed the "Love Lab"at the University of Washington in Seattle since 1986, has a 90% accuracy rate at predicting which newlywed couples choose to stay together vs. those who divorce 4-6 years later. This exceedingly high prediction rate is based on his extensive research using observation, biofeedback, and other scientific measurements. His results were surprising to many. The predictor was not the degree of conflict. In fact, he came up with three styles of conflict in couples. There is the "hot"Mediterranean type couple who have dramatic fights and passionate making up after the fights. There is the more northern clime couple whose tempers run cooler and there is less intense passion. A third style, which he calls the validating couple, has a conflict range that is between these two extremes. All three styles work. The predictor that Gottman found for couples who stay or part turns out to be a RATIO, a ratio of 5:1. That is five positive interactions for every negative interaction and includes both verbal and non-verbal exchanges. When we have respect for our partner, we maintain a positive regard for them so that our exchanges lean towards those that foster connection and caring which are predictors for success on the long term. With the quality of mutual respect, a couple can also hone the ways that they are equal but different. Respect can dull the need to be in a one up power position. And respect can elevate someone with low self esteem from their one down position. Respect for Self is as vital and necessary as respect for one’s partner.

Read more»

OVERVIEW OF PREMARITAL COUNSELING

Intimate relationships have experienced a major paradigm shift over the past forty years. We are reshaping our core dynamics from a role-based model to a partnership model, but not without consequences. We have a divorce rate in the United States where more than half of our marriages end in divorce. What is happening here?

Marriages used to serve family and society and the quality of the man/woman connection was secondary. Community pressure would hold it together. Now, for the first time in history, couples are on their own. We have shifted from a community (or village) to a nuclear family so that we have one person, rather than many, to meet our needs. We have also shifted from a survival mode to one of self-actualization so that we are demanding deeper levels of intimacy which puts pressure on each partner to fulfill more needs. We live in a youth addicted culture that promotes romantic ideals of love rather than images of couples who have matured after years of finding their way together. We also live in a throw-away society that reinforces the belief that we can have what we want by giving up what we have for the promise of something better. The divorce rate for second marriages is even more sobering at 67% and 74% for third marriages according to the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology.

Read more»

WHY DO WE NEED A POWER STRUGGLE PHASE IN OUR RELATIONSHIP?

Some people say that a relationship doesn't begin until after the falling-in-love bubble bursts. I disagree. While not all viable and healthy relationships begin by falling in love (think arranged marriages or long term friendships that suddenly bloom), I feel strongly that an important bonding happens when two people fall in love. This bond, which shows us the vast potential for connection that is possible, and which fulfills a deep Soul need in us, can carry a couple through the troubled waters of the inevitable next stage, the Power Struggle.

What, essentially, is this state of falling in love? It is a time when our ego boundaries expand and we move beyond our limited sense of self to taste the Divine. We are at One with our partner and open to Life's Mysteries. Pleasure is heightened. The heart is open and receptive. We are curious, engaged, and alive in the moment. Our boundaries have also opened and what we "love" about our partner is now felt as part of our own makeup. Words like bliss, ecstasy, wholeness, and ultimate happiness capture the essence of this condition. While it lasts, we are at peace with all that is arising in the moment and we don't need anything to be other than it is.

Read more»

TIME OUT: A Couple's Tool in Conflict

Conflict is inevitable in every relationship but fighting is not. Learning how to engage with your partner when you are caught up in the grips of fear and anger is not an easy task. But with some time-tested guidelines that a couple agrees to use when a conversation escalates into a fight, it is possible to manage conflict and to successfully reach resolution, even if this means you agree to disagree. And through this process you can actually forge a stronger connection.

I believe intimate relationships are a sacred path and continually offer us opportunities to wake up and come to a greater awareness, which is the heart of a spiritual practice. Conflict is an important part of this path. I have worked with couples for over 20 years and have some tools that have proven to be invaluable during these tumultuous times. Perhaps the crown jewel during conflict is knowing when to stop the conversation. The time to stop is when the argument has reached the point where resolution is impossible. This is when you need a Time Out.

Read more»

From Ego to True Self: The Journey Home

A version of a story that is endearing to me is that one day two parents overhear their young daughter talking to her newborn brother in his crib, saying, "Hurry, tell me about where you've just come from because I am already starting to forget." We come into this embodied world as a whole being but we are functioning without self-awareness or matured consciousness. We cannot remain in this undifferentiated state because it is our human destiny to develop an egoic personality. The fall from Grace, which in Enneagram terms is called the Primal Catastrophe, is the loss of contact with our True Self and the development of our Egoic self. What defines an egoic self is the experience of a separate "I", the duality of a "me" and a "not-me". With this disconnection from the True Self, we experience a loss of Presence.

The problem is not that we have an Ego but that we begin to identify with this Ego. We begin to believe that THIS is who I am and, at best, the Ego can only be an imitation of the True Self. The entrance into our egoic identity, and the formation of our personality, which happens in the first thirty-six months of life, is preverbal and unconscious. Our mind-body absorbs experiences from the sensory world based on needs that are being met, and those that are not. From this, we develop a core belief system, again outside our conscious awareness, deciding who we are and what kind of world we are living in.

Read more»


NEXT STEP

For information on who I work with, click on IS THIS FOR YOU? To learn more about my working style, click on HOW I WORK and MY SERVICES. Or for a free half hour consultation to see if individual or couples counseling can help you, click CONTACT ME, or call my voicemail at 3034472987.


Top of page