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Tuesday Apr 8, 2014


What would you do if you weren’t afraid? How to develop trust and safe attachment in your relationship.

We’ve heard this question before. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? As a marriage and family therapist in Boca Raton, Florida, I find that fear is one of the most powerful influences in relationship problems. Fear can present huge obstacles in your desire to have a loving, satisfying relationship. It holds you back from allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a necessary requirement in a relationship and it’s only possible if one feels safe and secure. Research shows that fear of betrayal and the inability to trust that your partner will be there is one of the biggest issues in a marriage or committed relationship.

So, how do you help each other feel less fearful and more secure? The simple answer is, by building trust. John Gottman, world-renowned couple’s therapist and researcher, shares that trust is built in the little moments when partners choose to turn towards each other rather than turn away. For example, if I’m sad, will you take the time to comfort me rather than walking away? Will you choose spending time with me over your friends? Will you listen to me? Will you be there for me in every way by making the little sacrifices that show me you care? Gottman suggests that when couples are able to ATTUNE to each other, trust develops and the fear of rejection and detachment diminishes. The elements of ATTUNEment are:

A Developing an AWARENESS about each other’s needs and the willingness to be there for each other, even if it sometimes means sacrifice.

T Turning TOWARD one another versus turning away or disconnecting.

T TOLERANCE (and acceptance) of each other’s quirks and differences.

U UNDERSTANDING. Being able to listen to one another and really understand each other’s perspectives.

N Being NONDEFENSIVE. Not desiring to defend your position but instead being able to listen to the other’s perspective and be o.k. with it.

E Responding with EMPATHY. Stepping into each other’s shoes in order to feel what your partner is feeling. (If you respond with empathy, you can’t be defensive!)

On average, couples wait six years before addressing relationship issues with a therapist. Responding to your problems sooner rather than later insures a better chance that you’ll be able to recapture what you once had. Let us help you get back on track and find the love and excitement you so richly deserve.

Dr. Laura Richter is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist who works with individuals, couples, and families. Her specialties include: surviving infidelity, improving communication, beginning again after divorce and effective co-parenting after divorce. She is also a trained mediator, qualified parenting coordinator and collaborative law mental health professional. For more information, please call or text us today at 561-715-6404 to schedule a consultation to see how we can help.