Loving Couple

We all know that relationships have their ups and downs. Our energy levels, spirits, moods, and behaviors fluctuate. Yet with all the bio-psycho-social complexities, there is a simple powerful clinically proven way to improve your most important relationship in five minutes.

Transformational Dyad Experience (TDE)

1.      After you and your partner agree to do this exercise, place two chairs facing each other about 4 feet apart and then sit down in them.

2.      Choose one partner to be the "Depressor" and the other partner will be the "Fixer" in the dyad conversation.                                                           

3.      The person who is the Depressor begins to share their negative, depressing thoughts about him/herself (example: I'm a loser, I'm no good, my nose is too big, I'm not smart enough). The person who is the Fixer immediately tries to fix the other person by making positive comments (example: You're wonderful, your nose is perfect, you always underestimate yourself). The key to TDE is that the Depressors remains faithful to their role and never lets up with the negativity. Remember, the Depressors always express negativity about themselves and not their partners. Likewise, the Fixers always responds to every negative comment with positive reassurances and never criticism.

Two people facing each other in chairs talking

  4.  After the 2-3 minutes, switch roles and continue the process, so that each partner has an opportunity to be a Depressor and a Fixer. The key to a successful outcome is dedication to your role.   

5.      Discuss the following:

A.    How did it feel to play each role?

B.     Which role was easier?

C.     How did your body feel with each role?

D.    At some point, were you able to smile or laugh?

E.     In your actual relationship, who is the Depressor and who is the Fixer? Does it change?

F.      Do you see that whenever you and your partner sink into the Depressor or Fixer role, it creates problems in your relationship?

G.    In other relationships, which role do you tend to play most often?

The Mind-Body Bridging Solution

Mind-Body Bridging, a branch of Mind-Body Medicine, is an evidence based model that is effective for both individuals and couples. The underlying premise is that you and your relationships are whole, complete, and can heal itself. What prevents healing and positive transformation is a brain network called the Identity System. It has two subsystems or components called the Depressor and the Fixer. When you and your partner become aware of the activity of the Depressor and Fixer, it dissolves their power and relationships automatically improve. This happened when you smiled or laughed during the TDE.  By becoming aware of the Depressor and Fixer in real time, your relationships will automatically shift into a transformational mode.You and your partner are not broken and don't need fixing!

Can it be so easy? Try it and see for yourself.


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Mind-Body Workbook for PTSD

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References

Block, S.H. and C.B. Block,  2012. Mind-Body Workbook for Stress: Effective Tools for Life-Long Stress Reduction and Crisis Management.  Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, (In press, Fall of 2012)

Block, S.H., and C.B. Block. 2010. Mind-Body Workbook for PTSD: A 10-Week Program for Healing After Trauma. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications.

Block, S.H., and C.B. Block, 2007. Come To Your Senses: Demystifying the Mind-Body Connection 2nd Edition. Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words Publishing.

Block, S. H., S. H. Ho, and Y.Nakamura. 2009. A brain basis for transforming consciousness with Mind-Body Bridging. Paper presented at Toward a Science of Consciousness 2009 conference, June 12, at Hong Kong Polytechnical University, Hong Kong, China, Abstract 93.

Boly, M., C. Phillips, E. Balreau, C. Schnakers, C. Degueldre, G. Moonen, A. Luxen, P. Peigneux, M.-E. Faymonville, P. Maquet, and S. Laureys. 2008a. Consciousness and cerebral baseline activity Fluctuations. Human Brain Mapping 29 (7):868-74.

Boly, M., C. Phillips, L. Tshibanda, A. Vanhaudenhuyse, M. Schabus, T. T. Dang-Vu, G. Moonen, R. Hustinx, P. Maquet, and S. Laureys. 2008b. Intrinsic brain activity in altered states of consciousness: How conscious is the default mode of brain function? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1129:119-29.

Nakamura, Y., D. L. Lipschitz, R. Landward, R. Kuhn, and G. West. 2011 (forthcoming). Two sessions of sleep focused mind-body bridging improve self-reported symptoms of sleep and PTSD in veterans: A pilot randomized controlled trial. April, 2010 Journal of Psychosomatic Research Vol. 70, Issue 4, Pages 335-345.

About the Author

Stanley H. Block M.D.

Stanley H. Block, M.D., is an adjunct professor of psychiatry. His most recent book is the Mind-Body Workbook for PTSD.

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