5 Steps to a Better Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is a day that can be fraught with and weighed down by expectations. Perhaps we can mitigate potential problems by prepping for it together.

Relationships: Being Close Without Becoming Too Close

Without realizing it, do we think about relationships in outmoded 20th Century terms? How can we adjust our thinking to accommodate the array of options available now?

Making Sense of First Love

The future history of irrelationship will be revealed in what we experience as first love.

Beware of Performers Bearing Gifts

Being generous is, of course, a wonderful quality. It is also the sheep’s clothes of irrelationship, allowing us to hide our anxiety about being close to others.

Discovering Your Defense Against The World

Irrelationship is a joint psychological defense system, but how does our interaction with the world shape our relationship with ourself?

Holidating

Holidating may be a way that irrelationship helps us—and someone not so close or special—keep the holidays blues, and anxieties, away.

Working and Living Through What Irrelationship Represses

This is the story of how two men—after a decade of struggling to reject their feelings for each other—love, work and love through irrelationship together.

Two Sides to Repression in Irrelationship: A Different View

Irrelationship can most certainly serve as a jointly created means of keeping the repressed—well—repressed.

Happy Holidays—Or Else!

Being haunted by the idea that other people are “better” at holiday celebrations than we are can drive us to “fix” our own family’s time together. But this preoccupation with “getting it right” can become an emotional wedge between ourselves and those we’re trying to please.

“Fix You,” Conscious Uncoupling and Irrelationship

We think “Conscious Uncoupling’s promise of a “Happily-even-after” makes good sense. Our one big concern, however, is that the description of "Conscious Uncoupling" also provides ample opportunity for irrelationship to do its very best—that is, each incident of conscious uncoupling might just be an incident where a couple has stepped on a land mine of irrelationship.

If You Spot It—Maybe You Got It

What we have found when working with people, couples, families, organizations and groups with the irrelationship model the real trick is to keep the focus on ourselves. We've also found that most people who have thus far been interested in the irrelationship notion are interested because it speaks to them. That is, it speaks to us.

Compulsive Scaregiving

Without a sense of security built on shared investment in empathy, intimacy and vulnerability, early company successes and wishful thinking can lull us into a false sense of security. Sometimes, someone is unconsciously relegated to “scare” us out of our sleep and into the serious work of mutually building actual security into the foundation of the organization.

5 Benefits of Corporate Intimacy

Intimacy isn’t, perhaps, a term that’s thrown around very much in the workplace. But that doesn’t mean that intimacy isn’t a crucial factor in how we experience our jobs. What does intimacy look and feel like in the workplace? Let's talk about intimacy in the workplace.

The Bully as a Symbol/Symptom of Unsafety

How are our children supposed to convey to us that it doesn't feel safe to be a kid in today's society? As an issue that has captured national and international attention, the issue of bullying may be a message that our children are sending to us about a general sense of unsafety, a dropping of the ball, in our society's ability to care for our younger generation.

8 Ways Real Listening Will Help Your Relationships

Effective communication built on the bedrock of effective listening is vital to the development of empathy in any relationship. Such listening is the primary tool for: a. Disarming the anxiety driving irrelationship; and, b. Opening the way for intimacy. Here we present a list of some of the most powerful characteristics of listening to empower effective communication.

Writing a Self-Other Help Book

The authors of this original, innovative new text share with readers a reflection on the experience of discovering irrelationship in the clinical setting and in our own working dynamic.

Be Slick, Do Less, Get More

The irony of caregiving and caretaking is that the worst form of rip-off is doesn't occur when we give too much—what's better than a well-nursed grudge or a blast of righteous indignation? Actually, though, the real shakedown comes from having our own contributions refused.

9 Indications Your Psychotherapy May Need A Tune-Up

How do I know when my therapy is deadlocked? The following discussion was provoked by feedback we received on a blog entry on the “doctor-patient relationship,” and provides food for thought for both therapists and their patients.

Protected Against Presence

Presence can be an idealized—but powerfully defended against—missing ingredient in relationships that work as co-created psychological defense systems, called irrelationships. Presence, the very thing we say and think we want can be a terrorizing force threatening to erupt as love, care and compassion—the very things that irrelationship is built to protect us against.

The Language of Conflict

Conflict is a normal part of any relationship. Sometimes, though, conflict may be a signal that people with a profound commitment to one another are missing each other even though they sleep in the same bed.

Do I Have to Know Who I Am to Find True Love?

It is possible that the very notion of being "ready for love" can serve as a powerful defense against it. Many of us cling to the belief that self-knowledge, perhaps even self-love, is the missing ingredient in our histories of failed attempts. Do you wish you knew yourself much better? Do you imagine that if you did, everything would fall into place? Then read on...

What is Brainlock?

Now you get it: You are trapped—by your own brain activity and chemistry, by developmental patterns from the past, by the way your patterns and your partner's patterns interlock with one another, and by social forces that are hard to see. Read about how this becomes "Brainlock" and cements you (in a plural sense) into a state of irrelationship.

The Disposable Person—Being Unvalued in the Modern Age

Do you ever get the funny feeling that something isn't right? Not to make trouble or anything—but maybe you are right. Do you feel like you’re in a state of chronic interview, a cog in the system, a rat the race, and that seemingly significant people in your life—in romance and at work—may not care about you as a human being? Here's why...

The House Drunk: Finding Our Way Out Together, Part 2

Following up on the previous entry, Ray and his mother learn skills for building a real relationship despite the complications that are part of addiction. And here we are, learning how to do the hard work of building better relationships, together, when addiction makes it even harder.

The "House Drunk"—Irrelationship & Addiction, Part 1

Irrelationship is not alcoholism; but, it is similarly chronic, compulsive and progressive. Regarding families suffering from alcoholism and addiction, having one's role as a caretaker usurped by a foreign and anonymous source—even when treatment has been strongly encouraged or even demanded—is often an unexpectedly conflicted, confusing and complicated experience.

Is Human Connection the Antidote for Addiction?

In the 1970's Bruce Alexander ran an experiment to question the universality of the “drug-induced addiction.” He built a "rat park" where test subjects (rats) were offered enrichment rather than (the usual) deprivation. He found that when given a choice to bond with others, most test subjects do. Human parallels are drawn, comparisons with irrelationship are offered.

Seeing the Person Within the Persona

Irrelationship is about a lot of things: a co-created and shared defense, compulsive caregiving, Performing and Audiencing, suffering and feeling trapped and helpless. It is also about hiding out in a routine, a song-and-dance routine. That routine is like a mask that protects the self from observation—it is a persona-in-action (an enacted disguise).

The Meaning of the APA's Dealing With the Torture Scandal

After years of deception, and opposing strong and clear dissent from within its very ranks, the APA finds itself in a particularly awkward position. What does a professional organization which has lost its moral compass do when the news breaks? What does its reaction to the current controversy tell us about the APA’s organizational character?

Backing Away From Lovers' Leap

The heartfelt sense that we've met some long lost part of ourselves in that new friend with whom we so readily, easily, and fluidly fell into what seemed like the rare moment of intimacy within which we can share our "darkest" and "deepest" is irrelationship all dressed up to look, once again, like the cure to our disconnected state.

Friendship as a Moving Target

By keeping our need and desire for closeness with others diffuse, migratory and superficial we are able to play out irrelationship dynamics in larger social circles. We suspend—at least postpone indefinitely—our awareness of how we have secured ourselves from being realistically disappointed by people in our current lives.

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