Week 13 - How Relationships Build Vitality

May 23 – May 28, 2016 . . . . .


May 23 – May 28, 2016


Monday, May 23, 2016

Why Safety Is the Key to Alive Relationships

Sue Johnson, EdD tells you the two main components of vitality from an attachment perspective.
Running time: 11:26

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Six Verbs That Fuel Vitality

Esther Perel, MA, LMFT explains two critical factors that fuel a fully alive and engaged life. She’ll also share the six verbs that can help clients have first-hand experiences of aliveness.
Running time: 07:29

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

One Way to Maintain Vitality Over the Long Haul

Joan Borysenko, PhD shares her strategy for maintaining the spark of vitality over the long haul. She also gives a case study in which one client’s question to another led to a major positive change.
Running time: 08:24

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Four Ways to Reconnect with Vitality

Elisha Goldstein, PhD gets into four ways he helps clients reconnect with their vitality, including some strategies borrowed from improv comedy.
Running time: 12:19

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Critical Insights

Ron Siegel, PsyD and Kelly McGonigal, PhD highlight the key concepts in this week’s videos.
Running time: 23:22

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Focus on Application

Joan Borysenko, PhD, and Bill O’Hanlon, LMFT connect exercises and techniques with this week’s discussion so you can begin using these ideas right away with your clients.
Running time: 13:58

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Leave a Comment

26 Responses

  1. Thank you again! When Kelly McGonigal and Ron Siegel examined the role of shame in inhibiting self compassion,
    I found myself reviewing the words of fear and discouragement of people who are on probation after serving
    the incarceration part of their sentence for choosing to commit a crime. I hear myself examining with them
    how they are viewing themselves, how they can accept their forgiveness for their own harmful behaviors so
    they can gain wisdom and start anew and present themselves to employers, family members, church members,
    friends, and the general public who sometimes seem to want to condenm a person to forever being a label.
    I am grateful for these presentations and to the resources that I can further my research.

    Also each speaker presented valuable and usable insights and examples of how to apply them.

  2. I teach a lot of yoga and meditation seminars and have found that in recent years the whole teaching process is almost entirely relational. If I focus on the content of the program, everything falls apart. If I keep my attention on my relationship with the people in front of me, the material organizes itself without effort and it just flows to such a degree that both the audience and I are higher than a kite at the end. It is intense giving and receiving at the same time.

    Qi gong as Tango?!—yes!!

    Joan’s question is very close to asking a person about what is the mission statement for their life, what were they born for. It cuts through the superficialities pretty quickly. I find that often people (including me) have received that mission statement earlier in their life in a form that they did not recognize. And then they got lost in “the trance of adaptation.” Just asking the question breaks the trance.

  3. Listening to Ron and Kelly it was clear to me that both secure attachment and novelty are components of aliveness. It’s hard for a person to reach out for novelty without the tether of a secure attachment, internal or external. Kelly’s research insights were interesting. I got pulled out of deep depression in my twenties by getting into a group that did English Morris dancing. It was a crazy thing, but it worked on both counts, socially and as exercise.

    It didn’t surprise me at all that random acts of kindness was more effective than exposure treatments for social anxiety.

    Re: the value of curiosity, Len Jennings’ very interesting studies of master therapists found that one the characteristics they shared was being voracious learners. (Interestingly, not one of these master therapists had any advanced credentials beyond their professional degree.)

    Re: secure self-attachment, I have been training students in retreats recently that the quality of mindful awareness towards ourselves is like a loving mother watching her young child and wondering often “What the heck is that?!” but never changing her loving gaze even when left curious.

  4. Of note-What occurred in the group that Joan ran is a good example of the Coaching Process.In this case it entailed Solution Focused Therapy and Motivational Interviewing techniques that many are familiar with. This is the essence of my work-as a Life Coach. Using the example that Joan used we see:-she felt safe in the group and their appeared to be a sense of presence-in at least one of it’s members.
    > essentially first you need to establish a goal that is achievable. In this case the goal was that she want to leave her relationship- ( not feel stultified and (most likely was hidden it’s interfering with her ability to better deal with the cancer)
    >Why was she “stuck” in not being able to achieve this goal? It appears that she had a limiting belief that her financial situation was preventing movement-this seems reasonable but is it really?
    >There was a re-frame in the form of an open ended question-“How badly do you want to live?”
    >In a rather short time that question established a new belief and now motivation to overcome the old belief and move toward the goal and achieve it. In addition it gave her new energy,apparent joy and “vitality”.
    >It appears that at one level she was accountable to the group-in addition to her own sense of self.
    It is hoped and thought that this release from suffering and now vitality will help better control her cancer.

    In my experience, a large number of the presentations thus far have used this technique ( and its various tools ) to achieve an outcome or goal-being stuck, change, encouraging vitality.

  5. It is always so interesting, and thrilling to me to see how clients respond to the idea of becoming curious. When I propose their utilizing curiosity instead of, say, a predetermined assumption of how something will turn out, I inevitably see this wonderful light come across their face as they really stop to consider the idea. It’s like seeing the child in them coming alive, and being totally game to participate in this whole new notion!

  6. Just to share a personal story about this week’s discussions: For me, feeling alive is when I am successfully balancing challenging moments with calm, using my brains but also using my body, being with other, yet finding time for solitude…Like Joan Borysenko, I too struggle with saying “no” to projects. Since the beginning of the month have done 4 presentations across the state; I finished the end of the semester work (grading papers and presentations, submitting grades); at work a new software system rolled out for which I am the point person; my training is ramping up for the upcoming triathlon/Ironman season; I’m working on starting my own private practice; and there have been several social events I have attended….Needeless to say, I can feel a little overwhelmed. Like many people, when overwhelmed, my head gets in my way. The past few days have been one of those overwhelming times. My aliveness was thrown out of balance and the negative inner voice started getting a little louder and bit more persistent…..That is until this morning when there was a dance party in my house with me and the cat while getting ready for work. As Dr. Goldstein explained, using the body in a different way can change the mind. After a few minutes of dancing to modern hip hop, 70s disco, and singing along while playing air drums to rock, I was back in balance, feeling alive and competent again.

    1. Patricia, I love what you have shared here! Thank you so much for doing so! I, so related to your experiences, and although for me, the “challenges” to feeling alive have come over the last few months from the death of my daughter’s best friend…a second daughter to us, changes in family and best friends moving away, a heavy work schedule, and waiting and waiting for our grandson to be born (of course a fabulous thing, but not without the challenges it presents for changing everything in our schedules to be there for them for the first couple of weeks.) I so appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. You have inspired me to turn up the music, and dance!

  7. Listening to Elisha’s piece brings me back to the recommendation to clients that they engage their difficulties with a sense of wonder and curious interest. That’s one of the reasons for the daily diary of beauty, joy and wonder I do with clients. A joyful mind can en-joy even a difficult and painful moment. Loved the story of the executive art lover. My partner and I go to art museums like some boys go to baseball games.

  8. Very much appreciated the question Joan Borysenko asked when assessing our course of action: Does this bring me fully alive? I can see where this would be helpful to me personally in many ways. At the moment I think I am preparing to retire. At 66 it will be a little earlier than some others and I still love working with people. But my interest is much more in helping them move from personal to transpersonal intimacy, to borrow Bill O’Hanlon’s term. I love being a therapist, but somehow I feel done with helping people have a well functioning ego. So I am thinking about remaking my work as a meditation coach and work from the side of my decades as a yoga practitioner and teacher-trainer.

  9. Sue Johnson’s remarks about emotional balance echo the discussion by Kelly last week of the emotional “sweet spot.” I love what she had to say about dancing. One sex therapist I know says that dancing is a step in exploring relationships with other people, level of interaction to test out what is possible in a safe physical interaction. And few dances do this better than Tango! Right–let the dance never become rote!! I love the way that interpersonal resonance theory that lays the foundation for the formation of compassion.

    And what she had to say about sexuality I go over with clients frequently, especially working with male clients to shift their sexuality from a focus on excitement sex to a focus on attachment sex and the spiritual dimensions of it.

  10. I will take the next few days to process my experience listening to today’s theme. Aliveness as framed today appears closer to pleasant emotions… I found myself thinking: how about the whole range of human emotions? and how about when we need to be aware of unpleasant emotions in order to make a change? or how about the “suffering with” necessary in both compassion and self-compassion. As I write this I wonder if the opposite of aliveness in not exactly being stuck but rather being numb unable to connect and respond to the internal and external world as it is in the moment.
    Thank you so much for sparking these thoughts!

    Warm regards to all.

  11. Sue Johnson illuminates well the difference of how people inhabit there own skin in the world based on their level of secure attachment.
    I have been interested to watch the way one of my clients, who has a history of abuse, alcoholism and bulimia, has been re-inhabiting her world because, as she reports of not being judged in therapy, of being fulling accepted for whom she is. She is just beginning to tune into her emotional states and it is having a domino affect in her relationship with her husband. It is amazing the difference a safe holding environment can make in people’s lives.

  12. Thank you Elisha,
    I have used the words that follow with individuals, groups, in a sermon and with myself.

    Thank you Elisha,

    I am just past 70 years of age and have now noted that the “spirit of life” changes over time.As has been noted, it tends to become softer with more self care when possible,to periods of anger, frustration, deep sadness,guilt and illness. I personally do not seek the the type of”highs” that I did when younger and younger feels like yesterday.I am not saying that I am old and approaching the end of days but my awareness of what to me is important and “vital” has.There seems to be more of a conservation of my energy. I do spend it at times with great joy. Grand children are a source of great wonder and joy. They are young presently and fill my heart with a warmth and intensity that I have not known before.

    Yesterday I had a very hurtful argument with my wife. So much so that I for the first time I slept in another room. I had great pain.

    These words were helpful. I am sure that many of you have heard them in various forms before:

    “When we give ourselves compassion,holding our disappointment in kind,connected, in mindful awareness, the door opens again. When we soothe and comfort ourselves, we provide ourselves with a sense of safety,giving us the courage to finally peek out from the rock we’ve been hiding under and see what is outside. More often than not, things aren’t as bad as we feared, and we start noticing things about ourselves and our lives that are actually pretty good.”–Kristin Neff–from the book “Self- Compassion” p. 250.

    In the past I have employed the topic of self-compassion, when working with clients, groups, and have given a sermon on this topic. This,for me, is the path for moving from the depth of great sorrow to a feeling that I can begin to mend the major relationship in my life. Wish me good will.

    I am in my

  13. It seems that Sue is talking about “noticing” one own’s experience and feeling safe with one oneself while also “noticing” and feeling safe another. Daniel Siegel writes about this also …. using somewhat different language. I am not sure how others are approaching this in sessions with couples. I am finding that sometimes just inviting couples to “notice” is a big first step.