The Relationship Therapist

Helping individuals and couples improve relationships by working with each person's unique strengths, goals, personality style, and social context.

Helping individuals and couples improve relationships by working with each person's unique strengths, goals, personality style, and social context.

Know each other fully. . . .

Expose all of who you are to your partner and ask the same of them. It’s scary, but it’s the only way to know for sure if you’re with the right person. You both want to be sure that you can accept each other fully.

Plus, all the weird parts of you will likely be exactly what they love most.👂😜

Most of the couples I work with identify their problems as communication issues. Here are some reasons why.

Communication is harder than we think. We can never assume our partner understands exactly what we’re trying to say (or that we are truly understanding their meaning).

Especially when dealing with serious topics, it’s worth slowing down and putting in the effort to be extra clear.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

The strength of your relationship depends on how well you follow your agreements as a couple, how fair you are, and how well you take care of each other. It has nothing to do with how many vacations or date night photos show up on social media.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

Learning how to do this for your partner can make a world of difference in your relationship. – Inga G. Gentile, MFT

Dr. Stan Tatkin

One of the most important parts of being in a relationship is learning how to repair your partner when you’ve hurt them. Jason Polk does an excellent job of explaining how to do that.

"Repair is the place where you reconnect as lovers, or at least as partners. In order to repair and reconnect, we have to give something for our partner to connect to. And what we can’t connect to is anger, blame, or self-pity. So, we need to pause and become aware of what’s underneath this protective armor and share that."

So true. Sometimes couples get so caught up in being parents that they forget that their own couple relationship is one of the best teachers/role models for their children.

When you commit to a secure-functioning relationship, it not only benefits you as a couple, but everyone around you. It's especially beneficial for children to have a relationship based on fairness and justice modeled for them.

Experts Say Every Single Relationship Can Last If It Has These 9 Characteristics

These 9 characteristics mark a great relationship. It can sometimes feel like more relationships are destined to fail than succeed. But according to experts, that's not necessarily true. Every single relationship can last if it has a few key characteristics. "Long-lasting healthy relationships are…

Dr. Stan Tatkin

Secure-functioning relationships are two-person systems. You and your partner are equal partners. The better you get at collaborating, the more trust will develop in your relationship.

Collaboration doesn’t mean that you do everything jointly. It means coming to an agreement about what types of decisions you need to make together.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

Have you read my new book, We Do? It's a comprehensive guide to creating the foundation for a loving and lasting union. If you enjoy the advice I give on here, you’ll get a lot out of this book.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

Love this message.

You can be in a secure-functioning relationship, no matter who you are or what you've gone through.

The Most Intimate Spaces of All New Yorkers at home in their bedrooms.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

Occasionally, try making love with the lights on. See if you can maintain eye contact. You don’t have to do this all the time, but see if it’s possible.

What happens when you maintain eye contact? Is it hard to think? It should be. You’re disconnecting the parts of the brain that chatter, predict, overthink, and cause self-consciousness. These brain areas use a lot of resources. Turn them off and be fully present.

Planning and predicting will only take you out of the present moment. Not good for when you want to be in flow.

Arguments aren't for winning.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

No matter how close you are, no matter how much you know each other, you cannot expect to be on the same page all the time.

Safety and security -- the essence of a good relationship.

Secure-functioning couples don’t walk on eggshells with each other. If either of you believe the relationship can’t withstand your true selves, then by your own admission, it’s true.

Expose all of who you are to your partner and ask the same of them. If either of you is uncomfortable with the other person’s true self, it’s best you examine the viability of the relationship now.

Hiding from your partner is never a solution.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

I had a great conversation on Gwyneth Paltrow's goop podcast about how radical loyalty can pay out dividends in a relationship. 💗

Trying to recover from betrayal or just wanting to improve your relationship? Find time to play together!

Amazing but true!

Come PLAY!

5 Silly Fights You’ve Probably Had With Your Partner

silly fights!! In a long-term relationship? We'll bet you've probably had one of these silly fights before—read more about 'em and learn how to avoid these minor disagreements.

John Gottman

John Gottman, famous and wise relationship researcher and expert, is featured in this podcast. Listen! John Gottman is an American psychological researcher, an award-winning speaker, author, a professor emeritus in psychology and co-founder of the Gottman Institute. John sits down with the Armchair Expert to discuss his research on thin slicing and predicting marital success. He notes how having a da

Dr. Stan Tatkin

You’re on "drugs" when you first meet. It’s nature’s way of making sure you reproduce, and nature only cares about doing that in the short term.

All of those feelings of obsession and lust will change once you get to know your partner better.

This is not to say that you cannot have feelings of exciting love in a long term relationship, though.

The more you pay attention to your partner, maintain eye contact, embrace, and seek out novelty together, the more exciting love will be a part of your relationship.

Eye contact keeps people safe!

Our impulse might be to look away, but the more you check in with your partner’s eyes, the less likely you’ll be to have your argument go off the rails. Check in to see if your partner’s face to see how you’re affecting them. Relieve them as soon as you see that you’ve hurt them.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

We like to think that we’re logical, but when we get upset, all logic and reasoning flies out the window.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

"I'm sorry," often isn't enough to truly relieve our partners when we've hurt them. Next time you do something wrong, get specific when you apologize.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

A secure-functioning relationship is a survival unit. No matter what life throws at you, your partner will be there to protect and heal you, as you will be there for them. That's a pretty wonderful thing to celebrate. 💕 Happy Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day


Once again, Dr. Stan give you outstanding advice!

Keep your fights short. Get to the point and aim for a win-win solution. If you don’t get there within 15 minutes, agree to a pause and pick it up another time.

When we’re under stress, we lose resources to think, process, and wait before reacting.

The longer you let a fight go on, the more likely these problems will snowball.

So important. Your sex life is yours and your partner's. Stop comparing! Make each other happy, whatever that means to you both.

Stop judging your sex life according to what you see in the media or hear from friends.

Judge your sex life according to what you and your partner want. Are you meeting each other's needs? Do you have similar libidos? Do you enjoy sex with each other?

It doesn't matter if it feels like other people are having more or "better" sex than you. It's not a competition. Plus, your friends might not be telling the truth. 😏

Your Brain Works Against You When You Argue With Your Significant Other. Here’s How to Fix That

Your brain on fighting—excellent article in Time magazine. According to a therapist who researches arguments

Dr. Stan Tatkin

I believe relationships do best when they come first, but I understand your priority might be your kids, your career, or something else. If that’s the case, make sure you’re clear with your partner and you both agree on that top priority. Otherwise, there will be trouble, because that priority will dictate all future decisions you and your partner make.

Imago Relationships

Imago Relationships


Dr. Stan Tatkin

Do you love your partner for all of who they are?

There is no perfect partner. I’m not saying you have to see your partner as perfect. They will have flaws. They will annoy you. They will make you angry. You’ll do the same for them.

Secure-functioning couples accept each other’s flaws as a part of the package, rather than trying to change each other.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

Have you ever had your partner say, “I don’t think you love me,” in the middle of a fight?

Your impulse might be to say, “You know I love you” or “I’ve told you I love you.”

Don't. Instead, look directly in their eyes and say very clearly, “I love you very much.”

If anything comes up to threaten the safety and security of your relationship, take it off the table as rapidly as you can.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

Or Queen and Queen. Or King and King... You are equals at the top of a hierarchy. Your needs as a couple come first, then come the needs of others in your lives. When you treat your relationship this way, you have a place from which to govern your life together.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

We all make personal resolutions on New Years; to lose weight, to pickup a skill, to improve some area of our lives.

But what about as a couple? Have you had a conversation with your partner about how you can strengthen your relationship in the new year?

Choose a Win-Win Resolution With Your Partner By Lindsey Walker, LMFT PACT Level II practitioner Seattle, WA You’re lying in bed, curled to one side, your blankets pulled up tight and cozy. It’s cool and quiet, and the ni…

Dr. Stan Tatkin

While the holidays can be wonderful, they also mean added stress and arguments. You might find yourself in between your partner and family. Your impulse might be to not take sides as a way to keep everyone happy, but in reality, that won’t help anyone.

Find a way to take your partner’s side. That doesn’t mean you have to drop your family. It just means, that your partner’s interests come first. If they don’t, you will suffer too.

Love Is Not a Permanent State of Enthusiasm: An Interview with Esther Perel

Love is not a permanent state of enthusiasm. Wisdom from Esther Perel. From the New Yorker Festival, the couples therapist and podcast host discusses infidelity, apologies, and the problem with wedding vows these days.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

Thirds are other people, things, or activities that can draw one person’s attention at the cost of a relationship.

Secure-functioning couples put their relationship above everything else. That doesn’t mean they don’t have lives outside of their relationship, but they don’t allow “thirds” from taking priority over their relationship.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

Look at your partner realistically, not idealistically. You both are perfectly imperfect. As a partner in a secure-functioning relationship, you are vowing to do things for your partner that you couldn’t be paid to do for anyone else.

Their pain is yours to soothe. Their fears are yours to assuage. They are your burden to bear… and love. 😘

Dr. Stan Tatkin

Anyone can seem low-maintenance at a distance. All of us, though, are unpredictable, needy, and sensitive. The more you get to know and invest in a person, the more you'll see their high-maintenance side.

When you’re dating, let go of the urge to find that perfect “chill” partner. They don’t exist.

Dr. Stan Tatkin

The old wisdom that just being in a relationship - ANY relationship - will make you healthier and live longer is not true. A relationship can improve your health, but only when it’s secure. If it’s not, it will be detrimental to your health.

Michelle Obama: Barack And I Went To Marriage Therapy In her new book, the former first lady talks marriage counseling — and disputes the idea that she and Barack Obama are "relationship goals."

Everybody hug now!

The average length of a hug between two people is 3 seconds. But the researchers have discovered something fantastic. When a hug lasts 20 seconds, there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. The reason is that a sincere embrace produces a hormone called "oxytocin", also known as the love hormone. This substance has many benefits in our physical and mental health, helps us, among other things, to relax, to feel safe and calm our fears and anxiety. This wonderful tranquilizer is offered free of charge every time we have a person in our arms, who cradled a child, who cherish a dog or a cat, that we are dancing with our partner, the closer we get to someone or simply hold the Shoulders of a friend.

A famous quote by psychotherapist Virginia Satir goes, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Whether those exact numbers have been scientifically proven remains to be seen, but there is a great deal of scientific evidence related to the importance of hugs and physical contact. Here are some reasons why we should hug::


Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain’s emotional centre, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress, and even making mammals monogamous. It is the hormone responsible for us all being here today. You see this little gem is released during childbirth, making our mothers forget about all of the excruciating pain they endured expelling us from their bodies and making them want to still love and spend time with us. New research from the University of California suggests that it has a similarly civilising effect on human males, making them more affectionate and better at forming relationships and social bonding. And it dramatically increased the libido and sexual performance of test subjects. When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease.


Connections are fostered when people take the time to appreciate and acknowledge one another. A hug is one of the easiest ways to show appreciation and acknowledgement of another person. The world is a busy, hustle-bustle place and we’re constantly rushing to the next task. By slowing down and taking a moment to offer sincere hugs throughout the day, we’re benefiting ourselves, others, and cultivating better patience within ourselves.


Affection also has a direct response on the reduction of stress which prevents many diseases. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine says it has carried out more than 100 studies into touch and found evidence of significant effects, including faster growth in premature babies, reduced pain, decreased autoimmune disease symptoms, lowered glucose levels in children with diabetes, and improved immune systems in people with cancer.


Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.


Almost 70 percent of communication is nonverbal. The interpretation of body language can be based on a single gesture and hugging is an excellent method of expressing yourself nonverbally to another human being or animal. Not only can they feel the love and care in your embrace, but they can actually be receptive enough to pay it forward to others based on your initiative alone.


Hugging boosts self-esteem, especially in children. The tactile sense is all-important in infants. A baby recognizes its parents initially by touch. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.


Everything everyone does involves protecting and triggering dopamine flow. Low dopamine levels play a role in the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson’s as well as mood disorders such as depression. Dopamine is responsible for giving us that feel-good feeling, and it’s also responsible for motivation! Hugs stimulate brains to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Dopamine sensors are the areas that many stimulating drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine target. The presence of a certain kinds of dopamine receptors are also associated with sensation-seeking.


Reaching out and hugging releases endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels and the released endorphins and serotonin cause pleasure and negate pain and sadness and decrease the chances of getting heart problems, helps fight excess weight and prolongs life. Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels. Hugging for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.


Hugs balance out the nervous system. The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centres called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.
Embrace, embrace with your heart.~~

art: Dorina Costras

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