TEDxSoleburySchool Talk: Mining the Gold in Conflicted Relationships An insidious belief in modern American culture about committed love relationships is that repeated conflict is a waving flag signaling that the partnership is fatally flawed and should come to an end. For the first years of my relationship counseling practice, I thought the same thing! Couples would come to me and our sessions were like ping pong matches of anger over differing points of view, differing opinions, differing preferences. If we managed to solve a problem, the next week would bring a new problem. Conflict was endless. I felt like a fraud and my couples felt hopeless. Then in 1989, I watched Oprah do a two-part interview with Dr. Harville Hendrix, PhD., a psychologist and theologian who gave me a radical new view of the role of conflict in a committed relationship. A central nugget in his relationship theory and therapy is that conflict is growth trying to happen. There is gold under all the chaos and noise, we just need to learn how to unearth it.
Our partner can be our very best teacher. If we can relax our defenses and our need to be "right”, we can allow ourselves to learn and to expand from our partner, thus helping us continue the journey of growing up. Helping couples find a new way to talk and to listen to each other, helping them discover how their past influences their present, and helping them uncover the strategies they use to protect their tender hearts, begins to lead partners’ to a new way to love, which involves learning a new way to understand conflict.
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About Maya Maya Kollman is a certified Master Trainer in Imago Relationship Therapy, developed by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt. She is also trained and certified as a workshop presenter for Getting the Love You Want and Keeping the Love You Find workshops and as a clinical instructor to train therapists worldwide in all levels of Imago Relationship Therapy. A former professor at Rutgers University, Maya currently maintains a private practice in New Jersey. Her approach helps clients develop a vision of their best selves so they can live more fully and more consciously in their life, their relationships, and their work.
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