In this episode, Dr. Stan Tatkin and I discuss the importance of PRACTICING relationship skills with your partner so that you can most effectively improve the health and satisfaction of your relationship. Research has proven that it is the practice of skills, even more than the discussion of issues, that helps couples communicate better, stay more connected, and have more intimacy. Practice helps you work through conflict more easily, even when dealing with emotionally-charged issues, and makes you better at those scenarios that always seem to get you in trouble.
Relationship behaviors are mostly automatic. We may think we can choose our actions and reactions, but the speed of relationship interactions is so fast that we use ‘procedural memory’ when we interact, much like how a piano player plays a piece using trained physical memory. The trick in relationship improvement is to remap these automatic circuits so that we don’t have to think about being better–we just are. Listen to Dr. Stan Tatkin and John Howard discuss how you can employ this powerful principle in your own relationship!
Inappropriate automatic actions are responsible for much of the conflict we experience in relationships–saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, using the wrong tone of voice, making ugly faces at our partner, etc. So the question becomes, how can you control your automatic responses? The neuroscience of relationships tells us that just like in sports, music or language learning, the answer is practice, practice, practice!
Dr. Stan Tatkin is the author of Wired for Love and We Do, and is widely regarded as one of the top couples theorists and therapists in the world. He has been instrumental in bringing neuroscience and regulation theory into couples therapy. He has a clinical practice in Calabasas, CA where he has worked with couples for the past 15 years. He is an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine. He is the former president of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and was voted Marriage and Family Educator of the Year by that organization.
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“Most everything we do is automatic and reflexive and informed by our memory. So if we don’t practice things, then we’re just going to just do what we do automatically and we may get in trouble for that.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin
- What it means to practice relationship skills and why it’s important
- How to not take things personally
- How sports training is similar to relationship training
- Why video feedback is essential to relationship skill practice
- Planning and preparation for relationship success
- How to ensure that the skills you’ve practiced are available even when you are under pressure
- Why personal growth doesn’t necessarily lead to relational growth
“A lot of relationship behaviors are not choice driven, even though we have a tendency to see them that way.” – John Howard
- Get a copy of Wired For Love by Stan Tatkin
- Read We Do by Stan Tatkin
- Learn more about The PACT Institute
- Connect with Dr. Stan Tatkin:
“The human primate is wonderful: perfectly imperfect, but makes a whole lot of mistakes when it comes to communication, memory, and perception; things are hardly ever what they seem.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin