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Couples Seeking Solutions Blog

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Dr. Eva's Mission

Posted on December 31, 2016 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (197)
Dr. Eva's Mission

Why does my practice exist: My mission is to help guide couples towards emotional attunement and repair;  to help them heal, reconnect, and enhance their overall physical and emotional intimacy. My goal with every client is to normalize the human experience and to inspire increased personal and relational awareness. My vision is to be a change agent for a more emotionally aware and vulnerable community.
 
My cause: Many people struggle with emotional vulnerability and our relationships and society are suffering because of it. It blocks the human experience from being truly normalized in our communities and replaces it with superficial connections within ourselves and others, stacking the "perfect picture" expectation as our societal goal rather than authenticity.


This is counterproductive to human connection and love, both personally and relationally. There is a trend towards authenticity on the horizon and that agenda is very important to me. Increased emotional awareness, vulnerability, authenticity, and human normalization can serve as a tipping point towards healing and connection within ourselves and our relationships.

Like with anything, there are pros and cons to vulnerability and emotional safety is paramount, but in general its a movement towards more personal authenticity within our relationships and in our beloved communities.

Why: Building awareness and enhancing both personal and relational love as well as authenticity is my passion!



Join the movement towards a more authentic, vulnerable, and emotionally aware community!


Self Love Boundaries

Posted on July 31, 2016 at 12:31 AM Comments comments (64)
"Self Love Boundaries"

We (human beings) live in a world where we spend most of our lives trying to get approval or acceptance from others. We are social beings, so it's normal. But many of us don't think about the relationship we have with ourselves; with our own self approval or what I like to call, "self love boundaries!"

We bend over backwards, often times sacrificing our boundaries and peace of mind to get someone to like us, to make someone proud, and often times we do it to feel needed or loved. This happens personally with our spouses, kids, extended family and friends, as well as professionally. 

Many of my clients report emotional burn out in search of approval and most times don't really get the response they desire. The unfortunate part is that being a "yes gal or guy" is it not only causes emotional burnout it can also cause resentment over long periods of time. The reason for this is if your not respecting your "self love boundaries," you most likely will not be respected and often times feel taken for granted. 

Feeling accepted or approved of has many faces; admiration, dependablity, feeling good enough, love etc. It can mean so many different things.

An important question to ask yourself is: What does it mean to you?

If your thinking, "I always say YES despite myself" than read on. 

Learning how to answer the question "if I say yes in the name of being accepted or approved of, what will I be sacrificing for myself?" 
Will you be sacrificing your life energy, peace of mind, self care, your boundaries ...? Or, all of the above and more?

Often times when my clients start practicing "self love boundaries" things start to turn around for them. They start to feel more life energy and they notice a new found respect level from those they are in relationship with; as they no longer feel taken for granted or under appreciated. What they realize is that not having their own self love boundaries says more about themselves than those they wanted to get approval from. Once they establish "self love boundaries" they report feeling more at peace, less self doubt, and more self assured.

Next time your about to sacrifice your "self love boundaries" for the sake of approval and or acceptance in whatever form it takes for you, be mindful of the question "what will I be giving up or sacrificing if I say yes?" If the answer is burnout, frustration, or resentment, than don't do it. I always suggest that my clients increase their vulnerability with loved ones, to let their families learn of their feelings and why it's important for them to have "self love boundaries." Most of the time, if the relationship is not toxic, your friends, family, and colleagues will understand and can even learn from you on how to set boundaries in their lives. 

If you think you can say yes without sacrificing yourself, than go for it! Practice finding a balance and stay mindful of your "self love boundaries" and get busy putting them into action. You will feel so much better and most likely have flourishing personal and professional relationships without the onset of emotional burnout. Balance is possible!



  

5 Valentines Tips That Are Free and Fun

Posted on February 2, 2015 at 1:26 PM Comments comments (94)
5 Valentines Tips That Are Free and Fun

As we say goodbye to January, the first month of 2015, I find myself reflecting on the year past and the year that awaits. We are about to embark on the month of February, the Hallmark month of love for all the Valentines lovers, and I'm thinking some love tips would be fun to kick start the 2nd month of the new year off right!

5 Tips for This Valentines that are sure to make your lover "feel" loved and you don't have to spend a dime! As a couples specialist, I hear many couples concerned about spending money of Valentines day, but who says you need to spend money to be romantic ❤!

5 Valentines Tips That Are Free and Fun
1. Write a Love Letter. That's right, a love letter! The old art of romantic intent works wonders for both men and women. Write what you love about him or her, special memories you shared together, and your hopes to create more memories. You can even spice it up by adding something sexy to increase anticipation of intimacy or love making. Write from the heart and you'll steal the show!

2. If you can, re-enact the first way you told your lover how much you loved them or maybe your first kiss. Create the moment and reminisce together! Be in the moment. You can even create a picnic at your favorite outside spot to make it truly memorable. If you want to spend a little, some cheese and wine, and your good to go!

3. Plan a date night in, where you set up a romantic evening for yours truly. Some lit candles, homemade chocolate strawberries, some music you know your partner will enjoy and your golden!

4. Starting at the beginning of Valentines week, on Monday, send your partner off to work each day with a love note that tells them something you love about them each day. By Saturday Feb. 14, the love you adored them with all week will be twinkling in their eyes! Try it out and get creative!

5. Relaxation is so important, especially these days when stress seems to be at an all time high. Put your hands to work and relax yours truly with a massage. Some good oil, candles, music, and maybe even a hot bath with aromatherapy in the air, for after the massage. Relax!

Start planning your Valentines and make it a great one!! A
nd remember, Valentines day, is really everyday!

Communication Tips for Couples

Posted on February 2, 2015 at 12:43 PM Comments comments (73)
Communication Tips

As my practice developed, the issue of communicating better was a hot topic, however I have come to realize a major distinction. The distinction is that couples can communicate quite well, however many had trouble communicating one thing in specific, their emotions.

I make this distinction because its important to point out how difficult it can be for all of us, even great communicators, to discuss our vulnerabilities and emotions. My integrated approach to working with couples is emotion focused for this reason. I help them to make minor emotional refinements in the ways they interact, that ultimately make a big difference long term.

Many of my couples are amazed at how easy these communication adjustments are and the impact it makes on their level of intimacy. Couples often present with gridlock issues and defensiveness, which closes off their ability to attune and really listen to their partners, most often because they don't feel heard either.

Active listening and learning how to complain without blaming is a two step process that really helps.

Active listening is the process of repeating back exactly what your partner says. Its a simple, yet advanced way of communicating because it impacts so much of the couples ability to feel heard, validated, and secure. Active listening promotes a reduction in your partners anxious and emotional state immediately.

Basically, instead of finding solutions or giving advice, the new solution is to actively listen and self soothe your partner. Solutions don't often work with couples and both get stuck in trying to manage the others emotional state because they don't want them to be upset, naturally.

However solutions other than actively listening promotes more anxiousness. Many of my couples often say "I'm not looking for advice or solutions, I'm looking for understanding - not agreement from my partner."

So try active listening out and you'll notice the difference.  

The other tip, which is complaining without blaming, actually prohibits attacking or criticism.
Starting off with your feelings rather than pointing the finger or using the word "you always or you never" is best.
 
For example you could start with this formula:
I feel ------ when you --- and it would make a difference if ------- (tell your partner what you want here, not what you don't want). Fill in the blanks.

This can get more complicated depending on the sensitivity of the topic, which is why many couples come in to see me at the practice, as the emotional content is difficult at times.

The framework for this work is set up with the goal of understanding each other. Its not about agreeing or disagreeing or right and wrong. For this work to really make a difference both partners understand that there are always two realties or two truths in each partnership and that their feelings are based on their individual perspectives.

Having tolerance for difference is an important part of this process, however, most importantly its about setting the intention to listen differently while managing defensiveness. In this process you are taking the word "should" out of your vocabulary, and instead actively listening, even if you don't agree. Couples stay married because they try to understand their partners, even when they are not seeing eye to eye.


Hope these tips is helpful! T

Tips by Dr. John Gottman's research on happily married couples.
For more information on tips to help your relationship go to www.couplesseekingsolutions.com or call anytime for consultation.

"Stop Trying to Fix Yourself, Your Not Broken"

Posted on February 2, 2015 at 12:27 PM Comments comments (72)
"Stop trying to fix yourself, your not broken!"

Learning how to love yourself is difficult for many. I'm not talking about the "I think I'm hot" kind of loving yourself. I'm talking about learning how to love yourself, despite your flaws, kind of love.

Many struggle with this and believe they can be #Perfect. I find that is such a tall order to fill, mostly because its impossible. I mean, who's perfect?

Let me be clear, there's nothing wrong with "striving for perfection," but its when it defines your ability to feel or be "good enough" that perfection ideals can get in the way.

Day after day, we strive as a culture for this impossible perfection; loving ourselves with #conditions, self #criticism, and sometimes self #hate.This cycle creates stress and often times intense anxiety!

I've witnessed this narrative over and over again in my practice. I'm sure you heard of the saying "loving yourself is an inside job" and as a couples specialist, I couldn't agree more.

I see how often the desire to be perfect gets in the way for couples, as the expectations of perfection are just too high. When one or both partners believe or try to attain perfection, they almost always are disappointed with themselves or their partners. criticism can get in the way for these couples.
Whether they are striving to be the perfect: "good wife," the "perfect provider," the "perfect body," the "perfect lover"... The list of comparisons go on and little have to do with love. It has more to do with approval, which is one way we get love, but the depth is surface.

Without awareness of how ideals of "perfection" affect your relationship with yourself or your loved one, perfection can become the blocker of true unconditional regard. It will affect both of you. The depth of your love is blocked with these ideals of perfection.

Let it go. Be you. You are divine. And so is your partner.

Many people, including myself, at some point in our lives go through this transition of not feeling "good enough" to moving towards a more "unconditional love" with yourself and others.

Making this shift allows for the growth and compassion needed to unconditionally love and work with others more fluidly. Many notice they have more flexibility in their interactions with everyone. 


The way we love ourselves is how we love others!
Work On It.
Its a daily practice.

Testimonial From a Family

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 12:59 PM Comments comments (54)
Recently, I have been working with a wonderful family and their beautiful children.

Here is one of the most touching (anonymous) testimonials I have yet to receive:

My daughter (who is 11 years of age) was so happy and light after her first session with you.You could almost see her skip! She already put together a little backpack with art supplies for next weeks session. Too cute! You are amazing, Eva! You have done wonders for our family and helped restore us in a ways in which would have taken us years, if ever. Thank you!"

It is testimonials, like the one above, that ignite my passion for helping my clients get to a better place. It was an honor working with this family, like it is working with all of my clients. In this career, you get a sense of human struggle and compassion that goes beyond words and touches me at my soul, daily.


My hopes are that this will provide you (the reader) with some comfort when deciding if therapy is right for your family.

Eva Brown M.S.

Couples Intensives

Posted on February 15, 2014 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (55)
Couples intensives are repair retreats that are individually tailored to fit your specific relationships needs. Typically, you can expect to spend 3 to 9 hours over a 3 day period in our beautiful Fort Lauderdale office, usually over the weekend. Most couples come in thinking they will try it out for the first 3 hours and then they end up staying for the full 9 hour program. Couples that attend say they feel their relationship has had a well needed spring cleaning, one that sets the foundation for improved communication and an overall deepened understanding of themselves and their partners. If you are on the brink of giving up your relationship, but still have hope that it could work out, a couples intensive is for you. Hope is an important ingredient for therapeutic success because hope indicates that you have at least one foot still in the relationship. A couples intensive can also assist couples in figuring out if they should stay together, but in a more clear and amicable way.  

Couples intensives are the preferred approach for couples that are experiencing moderate to severe relationship discomfort. Most couples that come experience some relief within the first three hours, as talking to a professional allows both partners to feel heard, validated, and understood. It's important, before attending a couples intensives, to think about the things you'd like to see improved in your relationship.  

Ask yourself, if therapy were to be effective for us, what would be different? 
 
The answer to that question is important for many reasons. More importantly, that answer indicates when therapy has worked for you and that is important to me. I have a collaborative, solution focused, and frank approach to therapy. I find that couples prefer a "no holds barred" approach and I think that all of my couples would agree that I fit that style. Providing a frank, deeply empathetic, open and honest relationship with my couples is what I believe makes a difference in the work I do with the couples that seek out my services. If you would like to learn more about our couples intensives, feel free to call me directly. 

Sincerely, 
Eva Brown M.S. 
Owner of Couples Seeking Solutions and Couples Retreats

Couples Therapy For One

Posted on November 6, 2013 at 1:13 PM Comments comments (83)
Many couples that attend couples therapy do not always come with their partners. Couples therapy can be done with just one partner, however the maximum benefit is a combination of both individual and couples therapy for both partners. In my work, I find that the relationship a client has with themselves often impacts the relationship they have with their partners. Think about when your unhappy, stressed, or overwhelmed, often times it will affect your partner, right? Personal insecurities, fears, and expectations that are not negotiated clearly enough can get in the way of a relationship staying on track. I find personal self care and growth goes a long way in determining whether or not a couple will grow together or grow apart. Therefore, couples therapy for one is part of couples therapy and will allow for maximum benefits in the success of your overall relationship. When looking for a therapist that fits for you, consider both individual and couples therapy as part of the treatment plan. I think you will find it to be an all encompassing therapeutic experience. My couples do!
 
Eva Brown M.S.
 
 

What Couples Therapy Is Not

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 5:52 PM Comments comments (59)
Couples Therapy is not "necessarily" about the issues you are having, but rather about what changes you'd like to make in order to ensure that your relationship is going in the direction you both prefer.
 
Couples Therapy is not about what you "don't want," but rather what you "do want."
 
Couples Therapy is not about who's "right" and who is "wrong," it is about respect for differences, awareness, and growth.
 
Couples Therapy is not about what you think is wrong with your partner and or fixing your partner, but how you both can become better together, using your strengths as a means to maintain a change that sustains a lifetime.
 
Couples Therapy is not about criticizing, defensiveness, stone walling, or contempt, it is about minimizing those interactions to the best of your ability, gaining awareness together, and improving your communication.
 
Couples Therapy "is" about you, your partner, your experiences with life, your unique perspectives, your patterns of interaction, your strengths individually and as a couple, and your ability to reflect...to become more aware of your relational dynamics and your part in it.
 
Couples Therapy is about connection, vulnerability, and the desired changes you wish to make in your lives.
 
Life can be stressful. The daily stressors of making a living, managing the relationships in your life, and staying in alignment with yourself can be challenging and often takes a toll on your relationships ability to sustain itself over long periods of time. Monogamy truly is a work in progress that needs to be tended carefully, like a gardener tends to their flowers.  
 
Inner calmness also known as peace of mind,  is possible, however it is a daily practice.  It's never surprising to me that couples often experience frustration, lack of desire, and overall exhaustion at times, given that life certainly has the ability to get the best of us at times.
 
However, making the choice to go to couples therapy is exactly what is necessary to ensure a lifetime of love, happiness, and joy when things are not working out as planned. Painfully, couples that are having difficulty often wait to long before coming to couples therapy, when all they need is a few sessions to help put things back into alignment with their relationship goals and preferences.  
 
Your relationship does not need to be on the brink of dissolution in order to enjoy a therapeutic couples session together. If you or any of your friends or family could use a few sessions, I offer Couples Booster Sessions for those couples who are experiencing mild to medium issues and just want a "relationship spring cleaning."  For those couples experiencing medium to severe relationship discomfort, I offer Couples Intensives and Private Couples Retreats.
 
I am a brief therapist, so typically my clients feel relieved after about 3 or 4 sessions. Usually it takes about 1 to 3 months, of attending therapy once a week, so it is not a long term investment of time or finances in order to get what you deserve out of your relationship.
 
Couples Therapy is "SMART!"

Time to Unplugg

Posted on June 3, 2013 at 3:59 PM Comments comments (78)
It's Time to Unplug" 
 
 I find that stress is getting the best of couples these days, well certainly with the couples I speak with on a weekly basis.
 
With all of the new technology, some very special inventors have created to make our lives easier, it seems that there is also a con to the whole technological era.
 
 People, every where you go, are plugged into their phones, computers, car computers etc. and have become quite caught up in social networking online (which is fantastic for marketing and keeping in touch with friends and relatives), however, people are finding very little time for "quality time" or "down time" or "some good ol' R n R" or "fill you up time" without the phones/computers distracting them.  
 
It's so important to take time to recover daily from life stressors. Finding a healthy outlet to make "down time" a priority is so important to the building of a healthy relationship/marriage. Think about it! When you are feeling good, healthy, or confident about something in your life, you tend to bring happiness back to your partner when you arrive home. Outlets can be swimming, gym, taking a walk, meditation, getting nails done, spa time, massage etc. Whatever it is for you, do it! You will see the benefits play out in your job/business, relationships, parenting style, intimacy etc. The better you feel about yourself, the more recovery you "GIFT" to yourself, the more functional your relationship will be.  
 
Sometimes taking a "vacation away" from technology for a few hours a day does the intimacy life good. Think about it...whens the last time you truly enjoyed yourself? Maybe it was outdoors somewhere, in your pool, at the gym, spin or yoga class, or just sitting in silence, a walk in the woods etc. Sometimes Unplugging daily is just the right touch to bring some "relaxation" into your day. Some of you may even have to turn your cell phones off for an hour or two in order not to have interruptions. : )
 
When you do take that time away, to de-stress with your loved one, try this following out.
 
The Key to Intimacy is Relaxation:
 Add a little spice to your intimacy with a Salt Glow Scrub on the back and neck. You may choose to do a full body massage. The nice thing about this is that the Salt Glow Scrub actually does the work for you, so it's not a deep tissue massage, just a gentle gliding of the hands.  The scrub exfoliates the body and relaxes your partner, making them feel refreshed and renewed for the day. You can even do it outside by your pool if you have some privacy. There's nothing wrong with a little skinny dipping afterwards to set the playful mood for you and your partner. The idea is to unplug, relax each other through massage, and let the day take the two of you away.
 
Simple. Easy. Unplug. Relax. Enjoy.

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