recommended resources

February Recommended Relationship Resources

I’ve started keeping track of the resources, tools, podcasts, and videos I assign clients every week in session with the hope they might be excellent tools for all of you as well. I’ll be posting my favorites every month this year so you can find them with ease.

Read more recommendations here.

If you have suggestions or recommendations for this list please send them to me- I always welcome more. Email them to gina@ginasenarighi.com Thank you!

LISTEN IN: FAVORITE RELATIONSHIP PODCASTS

CONVERSATION WITH PIA MELLODY, FROM CONVERSATION WITH ALANIS MORISSETTE

Recently a client clued me into the work of Pia Mellody. She said Pia’s work had given her a new lense to look at love addiction and codependent patterns in her relationship. As I began searching for information on Pia I came across this lovely interview she did on Alanis Morissette’s podcast. Their conversation gives a generous overview of Pia’s work and philosophy on dependency in relationships and with substances.

Her stance is that codependent patterns really are more based in childhood relationship trauma where we learn maladaptive patterns of relating. She says our childhood relationship trauma leaves us with immature relationship patterns as adults. Her main principles are:

  • All of us as children are worthy of love and care. All children are valuable.

  • Our stories about are partners are often untrue and sometimes have little to do with them- only us.

  • Most of us have poor modeling around creating healthy internal and external boundaries.

  • Our dreams and fantasies are deeply held because most of us learn them very early in life.

Her perspective may resonate with many of you just as it has with my client. You can read more about her work here.


THE GOOD LIFE PROJECT, STAN TATKIN LOVE, DANGER, AND CONFLICT.

Stan Tatkin founded a model of couples therapy called the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT). This model is designed to help people really get to the root of the tension and conflict in their partnership. It’s designed to help couples clearly and directly focus on their stuck points and learn to regulate their responses and ultimately change them.

This interview gives a lot of his background telling the story of how he developed the model. I think it’s useful for people considering working with a provider with PACT training to know more about this model, AND it also gives such a rich look at the neurobiology of conflict and bonding I think it could offer really valuable insight for people who are feeling really stuck in heated conflicts.

Check it out here:






WATCH THIS: FANTASTIC VIDEOS ON THE HUMAN CONDITION

TED TALK: HOW CHILDHOOD TRAUMA AFFECTS HEALTH ACROSS A LIFETIME, NADINE BURKE HARRIS

Trauma is inescapable, we’ve all survived something. But for some folks with more chronic or intense situations- especially early life trauma- is can have powerful impact on our physical health long-term. I’ve shared this video with many clients over the last couple years to share medical perspective on the health impacts of childhood trauma.



Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

Gina Senarighi Relationship Coach
  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 

  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts

  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty

  • shift stuck communication & codependent relationship patterns

    I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online, in Portland, Oregon (and soon in Chicago, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin). 

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in healthy communication, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

My Recommended Relationship Resources This Month

I’ve started keeping track of the resources, tools, podcasts, and videos I assign clients every week in session with the hope they might be excellent tools for all of you as well. I’ll be posting my favorites every month this year so you can find them with ease.

Read more recommendations here.

If you have suggestions or recommendations for this list please send them to me- I always welcome more. Email them to gina@ginasenarighi.com Thank you!

LISTEN IN: FAVORITE RELATIONSHIP PODCASTS

APOLOGETICAL FROM RADIOLAB

Radiolab does an outstanding job covering all sorts of curious topics. This week they cover apologies and ownership when we’ve hurt someone. While it’s not exactly about romantic relationships, this episode gives an excellent overview of the bigger ethical picture when owning mistakes and making apologies.

IN THE NO: PART 1, ALSO FROM RADIOLAB

Also from Radiolab, a three-part series on the complications of consent in relationships. It’s not just as simple as yes or no, and because sexual assault rarely happens with strangers, the relationships involved are far more complex too.

In the first episode Kaitlin Prest revisits a complicated consent situation with her closest friend- even reenacting the moment it happened. Be warned, listening to the reenactment could be trigggering.

IN THE NO: PART 2, FROM RADIOLAB

In the second episode they dive deeper into the meaning of consent and how we learn about it in our culture. It’s a great conversation starter for couples who want more meaningful communication and stronger boundaries.

IN THE NO: PART 3, FROM RADIOLAB

In the final episode our hosts visit multiple locations where consent trainings are taking place to better understand what we ALL need to be talking about. I especially liked the visit they take to the BDSM play space to learn about boundaries and consent from the community who has been practicing a little more tenderly than mainstream relationships. Check it out:


WATCH IT: VIDEOS FOR HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS


THE ANATOMY OF TRUST, BRENE BROWN

I know I’ve posted about this talk before, but I’ve referred a few folks to it just this week and it just keeps resonating with my clients. In this talk Brene outlines the foundational elements required to build trust in relationships. Instead of thinking about trust as an all or nothing, this talk outlines the tiny ways trust is build or broken in the smallest moments.

Watch the video and as she covers each area, ask yourself how you’ve increased trust in your partnership. I promise you’ll learn ways you can strengthen your relationship.


MAKE FRIENDS: SUPPORT GROUPS & COMMUNITY EVENTS

REFUGE RECOVERY, PORTLAND MEETINGS

I’ve had a few clients recently who were looking for support to end or at least minimize their substance use. In the cases so far this year, these clients love the support of a group format, but the AA model just didn’t resonate with them. Refuge Recovery provides an alternative group format and community support without the dogma from AA. If you’re interested in support for your recovery they might be a good place to start.


READ UP: GREAT BOOKS ON RELATIONSHIPS


I could fill a few pages with great relationship book recommendations, so I’m going to do my best to narrow it to one each month. If you want my full relationship reading recommendations list click here.

THE STATE OF AFFAIRS BY ESTHER PEREL

One book I’ve recommended many times this month is Esther Perel’s most recent book, the State of Affairs. Let me list a few reasons why.

For people experiencing affairs:

  1. This book normalizes the fact that affairs happen- in our culture and all over the world. Y’all, affairs are VERY common.

  2. It also gives lots of helpful insight as to the reasons why people have affairs. And believe me, there are a lot of reasons.

  3. The book gives you lots of examples of other couples who have experienced infidelity to help you get perspective on how they got through it.

  4. And it can help you see a path forward to healing when I know it can be so hard to see possibilities moving forward.

Even for folks who haven’t experienced infidelity it can help you have informed conversations about monogamous relationships, and how you want to handle it when one of you has a crush on someone else. Couples who can navigate those conversations last longer and are better equipped to affair-proof their partnerships.


Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

Gina Senarighi Relationship Coach
  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 

  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts

  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty

  • shift stuck communication & codependent relationship patterns

    I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online, in Portland, Oregon (and soon in Chicago, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin). 

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in healthy communication, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

The Five Love Languages for Successful Couples

WHY ARE THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES SO IMPORTANT?

In all my years of counseling, diverse couples, marriages, and partners, it’s become clear that everyone benefits when they begin to apply them in all their relationships.

Rarely do couples share the same love language. It can create a lot of frustration when you think you are doing a good job expressing love and yet the other person is just not feeling it. If you don’t understand the love language concept, then you can feel stuck. But it, you understand that they speak a different language, then you can learn to speak that language.

 

WHAT ARE THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES?

The love languages were originally written by marriage therapist Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages. The book has a religious theme that doesn’t resonate with many of my clients, but the foundation of this basic couples theory still offers important guidance. 

Basically, there are five main ways we demonstrate love in relationships.  Everyone has a need for all five languages, but each of us prefer one of these more than others. Usually each individual values one or two of the five more than the others.

Most of us communicate love to our partners primarily through our preferred love language- which doesn’t always match our partner’s preference. This miscommunication means sometimes our efforts go unacknowledged.  And sometimes we don’t see all the love our partner is throwing our way.

Sometimes we can have trouble connecting with love even if it is all around us.

IDENTIFYING YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE…

Think of a time you felt truly loved in your relationship. You were sure your partner loved you dearly. What were they doing? What specific actions did they take? Why were these actions important or meaningful to you?

Or think about daydreams or fantasies you have about being well-loved. What’s going on?  How does the person in your dream tell or show you they care?

Now read the languages below to see which best fits with the scenario you described above.

Most people enjoy all of these Love Languages but you will see one or two of them are especially important. Knowing which is your primary or favorite helps your partner better connect with you when showing love.

Knowing which is your least priority helps you identify loving practices you might overlook in partnership.

Your preferred Love Language can change over time, of course, so identifying it clearly and talking about it with a partner will help you two connect in more meaningful loving ways.  

Focus on the love you share this week with this framework in mind and watch what happens!  


entrepreneur relationships | couples who are entrepreneurs

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Seven Principles for Making Your Relationship Work

Hi!  I found a great summary of one of my all-time favorite relationship books, so I wanted to be sure to share it with you. 

Seven Principles of Making Your Marriage Work by John Gottman is excellent even if you're a couple who plans never to marry.  His 40+ years researching couples in everyday environments has build a critical foundation for understanding what makes love last. 

Check it out:

 

I'd love to hear what you think after watching or reading.  Pop over to my facebook page and leave a comment, or call me for a consultation to learn how to apply these principles in your own relationship.

 

Four Powerful Relationship Tips from Esther Perel's SXSW Keynote

"The quality of your relationships is what determines the quality of your life."

- Esther Perel, SXSW 2018

 

As you know I hold a deep love and respect for the work of Esther Perel.  So I was very excited to hear she was speaking at this year's South by Southwest event. 

As usual, her talk was provocative and incredibly informative.  I'm outlining a few of my favorite takeaways for you below.  I'd love to talk with you more about it if you're interested give me a call.

 

Conversations are the heart of relationships.

But most of us are shying away from direct communication, complex conversations, and fully present connections.  We text instead of call, we back out instead of showing up, and we dive into distraction every chance we get.

If we want to combat the epidemic of loneliness our culture is facing we need to start showing up more courageously in meaningful conversations.

 

The tension between change and stability is key to relationship success

Thriving relationships can reconcile these two fundamentally different needs (security and safety vs exploration and adventure).  Some of us emerge from families needing more autonomy and some needing more safety.  Which leads to one of us more afraid of losing the other and the other more afraid of losing themselves.

The more we can name and work through this tension together, the closer we become.  Couples and partnerships who can hold this tension and carefully balance it (not too much of either end of the spectrum of autonomy vs connection) build more fulfilling relationships.

 

"Soulmate" is a new concept

How do I know I have found the one?  My one and only.  We want one person to meet the needs that a whole village used to provide.  Soulmate used to be god, and many of us have replaced religion with expectations on a partner.  

 

When we listen deeply to the experiences of another we end up standing in front of a mirror.

And we get inspiration for the kinds of courage we need to have in our own lives. Prioritize relationship work, intimacy, and repair in order to combat loneliness.

We need complex and nuanced conversations to transform the nature of relationships.  To modernize relationship structures as we have outgrown the old paradigms of binary gender. Shifting the roles of men and supporting their complex emotional experiences will create opportunities for wholeness in relationships.

And in order to change the future of intimacy and connection in our society, we all need to courageously tend and show up in more of our relationships.

 

Watch the full talk below:

Please participate with the blindfold activity by closing your eyes.  


Gina Senarighi | Couples Retreats | Communication Workshop | Relationship Coach

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Healthy Relationships: The Five Love Languages

In my coaching, I have found it particularly useful for couples to understand and integrate the Five Love Languages.  Gary Chapman (author of The Five Love Languages) says that there are five main ways individuals express and receive love.  Each of us has a preference for with language we receive.  We are also each more skilled in giving love in one of these ways than the other.

The trick is that we are most likely to give love in the forms that we most enjoy receiving.  But our partner may have a different preferred language and may miss our attempts at showing our love, or may give love in a way we aren't even realizing!

To clarify your preference take a few notes on the following questions:

1.  What is the sweetest thing your partner has ever done for you?  What made it so touching?

2.  What are the five most recent ways you showed your partner you love them?  How did they respond?

This information will help you determine your preferred love language.  Often we default to our own favorite love language when giving love to our partner.  However, its important to try to use a variety of ways to show your sweetheart you care.  Its even more helpful to learn their preference and try to work in ways they will really enjoy being loved.

The Five Love Languages are:

1.  Words of Love: Sweet things said or written to one another

There are many ways to share words of love.  It's really helpful to share affirmations and appreciations every day.  Tell your partner why they are special to you and what drew you to them.  Help them see how great they are in person and in writing.  Emails, texts, quick phone calls or Skype dates can quickly warm your loved ones' heart.  It can take a little creativity if this isn't your primary love language.  Make a list of all the ways you can tell them and begin making attempts every day.  You might want to make them a card, write it on a cake, read it in a poem, or shout it from the rooftop!

2.  Physical Affection: Nonverbal physical intimacy

Do you hold hands in the movies?  Do you kiss hello and goodbye?  hugging, cuddling, and sex is especially important to partners who prioritize this love language.  Increasing the amount of loving touch you share doesn't take much time, but may require a little thought, especially if this isn’t your primary love language or you didn’t grow up in a physically affectionate family.  Simply sitting close to each other as you watch TV requires no additional time, but can communicate your love loudly.

3.  Acts of Service: Actions providing care for the other

Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an a partner who highly values acts of service will speak volumes. Some of the words they most want to hear are, “Let me do that for you.”  Ask yourself, what chore or responsibility is your partner constantly nagging you about?  Your spouse is telling you this particular task as a really important thing to him or her.  Try it as a starting point for your acts of service.

4.  Quality Time: The gift of your undivided attention

Time is a strong communicator of love and all too often couples spend more time apart than together.   Because we are drawn in so many directions it is especially important to spend real-time focused on each other and your partnership.  In order to increase connection and communication for the partner who especially values quality time there are a few easy ways to improve the quality of your shared time.

  • Set your electronic devices aside for a set time (especially on dates and during conversations).

  • Maintain eye contact when your partner is talking

  • Try not to interrupt

  • Reflect your partners words back to them so they know you hear them.

  • Ask yourself, what your partner is experiencing, and try to confirm their emotional experience

5.  Gifts: Gestures and/or presents as symbols of your love

All five love languages challenge us to give to our spouse, but for some, receiving gifts, visible symbols of love, speaks the loudest.  This does not have to be a materialistic gesture.  Some of the most meaningful gifts can include tickets to a show you loved together, or a receipt from a date when you were just getting to know each other.  They can be flowers from your yard, or drawings, or poems.  Keep a note of your partners wish list (Evernote can be a great tool for this on your smart phone) so you always have ideas handy.

Understanding the five love languages and the ways they support your love can lead to greater creativity, interest, and most importantly awareness in your relationship.

Three Books to Help Heal Your Heartache

A good friend of mine wrote the other day asking for suggested reading after her recent break up from her sweetheart of years.  Breakups can be so painful, and it can help to have reliable words to lean on when you are going through difficult times.  Here are the books I recommended she read.  I hope they might help you through difficult times.

These first three are best for you if you just need to heal your heart and move on.  They can help, but the best remedy is a combination of time, friendship, good self care, and coaching (call me if you want help with that last one).

Comfortable with Uncertainty- Pema Chodron

One of the more troubling parts of a break up is the loss of an imagines future you planned to share with your loved one.  You may have felt very sure things were heading in one direction only to be surprised that they are headed down a very different path.  This fantastic book can help you work through

Happiness - Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the hardest things to get through is grief and loss surrounding a break up.  This book will guide you through daily actions you can take to re-orient yourself toward happiness without avoiding the emotions connected to your loss.

The Happiness Advantage- Shawn Achor

Its not easy to think about happiness after a big heartache.  Give yourself some time, and know that when you are ready to start rebuilding this book has some simple actions you can take to help get you there.

Remember to give it time, and focus on your feelings first.  As one of my great mentors used to say, you can't force anything good.  If you find you are trying to force yourself to move on too quickly stop, slow down, and spend a little time just being gentle with yourself.

You'll get there, I promise.

Five TED Talks That Continue to Inspire

Chances are you have encountered a great TED Talk or two on your own by now.  TED Talks first were shared online in 2006, with the slogan "ideas worth spreading" and have successfully spread to over a billion watched since.  I often find myself inspired to change my thought after watching, but there are five I often email friends, suggest to clients, and watch repeatedly, seeing new applications to my life and work with each viewing.  I wonder if you will feel the same?

Shawn Achor, "The Happy Secret to Better Work"

"The lens through which you view the world shapes your reality.  If we can change the lens we can change your happiness."  Achor has spent years studying happiness all over the world and has compiled seven key principles to increase happiness in life.  

Your brain, when set to positive is more productive, faster, more accurate, than when you are in a negative, neutral, or stressed state.  Through meditation, gratitude, and supportive social network building we can re-train our brains for greater satisfaction and joy in life.  

Watch the talk, and I promise you will want to read the book, "The Happiness Advantage" by Shawn Achor.

Amanda Palmer, "The Art of Asking"

All too often we are afraid to ask for help, and even more, not to ask for what we need or want.  It is also really hard for most people to receive help or assistance even if we know it is well deserved.  Her talk focuses on her journey giving and receiving music, performance, love, and support.  

In the end she asks "How do we stop asking, 'how can we make people pay for music? and start asking how can we let people?'" which I reframe to you, how can you stop hoping to make people support you, and instead let people?

Katheryn Schultz, "On Being Wrong"

I once gave Katheryn's book to my girlfriend as a surprise.  I don't recommend you do the same without clearly stating your intention (see the next section).  In her talk, and in the book Schultz talks about the confidence that can happen when we are actually wrong.  

Being attached to our own rightness prevents us from avoiding mistakes and causes us to treat one another poorly.  She says "Our capacity to screw up is not some kind of embarrassing defect... it is fundamental to who we are..." reminding us to leave room for error, to be more productive and imaginative.  

How can embracing your wrongness help you move to more openness when you think you know whats happening and "something else happens instead?"

Simon Sinek, "How Great Leaders Inspire Action"

One of the most important lessons I learned in counselor training was to lead with intention.  Simon Sinek has spent years studying the best in business and nonprofits, starting with their "why," their core values, their intentions, their vision.  

It’s true in business and in your personal life, starting with your intention clarifies communication quickly and will bring you closer to those around you.  It also makes it much easier and more inspiring for them to join you for the long haul.

Steve Jobs, "How to Live Before you Die"

Okay, this isn't actually from a TED event, it was a Stanford graduation speech released on TED because it was so inspirational.  Jobs tells three stories from his life to help us all live a little more.  

"You can't connect the dots moving forward,  you can only connect them looking back... so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future... believing they will connect will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leaves you off a well-worn path." Do great work and love what you do.