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TFI’s Nikki Lively, MA, LCSW, on Letting Go of Being Right

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Our clinicians have a variety of specialties and interests. At TFI Talks, it’s our pleasure to highlight the different ways our therapists get their expertise out in the world.

On her blog, Family Institute staff therapist Nikki Lively, MA, LCSW, addresses how couples can handle the sometimes painful arguments they have in healthy ways:

“According to the model of couples therapy that I use (Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy), all fights are really protests against feeling distant, feeling unimportant, or feeling like our partner wasn’t there for us when we needed them. It is essentially a model that acknowledges how important our close relationships are to our sense of safety and well being in the world. Looking at our partner through this lens, it makes sense that even a small disconnect can trigger strong feelings! For example, my husband and I have had arguments triggered (for me) by his tone of voice when he answered a phone call from me. “Geez. Sorry to bother you!” {Translation: “You didn’t seem happy to hear from me. That really hurts!”} The pain of feeling distant or unimportant to our partner leads to a cascade of negative feelings that are so intense, that all the skills you might know about relationships and how to “fight right” go out the window and now you are fighting to be heard, to be seen, to be understood, and to reach your partner again. It’s not a fight we can easily walk away from!”

Read Nikki’s full post on her blog, as well as the other insights she provides.

Nikki Lively, MA, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker with over 10 years of experience providing individual, couple and family therapy. She leads The Family Institute’s therapy group The Mindful Couple, where couples learn to live and love more effectively using the principles of mindfulness and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). In this group, couples learn to understand why feelings of anger, sadness and/or distress are common and normal reactions in relationships, as well as skills for managing those reactions and communication strategies.

To read Nikki’s full bio or make an appointment, please visit our website.

To learn more about her group The Mindful Couple, as well as other group therapies offered at the Institute, visit our group therapy page.

The Family Institute offers affordable, effective mental health treatment for families, couples and individuals. Learn more about us on our website.

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