The other thing is awareness of the mind-body connection, how much our biology shapes and affects people in relationship, really people's bodies are holding a story that their minds not be very aware of, and that shows up and gets triggered as they start to get close, and get more involved and feel more vulnerable, some of the old fear kicks in and sets in kind of a biological reaction. Being aware of your physical reactions in different situations, and what they're indicating. So just as people are looking at the biology of love, I'm looking at the biology of the distancing from love.
Once you're aware of what you're doing, how do you begin to stop distancing—to "stop running from love?"
First is acknowledging the kinds of distancing patterns that you have.
Then, really moving into new ways of exploring the roots. Most of us can tell you in a couple sentences – "Well, my parents were unhappy and I never wanted to end up like my mother," something like that. We can go that far, but this is taking another step into looking at the roots of the distancing.
That might be talking to someone else, or going to therapy, or doing some journaling. Saying, where did I learn this, what happened to me that I keep coming to this place over and over?
So if you keep ending up in the same place, what do you recommend doing differently?
If people have had a lot of failure in trying to get closer, whether it's within a relationship or getting into a relationship, it's really a mistake for them to keep trying the same old thing.
I take a kind of radical approach. Probably what's most different from other couple models that I know of is that I suggest people try ways of being more vulnerable and practice opening up in a group before they take that into the couple.
By trying these things in a group first, you're setting up the option to have little successes, and if you have any little failures, it's not as crushing as if you try it out right away in the couple.