Relationship counseling

Expert Tips: How To Enhance Emotional Intimacy In Any Relationship

By Annie Miller, LMFT


This past weekend, we kicked off our new Community Enrichment Series at Sync Counseling. We partnered with Coffee.JPEG in Sierra Madre, CA for this series.  Dr. Curtis Miller, Executive Director at Sync, spoke with couples about the key elements of “Making Love Work.” As I listened, I realized that his words could resonate in any kind of relationship, not only in a couple dynamic. Dr. Miller shared that there are two ways we live in relationship with the world and with others: objective & subjective. These two things play a big part in the degree of intimacy present in our relationships. Here’s how. 


What Does It Mean To Relate In An Objective Vs.  Subjective Way?



When you relate to your partner objectively, you are mainly relaying facts. You are talking about the factual details of something. For example, you get home from work and share with a partner, family member, or friend. “I was in a two-hour meeting and then it took one hour to get home in traffic.” Here, you are relating in an objective way. 


An alternative way of relating to someone is subjectively. When you relate in this way, you share more of your feelings with that other person. An example would be “I had a migraine during the meeting and struggled to get through.” Or, I was frustrated with the traffic but I put on some classical music and that helped me relax.”


Both ways of relating are important. However, relating objective facts to your partner too much of the time allows emotional distance to grow. Throughout the presentation, we received a lot of questions about how to foster change in a relationship. 


“So how do we even make the shift?” 


“How do I stop doing that negative cycle of our relationship?” 


“How can we find more moments together at the subjective level?” 

The Importance Of Empathy & Novelty


Dr. Miller emphasized  EMPATHY & NOVELTY


What Is Novelty?  


Novelty in a relationship refers to trying something new or unusual in a relationship and we are not talking about just in the bedroom. It can refer to solving a problem in a different way. Or, it could mean relating to your partner in a completely new way. Here are some examples of novelty. 


You respond to your partner in a different way after you realize that your current way of responding is not healthy. Perhaps humor becomes the novelty. Together, you see something silly in the old pattern and laugh about it. This allows you to shift more into your subjective experience.  


How To Introduce Novelty 


Some of the many ways we can introduce novelty, as explored by Dr. Miller, are to…


  • Look for the subjective in yourself, risk sharing it with your partner
  • Seek ways to build trust through attending to old hurts in new empathic ways
  • When you find yourself repeating a pattern that directs blame, anger, resentment, or defensiveness, ask yourself… what am I feeling underneath it all, What is my hurt, fear, or sadness?  … Begin to find ways to share these feelings with your partner.  


What Is Empathy?  


Paying For Therapy: Why Leave Insurance Out Of It?

By Jeff Creely   Therapy is an investment; an investment in yourself. It can help you find peace, motivation, and healing from pain. It is also transformational. There’s magic in that “aha” moment when you finally discover how to have the life you want. One of the best things about talk therapy is that it can help you gain control over symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, and more. And, therapy can be as effective as medications for anxiety and depression, but without the side effects.    Therapy can benefit everyone. It can help you learn to...

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Borderline Personality Disorder: Finding Empowerment for Change

by Bekke Abe   Have you ever experienced the internal feelings of “falling apart,” “shattered,” “beside yourself,” and/or “abandoned?” Have you experienced symptoms and behavior of inability to mask reactive mood, chronic feelings of emptiness, fear of abandonment, pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships, marked and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self, and impulsivity that are potentially self-damaging?   Dr. James A. Chu states that “this dissociative sense of fracturing results in psychic distress and a paralysis of functioning in which associative capacity – access to thoughts, feelings, normal abilities, and judgment –...

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Why Do Premarital Counseling?

by Bekke Abe


premarital counselingStatistics shows that divorce affects a variety of couples. It affects those who share the same religious beliefs, who are educated or not educated, the rich, the poor, the young, the old, those with children, and those living in the city or living out in the country. So, in the midst of the rising divorce rate, the question then arises: Why get married? Why is marriage important?

As couples get further into their relationship and their love starts to deepen, they start to think about whether or not to take the next step, which is marriage. Figuring out how to handle preparing for talking about marriage, children, finances, in-laws, and other personal problems, can trigger anxiety, worries, and doubts.


So, what do couples think about when it comes to taking the next step? 

  • How do I know if we are meant for each other?
  • Is my partner’s value and beliefs aligned with mine?
  • What is the big plan? Do we want children? Where do we want to live?
  • What is the expectation in regard to time spent with extended family?
  • What things do I not know about my partner?


So, what things should one start thinking about when it comes to taking that next step?

How to reduce stress at work: Tips from a Psychologist in Downtown Los Angeles


Reducing stress at work is both simpler and harder than it seems at first glance. As a psychologist who specializes in anxiety and works in Downtown Los Angeles, I want to give you a few tips to reduce your stress at work… and be more productive.


Meet Ian. Ian just accepted a new job at a law firm in Downtown Los Angeles. Ian’s excited, and willing to put in whatever work is required to prove his value as a lawyer. The first 2 weeks go well, and while he’s tired, he also gets a bit excited when he gets an email from a client on a weekend – he doesn’t mind replying, after all, it seems to be expected of people at his firm.