What Is Affirmative Intimacy (TM)?

We’re experienced coaches and observers of relationships. We’ve seen all of the common relationship issues.  We’ve repeatedly seen them damage the quality and health of relationships.

In our research, we were struck by the diversity of approaches to creating happy relationships.  Yet, we felt that nothing we looked at offered a sufficiently comprehensive approach.  We felt that many approaches weren’t well grounded in objective research. Others reflected a bias that we found unappealing.

We wanted to create a new approach that included the best of the existing literature.  We believed it important to ground this new approach in science, not folk tales.  It’s also important that it emphasize our individuality and our personal responsibility for our relational happiness.

Affirmative IntimacyTM is the result of our years of research and firsthand experience working with people just like you. Our approach is to help empower you to create the relationship you’re looking to have. We created Affirmative IntimacyTM to expand on and blend together mutually supportive concepts from the pioneering work of some of the giants of psychotherapy. We firmly believe that if you practice the approach we’ve developed, you’ll definitely see a life-changing positive difference in your relationship.

Why affirmative intimacy? Because it is expressly not passive. It puts the responsibility for having the relationship you desire completely in your own hands. Then we give you the tools to fulfill that responsibility. Intimacy and relationship success don’t just happen. They require conscious action on a daily basis. But most agree the payoff is worth it!

Temple of Successful Relationships with FriezeThe Affirmative IntimacyTM approach is built upon four key skills or tools. We call them the Four Pillars, because they provide the support for a successful, joyous, and enduring intimate relationship.

Communication is a critical skill in every method we studied.  It’s also one of the most frequent trouble spots reported.  We had to include communication education.  Though based in part on the work of Dr. Harville Hendrix, we added insights from many other specialists in difficult interpersonal communications.  From this blend, we built the Structured Dialog Pillar of Affirmative IntimacyTM.

To encourage personal growth and responsibility, we drew upon the work of Dr. Albert Ellis.  He created Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy.  Dr. Ellis’ work was the basis for much of the field of cognitive behavioral therapy.   His contribution led to his peers voting him the second most influential psychologist of the 20th century.  He even outscored Sigmund Freud!  Based in part on his thinking, we created the Mindful Reason Pillar of Affirmative IntimacyTM.

As to retaining responsibility and accountability while in relationship, we studied the work of psychiatrist Murray Bowen, MD.  Dr. Bowen developed his Family Systems Theory through decades of painstaking research.  Dr. Bowen’s concepts transformed the practice of family therapy.  Psychologist David Schnarch, Ph.D., then developed a method for using Bowen’s principles in couples therapy.  Drs. Bowen and Schnarch identified differentiation of self as critical to sustainable relationships. We felt that Dr. Ellis’ REBT was a perfect tool for improving one’s differentiation of self.   Melding these approaches gave us much of the basis for the Differentiation of Self Pillar of Affirmative IntimacyTM.

We found one thing that seemed missing in the work of relationship theorists.  They never explicitly discussed what must come first before using any of their techniques.  Unless you first create a favorable environment in which to use them, they’re just ideas.  It seemed that everyone simply assumed that the parties were psychologically prepared to engage in these conversations.

Our unique addition was to develop a specific method for creating the Safe Space necessary to make progress.  We see Safe Space as the container within which all of the other skills can be used.  Without Safe Space, you are seldom able to build an optimal relationship.  Until Safe Space is co-created, the best techniques fall on deaf ears. Therefore, Safe Space became the First Pillar of Affirmative IntimacyTM

These are the Four Pillars of Affirmative IntimacyTMSafe Space, Structured Dialogue, Mindful Reason, and Differentiation of Self.  Each feeds into and supports the others.  Together, we believe they can transform your relationship and your life.