Dear NCCT Couples and Community –
Several weeks ago, we sent you a letter regarding COVID-19 and the implications of the ensuing pandemic. We talked about adjustments and modifications being made and the offering of online services for our couples. This was done to band together. To weather the storm ahead in a proactive manner because we deeply value the importance of relational health in the couple and family systems, particularly when the road forward looks precarious.
Amid this confusing, heartbreaking, and unsettling time, we are now, as a nation, face-to-face with another enemy. One that has been with us far longer than the coronavirus or stay-at-home order. This enemy is hate. It’s “better-than” thinking. It’s narrow minds, closed eyes, and shut mouths. It’s ignorant, blatant, systemic racism that has led to the appalling and unnecessary deaths of innocent lives – George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor. Tragically, there are countless others.
We are feeling a multitude of emotions in the aftermath of these past days—anger, sorrow, fist-clenching rage. Emotions are called feelings because we FEEL – in our bodies, generated by physiology – that something is happening. Anger and rage, in particular, are communicating that something is not okay. In this case, profoundly, not okay.
As a Center, we remain committed to strengthening the bonds of the couple system to promote meaningful and life-changing relationships. This undertaking is grounded in the belief that resiliency and vulnerability within the walls of safe relationships mean we can live our most authentic lives – lives that are led by compassion for the common good. This starts at home, but it doesn’t end there. We must go forth, out of our impervious dwellings and our intact comfort zones, and spread this message of inclusion and unity until it’s made a reality in the larger systems that we are all a part of.
In today’s Marriage Minute, an email newsletter from The Gottman Institute, the author recounts a description John Gottman gave to empathy within relationships, “real empathy comes from going: ‘You know, I understand how upset you are. It truly hurts me that I’m messing up this way, and I’ve got to take some action.’ Real empathy comes from feeling your partner’s pain in a real way, and then doing something about it.”
Right now, there is a collective “feeling” of pain, and it’s real. If we are going to live out what we say we value, what we say we believe and stand for, then we have to show up – to display our collective empathy – to do “something about it.”
At NCCT, our staff is committing to:
● Financially support organizations that represent racial justice and equality
○ Communities United Against Police Brutality
● Attend trainings and read relevant resources to continually grow in our competence as curious and knowledgeable therapists
● Facilitate hard but necessary conversations, both amongst ourselves and with our couples:
○ Never assuming a neutral stance but instead a proactive one,
○ Asking our clients about racism and how it impacts their lives and our therapeutic relationship,
○ And, advocating for equal regard, open accountability, and genuine social justice for all humanity.
As we take these next steps, we invite you to join us. We haven’t done enough, but we’re committed to doing more. Give. Learn. Speak. Listen. We’re in this together.
Your NCCT Therapists