January 29th 2024
It has been a while since I have written. In the past, I have stayed in touch with updates, letting you know about essays I have published with The Gottman Institute or announcements concerning happenings at my center, The Northampton Center for Couples Therapy. I have written to you when I am offering my online seminar, Is My Marriage Worth Saving, or my digital course, Crisis to Connected (C2C).
Today, I am writing to you with an idea.
On the heels of wrapping up my sixth round of teaching C2C, I’ve had two solid months to reflect. This reflection has been a long time coming, with the dark days of New England winter serving as fertile ground for the sparks of new ideas.
Historically, many of you have reached out to me via my VideoAsk channel to say hello and tell me a bit about yourselves. Some of you have reached out through C2C, and some have reached out just because. Either way, I have learned a ton. Over time, there has been a steady flow of questions, and when I step away and squint my eyes, I start to see patterns and themes emerge from the ethers.
Many of you ask me about whether to stay or leave your relationship. Others ask if there are ways to discern your partner’s trust-ability. Still, others wonder if an intense, passionate connection is love or what is called trauma bonding. These are excellent questions with no simple answers.
NCCT is fourteen years old; to date, we have seen almost 3000 couples. Since our inception, we have grown to add groups, classes, training, retreats, and online therapy.
Then there is me. I have learned so much as a psychotherapist, entrepreneur, and human. I have studied with John Gottman, Brené Brown’s Daring Way, and other extraordinary leaders in my field. Currently, I am pursuing a second graduate degree—an MFA in Creative Nonfiction—and writing a memoir about severance inspired by my background in psychology, work with couples, and the personal losses I incurred in the aftermath of COVID: a sister to suicide and my father from heart failure.
I don’t think in 2010, my younger self envisioned couples counseling as dovetailing with grief. Still, time and experience have taught me we have choices and opportunities. Even in the most challenging moments, we can bring our best selves to hopelessness; it need not be pretty. Perhaps sometimes love is a fragile, wounded creature, nashing its teeth and licking its wounds, biding its time, confusedly cowering in the corner.
Here is my idea: I want to engage, answer your questions, and continue our conversation. Because if you could see what I see, you would know you are not alone. Let’s face it: these are lonely times, especially in the winter, with each of us precariously connected via the internet and partially disconnected due to the lingering thump of COVID and the challenges of (just) being human. And many of us are in relationships that amplify loneliness rather than easing it.
So, I have devised a name, a plan, and a request.
Here is the name: Letters to a Couple in Crisis: Companionable Words for Harrowing Times.
Here is the plan: Thanks to Videoask, I have accrued an archive of questions I can respond to through writing, so in the future, I will email you my thoughts on one (or several) questions I have been pondering throughout the month. I will also share other gems: what I am reading, listening to, and taking solace from. These are the words that keep me company and that, in many ways, have built (and continue to build) the bones of my center.
Here is the request: I invite you to continue the conversation by sending me more questions via Videoask. If you are not familiar with Videoask, it is simple. You leave me a text, audio, or video message HERE, and then it is delivered to me (only me). I love hearing from you via Videoask because it has dimensions, texture, and heart. Plus, I can see the patterns and deduce how you—each of us—are experiencing and navigating heartache, responding thoughtfully to our larger community, dispelling the myth of aloneness hovering in our midst.
So let me know what is on your mind. What you are hoping for, afraid of, struggling with, and know that while I cannot respond to every message personally, I will listen to every message because your words, and all of our words collectively, make a difference, especially during harrowing times.
Sign up here to get on the mailing list.
Companionable words for harrowing times
Kerry Lusignan, MA, LMHC Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapist | Certified Daring Way Facilitator