EP190: Is Your Relationship to Conflict Ruining Your Relationships? | Vienna Pharaon

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People often see conflicts in a bad light and try to avoid it at all costs – be it with your family, friends, colleagues… and especially with your partner. But what would you think if I tell you that conflict can actually be a positive thing?

Our guest for this episode is Vienna Pharaon, and conflict is one of her specialties. Vienna is a licensed marriage and family therapist and is behind New York Couples Counseling where she helps individuals, couples and families traverse different issues. She offers services based on the issues experienced by her clients where she uses compassion, intuition, and collaboration to encourage transformation.

People are afraid to face conflict and avoid it as much as possible, yet it is inevitable. Vienna, however, welcomes conflict and sees it as a gateway to deeper connections and better relationships. This is what we deep-dived into in our conversation.

Some of the topics we discussed are:
• Her work as a marriage and family therapist (05:26), and the systemic nature of the job looking at how different systems shape our lives and belief systems (11:50).
• The dating culture in New York and the horror stories brought about by a career-centric city culture causing misalignment in priorities (07:56).
• My sunglasses analogy relating to awareness and subconscious (14:57), and the importance of working on both ourselves and our relationships towards happiness (16:07).
• The role that our past plays on how we perceive conflicts, and how conflicts give us the opportunity to learn and understand our partners more (20:55).
• Transforming unhealthy to healthy conflict through our behavior and reaction (27:58).
• How to shift our perspective when you’re in the moment by claiming your ‘adult time out’ to bring gentleness into the space (30:20; 42:41).
• Seeing anger as an informative emotion that is often the result of another emotion (35:20).
• Distinguishing unhealthy and healthy conflict based on how the parties accept their responsibility and contribution to the interaction and conflict (38:15).
• Striking a balance of accepting responsibility for your behavior and getting the other person to acknowledge and do the same on their end (44:43).
• Gottman’s insights on couples’ issues, the statistic of which is unsolvable, and the concept of positive to negative ratio of healthy relationships (53:32).
• The concept of negativity threshold and how this impacts conflict management (57:36).
• Why I see the idea of giving parts of ourselves into a relationship is comparable to the science of sword-making (1:00:07).
• How to deal with conflicts in a healthy manner that it becomes transformative and a source of deeper intimacy (1:03:31).

If you want to reach Vienna, you may check
New York Couples Counseling | Mindful Marriage and Family Therapy
Instagram @MindfulMFT
Facebook @MindfulnessMFT

Vienna provided a very enlightening outlook that hopefully will help us all in dealing with our relationships. The insights she shared are great techniques and hacks to diffuse conflicts and improve our relationships, whether it is with our partners, families and other people in general.

I learned a ton on this conversation and hope know that you did too. If you think someone will benefit from listening to this, feel free to share this with them as well.

For feedback and inquiries, give me a shout out at info [at] theintimatelifestyle.com – I’d love to hear from you.

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