Creating a Safe “Couple Bubble” with Susan Orenstein: PYP 217

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Susan Orenstein, PhD, is a couples therapist in Cary, North Carolina. She's also a long-time friend (I believe we met in 1986) and neighbor (since we moved to NC in 2005).

I wanted to pick her brain about a challenge that many of my clients face – navigating their health journey in tandem with their significant other.

Many of my clients and students feel like they don't want to impose their new healthy way of eating and living on their partners. Others feel blocked by their spouse's disapproval or resistance or defensiveness. And still others feel supported, but don't know how to get their partner to join them on the journey to wellness.

Susan and I got together in the Shedquarters (the glamorous converted garden shed that serves as Plant Yourself World Headquarters) to record this conversation about the fundamentals of relationship as they pertain to health habits and behaviors.

We covered:

  • attachment theory and PACT therapy
  • the importance of safety and security in primary relationship
  • pushing each other's buttons and the fight or flight response
  • attachment can be learned, and relearned
  • when it's best to just stop talking
  • the significance of mirror neurons
  • the dynamics of recovery from substance abuse and violence
  • broadening our repertoire of connections
  • being open to simply having fun together
  • the importance of putting the relationship first
  • “we act out what we don't say”
  • on celebrating and benefiting from conflict
  • the dangers of becoming domineering – even if you're right
  • developing a safe “couple bubble” in which to navigate the world
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


Orenstein Solutions – practice site and blog

PACT Couples Therapy – an introduction

Wired For Love

Secure Attachment and Bonding

Video: Attached – The Science of Attachment – Anxious and Avoidant Loving

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

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