Internationally acclaimed relationship expert Debbi Carberry, has launched her new online program, -Re-wiring your brain for better relationships'. The first of its kind worldwide, the relationship e-course offers participants a deep insight into changing their unhealthy relationship habits for good.
With communication difficulties being ranked as the top cause of relationship breakdowns*, and new research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) revealing that relationship counselling succeeds for three in four couples*, Carberry is on a one-woman mission to help Aussies nurture their relationships back to health.
Carberry's teachings work for women and couples who believe in the value of relationship coaching and are 100 per cent committed to making their relationships work. Before Carberry can work her magic, her clients must first understand that her methods and teachings aren't a quick fix; serious brain rewiring is needed.
The six week program is online and uses video tutorials and work sheets week by week, and determines the relationship style (secure, anxious or avoidant) that you lean more towards, exploring an imaginative -toolbox' in your brain that you have unseeingly acquired and been filling up since birth.
Carberry is passionate about teaching you how to put the love back in to your relationship, why your relationships may fall into similar patterns and why you often feel chemistry with the least appropriate matches for you.
'I started this online course because I realised that many women today have little understanding of their own needs, desires and values. This lack of self-care and understanding not only impacts their relationship choices, but every facet of their lives.
'I have the ability to change that by sharing what I understand and know to be true. If I can change just one woman's life, I will have succeeded," Carberry says of her program.
Working from her wellness Centre, Papillion in Brisbane, Carberry's program is backed by research and 10 years' experience in psychotherapy. With our lives being at a frenetic pace the online format means that women and couples can access it in their own time, and work at it in their own pace. No need to travel, take time off work or get a sitter for the kids.
For more information and to book your spot, head to https://debbicarberry.com.au/better-relationships-program/
Question: What is the -Rewiring your brain for better relationships' program?
Debbi Carberry: It is a 6 week online relationship program that address common relationship issues.
From the very moment we are born we begin to learn about connection and being in relationships (this is called attachment). We learn by watching and interacting with our Mothers usually from when we are born. We use the tools they give us to have our needs met during our childhood.
As we grow up and become adults, we continue to use the same tools we learned as children to connect with other adults but particularly with intimate partners.
Some of the behaviour that we learned as children can become really unhelpful when we are adults. In fact often they become barriers to making our intimate relationships work.
By understanding the nature of attachment and learning the tools to respond to various situations in a relationships, women and couples can connect in more healthy loving ways.
Question: What inspired the creation of this online relationship program?
Debbi Carberry: I have worked in my Brisbane clinic for over ten years face to face with women and I have noticed in recent years that I just couldn't see all of the people who were requesting appointments with me. I also get calls and emails from women from around Australia asking if I could work with them. It seems like the logical next step to create a tailor made course that addressed the most common issues that women and couples come to see me about.
The online format means that women and couples can access it in their own time, and work at it in their own pace. No need to travel, take time off work or get a sitter for the kids.
Question: Who did you create the online relationship program for?
Debbi Carberry: Women aged in their late 20's to mid-30s who may feel like they date the same guy over and over again. What I mean by that all of their relationship have had similar challenges no matter who they are dating.
It's for women who want to become involved in a lasting loving relationship. It's also for women who are in a long term relationship but they feel they have some recurring issues that don't seem to get resolved.
Question: What's involved in the -Rewiring your brain for better relationships' program?
Debbi Carberry: It's a 6 week online course. Each week there are up to 3 videos on the specific topic we are covering and some worksheets to help women get the most out of the course material. In addition there is a reflective journal and we have a private FB page for participants where they can share with other participants and myself how they are going.
I also offer support if people are getting stuck or want clarity on any issues in the program.
Weekly topics are:
Attachment – learn your attachment style and your partners and how it affects you in your relationships.
Wants & Needs - Learning about communication styles and how they impact your relationship. Looking at what your own wants and needs are so that you are able to get them met. Learn yours and your partners love language.
Values & Beliefs - Looking at core values and where they came from. Understanding negative beliefs that can get in the way of loving connection with others and yourself. As well as how to take better care of yourself.
Boundaries – Learning what different boundary style are and which you use most. I teach you how to set and maintain healthy boundaries so your relationship can flourish.
Reciprocity or give and take - We talk about giving as well as giving too much. We also work through how to balance what we give to others and how to take better care of ourselves. It's about a healthy balance between giving and receiving.
Conflict – I teach people how to manage conflict and fight fair. We also take a good look into how to self soothe when things feel very upsetting in a relationship so that peace and calm can be restored and the couple can repair their relationship.
In addition to my six week program I have a Platinum Program where women do the 6 week course but in addition they are able to work with me via skype one on one on specific aspects of their relationship. I work exclusively with just 7 women in this program.
Question: How can we nurture our relationships over the busy festive season?
1. Debbi Carberry: Practice square breathing until you feel more relaxed. Square breathing is a simple and effective way to calm yourself. Sit up straight in your chair with both feet on the floor. Inhale to the count of four, hold to the count of four, exhale to the count of four, and rest for the count of four. Repeat this four times and it can have a very calming effect. You can do this as often as you need to.
2. Go for a walk by yourself if you need to take a break.
3. Talk with 'safe" friends before, during and after the celebrations to help ground yourself and to validate your experience.
4. Set boundaries where you need to and practice them beforehand the day. Work out what you will do if any family member decided to push your boundaries. Know your limits and stick to them.
5. Have a plan B in case family dynamics get too overwhelming. This can be leaving early or staying in accommodation away from family members.
6. Practice acceptance. Remember that everyone is doing the best job they can.
7. Have a self-care routine. Warm showers, foot soaks, relaxing music, a good book, go for a walk or practice some mindfulness.
8. Have a few self-soothing activities up your sleeve if you become distressed.
9. Practice detaching (in a loving way) so that you are not drawn into family dysfunction.
10. Journal, make sure this is in a safe private space as you do not want family members to find information that is for your eyes only.
11. Practice gratitude for the good things that you can see and feel.
Remember that everyone struggles to some extent during the holiday season. Try to be kind to yourself and your family members.
Question: What is your top tip for couples to better their relationships in 2016?
Debbi Carberry: Remember why you got together in the first place
We all change. But the unique characteristics you first noticed in your partner, the very essence of what you fell in love with, is most likely still there, unchanged. Sometimes it just lays forgotten, covered up by money stress, parenting responsibilities, career focus, household chores and just plain exhaustion. Spend some time remembering why you both fell in love and some of your most connected happy memories
Question: What are your top two pieces of advice regarding strategies to resolve conflict in a relationship?
Debbi Carberry: Fight fair – beware the four horsemen (John Gottman) - do not use, contempt, stonewalling, defensiveness and criticism when you have conflict. These can kill a relationship in its tracks. Learn to focus on the issues and behaviours that cause friction and keep personal attacks out of the equation.
Learn to repair when conflict ends. This means moving toward your partner in forgiving loving ways. Sometimes we need to choose if we want to be right or be happy. Don't lose sight of the bigger picture. If you love your partner then resolving conflict is essential for both of you to move forward.
Interview by Brooke Hunter