Feeling Excluded Feels Like a Broken Arm

The pain of social rejection. In her recent article Kirsten Weir summarizes recent studies where researchers have found that when social rejection is monitored by brain scans, it is experienced by the brain like physical pain. Others have found that feeling excluded hurts even when the researchers have tried to soften the impact by having research participants snubbed by those they don’t respect, or by receiving money for being rejected. Kirsten Weir reminds us that we’re social beings and that this has been important for our survival throughout our evolutionary history. Article - Excluded

You Don’t Have to Be Right, You Just Have to Care

In a recent study, Dr. Shiri Cohen and her colleagues looked at empathy in 156 heterosexual couples in committed relationships. The researchers wanted to know what would be more important to relationship satisfaction: empathic accuracy (each person’s ability to correctly identify the other’s emotion) or perceived empathic effort (each person’s perception that the other person is trying to understand). The couples were videotaped in the lab while discussing a recent upsetting event. The researchers found that perceived empathic effort was more strongly linked to relationship satisfaction than empathic accuracy. .Article - Correct or Care
Couples Therapy, Relationships|

Reducing Relationship Disappointment

Dr. Diane Felmlee has written a number of articles on “fatal attraction”: what you initially found attractive in your romantic partner becomes over time the same quality you find unbearable, leading to the end of the relationship. Article - Reducing Relationship Disappointment

Changing Relationship Patterns

Often, when people seek therapy, they want help with anxiety, depression, stress, and/or anger. However, these feelings have typically originated in interpersonal situations and/or are maintained in relationships. Old and familiar approaches to try to solve the problem (e.g., to protect oneself from rejection or abandonment) now seem to result in making things worse. The solution has become the problem. How does this come about? What can be done to fix this? Article - Changing Relationship Patterns