8 key tips to create a collaborative alliance in relationships



 1. Create a collaborative alliance to get things done

First and foremost collaborative alliance focus on what needs to be done.  Listening to your partner and speaking up for yourself.  Collaborative alliance doesn’t float on feeling particularly when they’re not backed up by behavior.

 2. Create a collaborative alliance to stay committed

Create a collaborative alliance to re-establish trust with your partner. Relationship repair is the most important thing here.  Keeping the faith or trust in your marriage and keeping it going is more important than your fears of your marriage failing.

 3. Create a collaborative alliance to stay mindful

Pay attention when you drop your collaborative alliance. The more sensitive we are to others dropping their alliances with us, the more we may be to ourselves doing it.  Be aware and acknowledge when your drop your side of the collaborative alliances.  Being aware how you (not your partner) repeatedly drop your alliance improves things quickly.

 4. Create a collaborative alliance to hold responsibility

How you feel ISN’T the main issue.  Getting nervous or feeling pressured doesn’t entitle you to drop your end of things.  The key issue in collaborative alliance is living up to your responsibilities.

 5. Create a collaborative alliance to be held accountable

In a collaborative alliance your responsibilities are unilateral, not mutual or reciprocal.  A collaborative alliance  involves unilaterally keeping your end of the deal  when your partner has temporary dropped theirs.  Your partners bad behavior doesn’t excuse your own.  Confront your partner about dropping his part of the bargain after you are sure you have fulfilled yours.

6. Create a collaborative alliance to challenge yourself

They don’t always feel good but they help us grow.  Sometimes collaborative alliances require confronting, challenging, and refusing to accommodate. Collaborative alliances are defined by function rather than feeling.

 7. Create a collaborative alliance so you never blind yourself about what is going on between you and your partner

In a collaborative alliance everyone keeps their eyes and ears open and their minds alert.  Mind mapping plays an important role.  Don’t shield your mind from being read accurately. Asking someone to overlook your shortcomings and offering to overlook his or hers is a collusive alliance  (which brings out the worst qualities in those involved in the relationship)

 8. Create a collaborative alliance to maintain your integrity

Create a collaborative alliance tests your integrity.  People keep their end of good-faith bargain to maintain their own integrity.  It’s always easier to drop your alliance and “look out for yourself” in the narrow sense.  But as you strengthen your four points of balance and become better differentiated you do what you know to be right in order to be at peace with your self in your own  mind.  An alliance formed of convenience may look collaborative but when things get difficult it will fall apart.

Exercises to help create a collaborative alliance in relationships


 Exercise 1- Hugging till relaxed (putting your arms around your partner and holding on to yourself)

  • stand on your own 2 feet
  • put your arms around your partner
  • focus on yourself
  • quiet yourself down. Way down.

If your partner begins to lose their self it’s important to hold on to yourself and remain calm within yourself.

If your partner pushes or pulls you off balance, let the other know that you need to readjust then proceed to balance yourself and re-engage in “hugging till relaxed”. Remember to keep your purpose collaborative by letting your partner know you need to readjust and not just drop your collaborative alliance.

Don’t take each others movements or readjustments as personal rejection.

It works best to say “I’m shifting position to get more comfortable. I don’t want to stop.”

Start with a 10 minute long hug to reach a deep relaxed connection.

Start by focusing on your body and slowing your breathing until you are emotionally and physically quiet. If you are unable to quiet down, focus on the emotions, perceptions and memories from your past that occupy your mind. If focusing on breathing doesn’t work, focus on what’s getting in the way and clear your consciousness.

After your get better at “hugging till relaxed” you can add a new layer of attention: what’s happening between you and your partner? Is your partner able to relax? What happens when you deliberately try to change your position? How do you make sense of your partners response?

When “hugging till relaxed” becomes warm, comfortable and reliable, use it to work through prior negative experiences. Briefly focus on mental images and memories of bad times that haunt you then return to focusing on your body, your solid relationship with your partner and the feel and smell of them.

“hugging till relaxed” gets the two hemispheres  communicating with each other. Trauma further isolates the two hemispheres from working and communicating effectively.

Create a collaborative alliance in order to see your ability to see yourself in the past, present and future (“mental time travel”) predominantly comes from your right hemisphere. Mind-mapping mostly occurs there as well. The left hemisphere tries to interpret this using autobiographical memories retrieved by your right hemisphere, searching out the cause and effect relationships through linear logical DEDUCTIVE (from the whole to a part) thinking. If there are holes in you autobiographical memory, or your left and right hemispheres don’t communicate, your brain will readily construct a picture of your life that’s inaccurate enough to keep your anxiety down and accurate enough to keep your mind’s deception-detector from going off.

Exercise 2- “heads on pillows”

“hugging till relaxed” sets the stage for “heads on pillows”

  • you and your partner lie on your sides facing each other.
  • Put your heads on pillows.  Get your heads far enough apart you can comfortably look into each other eyes.
  • quiet your mind and calm your heart.
  • ”heads on pillows” is much like “hugging till relaxed” only laying down.

If your intimacy tolerance isn’t challenged by “hugging till relaxed”, “heads on pillows may do that.

With your mind and eyes, try to touch your partners heart.

Exercise 3 -”feeling while touching”

One partner touches the other, while both of you mentally follow your point of physical connection as it moves.  Instead of focusing on sexual technique (or on your physical sensations) focus on feeling each other.

Start off with hands, face and arms.  When you can’t feel your partner, stop briefly and return to what you were doing when you could.  Discipline yourself to stick with what works and stay in the moment with your partner.  Talking is appropriate. Smiling helps.  Crying is allowed.  Tears often flow as partners rediscover old friends.  Slow-paced touch usually works best.

Candles, incense and music can help set a relaxing mood.

“hugging till relaxed”, “heads on pillows”, and “feeling while touching” have something in common.

All three create seven conditions that facilitate brain change

  1. A strong and resilient collaborative alliance
  1. Moderate levels of stress and emotional arousal, alternating with calm.
  1. Intense and profound inter subjective moments of meeting.
  1. Information and experiences gathered across multiple dimensions of cognition, emotion, sensation and behavior.Activating brain neural networks involved in processing and regulating thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviors.
  1. New conceptual knowledge integrating emotional and bodily experiences.
  2. Organizing experiences in ways that foster continues growth and integration. 

 Create a collaborative alliance this involves:

  1. Being honest even when it’s difficult
  2. Not tampering with the truth
  3. Confronting yourself and letting your partner confront you or “read” you
  4. Operating from the best in you


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