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Help and Healing for Intimate Relationships
If Love Fell Into Us
The Power of Aligned Intention
Memories of Vietnam - Intention Then and Now

 

Call 503 293-1757 or email us

An Interview With Donna Miller

Reprinted (and updated) from Breitenbush Newsletter

Breitenbush: You've been doing workshops at Breitenbush for a long time.

Donna Miller: Yes. From 1984 to 1997, I've facilitated a 2 1/2 day personal growth workshop called Creating Successful Relationships which focuses on deep emotional processing and catharsis around issues of grief, anger and abuse. The emphasis has been on how these emotions and events affect all relationships, without specifically highlighting couples. I still feel that work is important, but what I want to do is changing.

BB: How is your work changing?

DM: I have a counseling practice and I consult with corporations and communities on conflict resolution and team building. However, since 1997, I've focused on couple relationships and have developed a workshop that supports couples to thrive in a world where unresolved conflict, painful sexual issues, separation and divorce are the norms. My fascination with intimate relationships and the impact of those relationships on families drives me toward couples work.

BB: Where does this fascination come from?

DM: I think from two sources. First, my own experiences of pain, growth and joy in intimate relationships began with my very first love. I am in awe of what it means to really love another human being. It's remarkable what it takes to get along with those we love. Second, as a therapist, I have gradually come to prefer the complex interlocking of individual and partner issues that couples bring to therapy. Instead of hearing just one person's description and feelings, couples offer two different -- often opposing -- perspectives. The picture is larger, more complex and dynamic.

BB: Why do you prefer working with couples?

DM: Healthy, stable, long-term relationships are a potent contribution to society. But couples work goes beyond therapy. Since I want to make a positive, long-term difference, I'm interested in more than therapeutic interventions and current problems in a small number of couples. Therapy is important . . . but so is reaching more people, building skills more broadly. The Couples Workshop is a psychoeducational experience devoted to helping couples understand and survive the challenges and natural processes of committed emotional relationships. Intimacy, conflict, passion and sexuality are featured topics. I am particularly drawn to the work of Dr. David Schnarch, who is both a marital and sex therapist. His book Passionate Marriage and his Sexual Crucible model of intimacy has greatly influenced my work. I also appreciate the work of Dr. John Gottman of Seattle, who studied marriage for over 20 years and wrote Why Marriages Succeed or Fail to get information out to couples and therapists.

BB: What could a couple expect at one of your workshops?

DM: I favor education and preventive maintenance over repair and cure, though most of us need all four by the time we think of getting help. It's cheaper in energy, money and pain to prevent problems than to fix them. The Couples Workshop emphasizes learning and practice rather than catharsis, emotional process or group therapy. Couples who attend represent all points on a spectrum from thriving to barely hanging on. They do the exercises together and concentrate on their own dilemmas and growth. Building a successful, happy relationship is a creative process. State of the art information and practical models can dramatically help couple survive and thrive, turn their relationship around, deepen their experience of loving and create a triumphant, long-term intimate relationship. This is the goal for my own life, and helping others do this is the work I love.

Top of Page

Help and Healing for Intimate Relationships
If Love Fell Into Us
The Power of Aligned Intention
Memories of Vietnam - Intention Then and Now

Contact Donna by email. or call 503 293-1757

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