Monday, September 5, 2011

Full disclosure to others.

This exercise is a helpful template to facilitate full disclosure. Use/adapt as you both find necessary. After both you and your partner have completed the above questions, first confirm that you are both willing to go through the process. This starts with a confirmation by each of you to use the information to strengthen the relationship (and not as a reason to end the relationship). If you cannot confirm this commitment, please post pone disclosure and address the underlying issues. Clarify and negotiate a neutral setting for the disclosure to occur. Consider if you need someone there DURING disclosure: sometimes this may need to occur in a couple’s therapy session. Please make sure you schedule enough time. Pick a date that is NOT already emotionally charged (in other words, don’t do this on your way to holiday dinner with the in-laws!). Consider if you want a support person nearby or on standby.

Start by reviewing the receiving partner’s response to the questions on page 187. Use these questions to structure the discussion. Start by answering each of the questions, allowing the partner to ask clarifying questions. Remember to respond openly and honestly; a lie of omission is as damaging as a lie of commission. Take a break when necessary. Ether of you can call a timeout and/or suspend the disclosure if necessary. Identify a plan to resume the disclosure process if you call a timeout or suspend the disclosure.

After disclosure, debrief the experience. This includes asking each of you, “What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What are you present to? What do you need? End with a ritual to celebrate the relationship and the reaffirmed connection that occurs in disclosure. (Yes, conflict is a form of healing intimacy, see page 165). This ritual could be dinner, a walk, a date, meditation, burning the papers created to answer the questions.

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