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Rhett Smith Podcast

Therapist + Writer + Speaker In this long-form interview format Rhett explores the lives of various thought leaders to discover what helped them thrive in multiple areas of their lives, and what lessons we can learn from them. Rhett is particularly interested in the intersection of self-care and relationships, and he loves to explore how one can thrive physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. He interacts with people such as therapists, athletes, spiritual leaders, entrepreneurs and many others, covering a variety of topics from fitness, leadership, mental health, and spirituality. What would your marriage look like when you are thriving? What does your parenting look like when you are thriving? What does your work look like when you are thriving? What does your faith look like when you are thriving? When we thrive in these areas of our lives we become people who are "life-giving." And when we are "life-givers" we impact all the relationships around us in positive ways. So engage the podcast and discover how you can thrive personally and relationally.
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Now displaying: February, 2017
Feb 23, 2017

This last weekend I led a class on fostering intimacy in marriage to a group of premarital couples. I love doing this work, but intimacy can be a complicated issue. When we think of intimacy in our culture we often think of sex, or at least physical intimacy to say the least.

 

But the reality is there are varying kinds of intimacy that are important that a couple take an intentional stance on fostering in their relationship if it is going to be healthy.  

So in this episode:

  • I explore the theological underpinnings of intimacy that we see set out in the beginning of the book of Genesis in the bible.
  • I explore the varying kinds of intimacy that make for a healthy relationship.
  • I discuss the keys to fostering these kinds of intimacy.
  • I give several "exercises" that one can practice at home to foster intimacy in their relationship.

Resources Mentioned in the Episode

As for Me and My House: Crafting Your Marriage to Last by Walter Wangerin

Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch

Feb 13, 2017

I have been wanting to talk on the topic of grief and loss for quite a while. I was going to wait to do an episode with my father since that has been a big part of his professional life as a pastor and hospice chaplain. But in light of some recent events in our local community the last week, I thought I would go ahead and post some thoughts on this topic.

 

This is a topic near to my heart as I have had to spend a large part of my life working through grief over the death of my mom when I was 11 years old. And in my experience unresolved, or should I say, grief that hasn't been processed (because what is resolved grief anyways) can come back to create problems in other areas of our life.

 

In this episode:

  • I share my own story of grief and loss due to my mom's death at the hands of breast cancer.
  • I share some quotes from C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed, and how it was a campus pastor giving me that book that spurred me on my journey of working through my grief.
  • I share some practical steps one can take to work through grief.
  • I share some books that have been helpful in my own journey and the journey of others on the topic of grief.

Resources Mentioned in Episode

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

Lament for a Son by Nicholas Wolterstorff

A Letter of Consolation by Henri Nouwen

Center for Loss and Life Transition

Dr. Alan Wolfelt

Feb 8, 2017

If I had to take a guess, I would guess that at least 50-60% of every couple that I work with is in my office because of an affair. Affairs come in varied forms from the physical to the emotional and everything in between. And affairs don't discriminate based on gender, race, or age. In fact, it's often the person or couple that you expect least likely to have to deal with an affair, is the couple dealing with the affair.

 

My experience is that most everyone goes into marriage with the intention to stay faithful in the relationship, so it will often come to a surprise to a spouse, or the couple's friends when words gets out that an affair has taken place.

 

In this episode I share my experience in working with couples as they navigate the affair recovery process. And because one of my specialties is marriage counseling, it's not surprising then that a lot of the couples I work with are dealing with affairs.

 

I think there are some general principles as one begins to work to recover and heal from an affair, but the process can often be chaotic, and each couple needs different things. So in this episode I try and distill some of the most common steps I take with couples.

 

In this episode you will:

  • learn about the importance of creating stability in the relationship to begin the work of affair recovery.
  • learn about the importance of addressing the affair, rather than sweeping it under the rug.
  • learn about the process of salvage and restoration in the forgiveness process.
  • hear examples of how this work is done.
  • learn about a few book resources to help you on this journey.

 

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

NOT 'Just Friends': Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity by Shirley Glass and Jane Coppock Staeheli

Beyond Ordinary: When A Good Marriage Just Isn't Good Enough by Justin and Trish Davis

Feb 1, 2017

One of the things that I have come to believe through my work with clients, and through my own personal work, is that insight alone is usually not enough to create change. That insight has to be coupled with practice, and lots of it to create the change, and ultimately the transformation we desire. We could also say the same if we flipped it in reverse. Practice alone, without any insight, will also not create change.

 

I have been greatly influenced by this idea through a couple of key writings. One is the work of my mentor and friend Dr. Terry Hargrave out of Fuller Theological Seminary, his book Restoration Therapy: Understanding and Guiding Healing in Marriage and Family Therapy, along with my training with him, has been transformative in my life. His model of the Pain and Peace Cycle, alone with four very practical steps has been a game changer in my life and the life of many.

 

I have also really been influenced by the work of Angela Duckworth, and more specifically, her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. In her book she delineates between deliberate practice and flow, and talks about how flow comes out of deliberate practice.

 

What I have experienced through the Restoration Therapy model is that the more individuals, couples, etc, practice their Pain and Peace Cycles, they can often get to flow states where it feels very natural, and habitual. But that transformational experience is only experienced because of the combination of insight and practice. Without both, flow and change isn't experienced.

I'm currently reading a really good book by Laurence Gonzales called Deep Survival:Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why. In this book he writes the following:

While the pathways from the amygdala to the neocortex are stronger and faster than the ones going the other way, some ability may remain for the neocortex to do the following: First, to recognize that there is an emotional response underway. Second, to read reality and perceive circumstances correctly. Third, to override or modulate the automatic reaction if it is an inappropriate one; and fourth, to select a correct course of action. (location 876-886/Kindle)

He then goes on to write:

When you learn something complex, such as flying, snowboarding, or playing tennis or golf, at first you must think through each move. That is called explicit learning, and it’s stored in explicit memory, the kind you can talk about, the kind that allows you to remember a recipe for lasagna. But as you gain more experience, you begin to do the task less consciously. You develop flow, touch, timing— a feel for it. It becomes second nature, a thing of beauty. That’s known as implicit learning. The two neurological systems of explicit and implicit learning are quite separate. Implicit memories are unconscious. Implicit learning is like a natural smile: It comes by way of a different neural pathway from the one that carries explicit memory. (location 896/Kindle)

 

After I read this I thought to myself, this are the steps Restoration Therapy model of the Pain and Peace Cycle. And he's talking about deliberate practice and flow states.

 

Why is all of this important? Because whether we are talking about life and death situations like in Deep Survival, or conflict in relationships like in Restoration Therapy, or athletic and artistic performance in Grit....they are all about a certain level of awareness (insight) that requires us to practice, and it's in doing so that we create change and make better decisions, and move closer to transformational flow.

 

In this episode:

  • I talk about the 4 steps of the Restoration Therapy model
  • I talk about deliberate practice and flow
  • I connect the brain theory writing in Deep Survival to both Restoration Therapy and Grit
  • I talk about how you can experiment with your own insight+practice= transformational flow this week.

 

Resources Mentioned

Restoration Therapy: Understanding and Guiding Healing in Marriage and Family Therapy by Dr. Terry Hargrave

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Deep Survival:Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales

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