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Wonder Couples Class #1

Wonder Couples

Class #1 - 4/14/20 7:30-8:45

4/16/20 11-12:15 

4/20/20 12-1:15 and recorded class. 


Carolyn will welcome people and Jason will be letting people into the meeting from the waitingroom.  


Introduction (5 minutes) [Everyone muted] 7:35

  • Jason and Carolyn introduce themselves and then talk about the idea behind the class. 


  • Tell people that they will have an opportunity to talk in the question and answer period.  Tell people that if they have questions during this period they can put them in the chat box.


  • Then, splitting the class up: Hi to each couple and wave as you guys hear your names called. 

  • Agenda for the class and the upcoming classes. (Jason)

    • SF, Attachment, Thirds, Conflict, repair, Spark/sexual connection, Charting a future.

  • Set up Make it clear that we are learning as we go along in this new medium.(Carolyn) 

    • Bear with us as we learn this process

    • Muted unless in discussion

      • Please use the chat feature to write your question

      • Raise your hand and we will get to you

      • Wave at us if sound or something goes out.

  • Review confidentiality (Jason) 

  • Review technology issues (Jason)

  • Review group norms (Carolyn)  

    • This is not a therapy session. 

    • Many ways to be a couple-acceptance

    • All of us are under stress

    • We are learning and practicing here

    • This is a place of kindness and acceptance of all people/all couples


Brief connecting experience (10 minutes) 7:40

Intro (Carolyn): 

Each class, we will start with a brief connecting exercise to help you come into this space together. This is an hour where you are putting all your focus on each other and your relationship while the crazy world swirls around outside this space. You may have kids outside the door, dogs, work, but for this hour, your focus is on each other. 


Regardless of how you are doing right now, this is something you can always practice. The conflict you may have with each other will keep. The stress of the outside world will be there in an hour. The goal here is in strengthening your relationship no matter what else might be going on. No matter how angry or hurt or upset you may be, can you return to this as your life raft? 


Exercise: (Jason)

Eye gazing/meditation:  

  • Baseline

  • Stare down

  • The look you give when mother-in-law, kids are being annoying

  • Make your partner - laugh

  • Make your partner cringe

  • Make your partner smile with real affection

  • Send a signal of I need you right now

  • Send a signal of I’ve had enough for right now

  • Relax into each other’s eyes- breathe (pause)

  • Baseline


Introduce the basics of secure functioning (15 minutes) Together: 7:50


  • Brief overview of PACT (three components (J), 

    • Attachment Theory

    • Arousal Regulation

    • Neurobiology 


  • Define SF -CS

    • Independent of Attachment types of partners, neurobiology of partners and arousal systems of each partner. This is about how the partnership operates.

    • A secure functioning relationship is a two-person psychological system based on attraction not fear

    • Truly mutual: “good for me and you” and based in fairness, justice and reciprocity. 

  • Components of a SF(J)), 

    • • Mutual protection of relationship in public and private

    • • Partners are skilled at quickly shifting one another’s state

    • • Partners reduce or eliminate threats, quick repair

    • • Partners increase reliance on interactive or Co-regulation

    • • Partners become “experts” on each other

    • • Partners have a good ability to play

    • • Partners are good stewards of their safety and security system

  • The purpose and benefit of a SF relationship. (Canoe) (Together) 

  • Explanation of co-regulation

    • SF, interactive, mutual system of regulation. 

    • Two individuals co-managing their arousal regulation systems. 

    • “What’s good for you is good for me”


Practice Concept through exercise (30 minutes): 8:05

Exercise: (Carolyn first partner/Jason second)


Preamble: 8:05

Our nervous systems react to each other involuntarily. We can accept this, learn about this and use this to our advantage to strengthen our system, or we can let this impact us negatively. Co-regulation is the process of learning how the winds, and tides might impact our canoe and how to support each other to make sure we get where we want to go. 


We are going to do an exercise to show this to you so that you can very quickly see the impact your facial expression and body movements have on one another. 


You are each going to get to play with this with your partner’s nervous system to see what feels better and worse to them. Nothing dramatic, but you are going to see very quickly and hear from them their preferences. Use your seating the best you can. If you are in stationary seating, just move your body. If you are in chairs that move, you get to play a little more. Either is fine. 


So, who is going first to see how you react? (Pause for volunteer). 


To the Volunteer: Wonderful. Now, I want you to get comfortable in the seat you are in. Adjust and get whatever you need to feel comfortable where you are seated. Your job is just to stay present and Notice whatever happens in your body when your partner shifts and changes what they are doing. So you are the one who is first getting to see what you like best. The guide here is “Does this feel better, same or worse?” With each change that is tried. OK? Any reaction you have is totally fine, acceptable,normal.Try not to judge the reaction you have, but instead be curious and interested in it. There truly is no bad reaction here to anything. Ready? 


Ok. Great. Now, partner: I am going to walk you through some things to try. Your job is to do these slight adjustments and pay close attention to your partner’s reaction. Do they look like they feel better, same or worse than before you shifted/changed what you did? Just notice. Look in their eyes, the muscles on the face, the body. This is where you will see tension in the muscles, emotion on the face, changes to the eyes. It does not mean you did anything right if they had a positive reaction or anything wrong if they have a negative reaction. Your job is just to notice. If you see it, great. If you don’t see a reaction, you can ask. “Better, Same or Worse?” You won’t be talking in detail about it, but instead simply noticing. Make sense? 


Again, these are involuntary reactions that are wired into us. Like being a night person or morning person, these are our physiological reactions and preferences to space, closeness, touch and eye contact. There is nothing wrong in these reactions, they just are. So again, just be curious and open to what you feel and what you see.  


Are we ready? Great. My instructions will be to the person moving. 8:10


So, first move your body forward and close the space between you by about a third. Better same or worse? 


Now, move again, closing the space between you by another third. Better same or worse? 


Now, quickly, not losing eye contact move all the way to where you were originally sitting. Better same or worse. 


For a slow internal count of five, close your eyes. And open your eyes, does your partner look better same or worse now than before you closed your eyes? 


Now do something to invade your partner’s space and hold it. 


Now allow and encourage your partner to put you where they want you or tell you how close to be. 


Next, hold your partner’s hands. BEtter same or worse? 


(Optional) Gently place your hands on your partner’s face. Better same or worse? 


Now come back to the position your partner placed you in and adjust your hands to where you think they prefer. 


Next adjust your facial expression: Big smile: better same or worse? 

Frown: Any change? 

Scowl: Any change? 


Now simply smile and then relax your face and take a minute to look at each other as we prepare to switch partners. 


8:18 Switch partners (Jason do the second round). And notice difference in reaction when someone is moving closer and away TO you versus when you are doing the moving. 


End the exercise by finding a position that is the best blend of the two favorite distances and contact points. 


(If they have chairs that can move, they move their chairs closer and further away. If not, move on couch/bed closer and further apart if possible. If not possible, done with body position, leaning in and away.)


8:25 Discussion with group: Brief questions and comments about what was noticed 

So in this hour, you learned about your nervous system and how it is wired. And in just an hour, you have learned what happens in your bodies when you intentionally move closer and further apart. You can use this no matter what is going on outside to practice supporting each other with connection. Use this in the tiny moments over the next two weeks to practice co-regulating each other. 


Preview of next class (5 minutes) 8:30


  • Questionnaire

  • Thank you for participation

  • We are going to leave you in final exercise with each other.  Keep focus on each other.


Closing connecting experience (10 minutes) 8:35


Eye gazing second time (what has changed): Now that they are in the best connected experience, what do they see that is different? 

  • Baseline

  • Make your partner smile with real affection

  • Send a signal of I am here for you right now.

  • That I respect your time and that I am entitled to it.

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