• Couples Therapy

    Repairing Misattunement is an Opportunity for Growth

    Have you ever found yourself crosswise with someone — a friend, a co-worker, a significant other or even your therapist? Maybe you felt your relationship was suddenly out of balance? Of course you have. Everyone has.


    That “out of balance” feeling is called misattunement: A moment when we’re misunderstood, out of synch and confused by a relational interaction. And it’s perfectly normal.


    In fact, we’re constantly trying to figure out misattunements and get the relationship back on track because that’s how we’re wired as humans. When it happens with our most important people, the ones we depend on and love, it can be challenging because they’re wired into our attachment systems. The stakes are higher.


    Research suggests that there are large amounts of time when healthy, developing babies are misattuned with their mothers. The mother’s ability to reestablish attunement is critical for the health of her child, and that modeling can serve as a guide when the child becomes an adult and learns to reattune relationships without help. No parent gets attunement with the child perfect, but successful parents attune more often than not and repair misattunements dependably.


    The goal is to resolve misattunements between ourselves and our most important people before a more serious block — or rupture — in the relationship is created. Misattunement is a normal part of all relationships. No one gets it perfect. Like any other relationship, misattunement can occur in a counselor/client relationship. Maybe your therapist didn’t return a message or interrupted your story. In that moment, your quick read is “how rude” or “I’m not important.”  Hopefully, the therapist notices it and engages in a reparative conversation, or the counselor/client alliance is strong enough that it feels comfortable for the client to bring it up to the counselor.


    Step back and remember that when two human beings are in a room, each trying to be present and trying to work together, inevitably there will be a misattunement at some point. Repairing it is an opportunity for growth. Part of building a relational bond is learning how to reattune over and over again.


    Even in the case of a misattunement — or a more serious rupture — there is an opportunity for growth. As a therapist, if I feel a misattunement, I’m going to take note and be transparent about it with the client. As we work together to reattune, the client’s nervous system can experience new ways of bringing about alignment with another person — a skill they can then transfer to other relationships.


    If you’re in therapy and feel your therapist isn’t attuned with you, voice that concern. That’s an opportunity to work on attunement before it becomes a rupture. If you feel you’re not attuned to your therapist and aren’t able to talk about it, it might be time to consider finding a different counselor. I’m available to help. You can contact me at CoupleTherapyOrlando.com or by phone at 407-579-2070.


    Therapy services available via Telehealth.