Episode 47: Compassionate Conscious Relationships: A Conversation with Laura Carr

The winter holiday season can be magical, and if you want to dive in deeper to building conscious relationship with your beloved consider sharing an experiential gift of deeper connection and intimacy in 2018.  Divine Mirrors: A Valentine’s Couples Retreat which I’m co-facilitating at Menla could be just the thing.

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What would happen if you integrated themes from humanistic, existential, and attachment theory with the flavor of Zen Buddhism?  You might have something like this week’s guest Laura Carr’s therapeutic method: Compassion-Based Awareness Therapy.  

As much as our culture loves a quick fix 12-step program, there are no quick pathways to behavior change.  In fact, behavior is typically the last thing to change.  But there are many opportunities along the way to dial into what we feel, allow ourselves to be seen, and make space for our responses.  And Laura Carr knows this as well as anyone.  By developing Compassion-Based Awareness Therapy, she has seen the profound transformations that can take shape when we are willing to pay attention to our pain and our guilt.

In this conversation, Laura and I discuss:

  • What Compassion-Based Awareness Therapy is and how Laura uses it in her work with couples.

  • Why our typical view of compassion is inaccurate and what compassion really means.

  • The differences between guilt and shame, and when they are helpful or unhelpful.

  • What happens when we blame or are blamed while being disconnected from our bodies.

  • The importance of being willing to sit with our own pain and discomfort and what that offers us.

  • Taking 100% responsibility for our behavior and our relationships, and why there’s no such thing as 60/40, 70/30, 50/50.

  • How we can determine whether our values and our habits are ones that were inscribed for us or whether they are ones that we believe in.

  • Why the validation of being seen isn’t enough to transform us.

  • Why seeking truth is problematic, the difference between being with the content and being with the emotion, and why going on “autopilot” makes pain seem easier to manage.

  • How to know whether sitting with our emotions is creating more suffering or is a path to freedom.

  • How slowing down and grounding creates spaciousness when we feel resistance.

  • Why, for all our inner work and processing, behavior is the last thing to change.

  • The difference between anger that is violent and anger that is productive, and teaching our children not to fear anger.


You can find Laura Carr online at cfmrsandiego.com 


Referenced in this Episode:

Cheri Huber, Laura’s Zen teacher and author

John Bradshaw’s work on shame

Terry Real’s work on grandiosity and guilt

Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning

Harville Hendrix and IMAGO Relationship Theory & Therapy

Plus, get a copy of Rebecca’s handout she mentions in the show here.

Have feedback to share?  We love hearing what our listeners think about the conversations we’re having here on the #POBScast.  Send us your feedback and suggestions here.