211: Peace and Healing in Couples Therapy with Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye

Welcome back to The Couples Therapist Couch! This podcast is about the practice of Couples Therapy. Each week, Shane Birkel interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.

In this episode, we’re talking peace and healing in couples therapy with Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast spots, and watch it on YouTube – follow and leave a 5-star review.

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The Couples Therapist Couch 211: Peace and Healing in Couples Therapy with Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye

Learn more about the Couples Therapy 101 course: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/

Learn more about the Couples Therapist Inner Circle: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/inner-circle-new

In this episode, Shane talks with Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye about peace and healing in couples therapy. Sabrina is a therapist, storyteller, and peacebuilder with over 3 decades of service to the underserved. Hear how to get your clients to slow down and breathe, the role of a couples therapist when it comes to divorce, how to model acceptance, how to look at a marriage in different stages, and when to be direct with your clients.

This episode covers everything from narcissism to Schema Therapy. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • What is Sabrina's background?
  • How do you avoid attachment to certain events?
  • What is Big Mama Speaks about? 
  • Why is it important to help your clients take a breather?
  • How do you manage resentment?
  • What helps couples stay together?
  • How do you get clients to turn the focus back on themselves?
  • Introverts vs. Extroverts

To check out Sabrina’s book, Big Mama Speaks, visit: BigMamaSpeaks.com

To learn more about Sabrina’s practice, visit: TheHeartNest.com

You can also listen to Sabrina on Episode 172 of The Couples Therapist Couch.

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below: 



 Show Notes


What is The Couples Therapist Couch?

This podcast is about the practice of Couples Therapy. Many of the episodes are interviews with leaders in the field of Relationships. The show is meant to help Therapists and Coaches learn how to help people to deepen their connection, but in the process it explores what is most needed for each of us to love, heal, and grow. Each week, Shane Birkel interviews an expert in the field of Couples Therapy to explore all about the world of relationships and how to be an amazing therapist.

Learn more about the Couples Therapy 101 course: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/

Find out more about the Couples Therapist Inner Circle: https://www.couplestherapistcouch.com/inner-circle-new


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 0:00
I'm not here to make sure that you don't get divorced. I'm here to help you find peace in whatever decision you go home and make.

Intro VO 0:16
Welcome to The Couples Therapist Couch - the podcast for couples therapists, marriage counselors and relationship coaches to explore the practice of couples therapy, and now your host, Shane Birkel.

Shane Birkel 0:34
Everyone welcome back to The Couples Therapist Couch. This is Shane Birkel. And this is the podcast that's all about the practice of couples therapy. Thank you so much for tuning in. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. And my goal is to bring you the best in the world of couples therapy to help you become a better therapist or any way that you work with couples. And today, I'm really excited to share with you an interview that I did with Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye and she and I spoke on episode number 172. And I just love the way that she talks about peace and compassion and moving her clients into compassion for each other. And she's just a really authentic person who's willing to share her own story. I'm going to share that interview with you today. But before I get to that, I just wanted to let you know that there are still I think four spots left. For the Couples Therapist Inner Circle, if you're thinking about joining, those will probably be filled up in the next 24 hours. I'm going to close the doors for that tomorrow. So if you've been thinking about that, definitely this is the time to join. There's a free month so there's no risk, you can join take advantage of a lot of the course material that's available in there. And then if it's not a good fit for you, there's no risk there at all. So check that out. There's a link if you want to find out more link in the show notes. Without further introduction. Here is the interview with Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye. Everyone welcome back to the couples therapists couch. This is Shane Birkel and today I'm speaking with Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye, an integrative psychotherapist storyteller and author of Big Mama Speaks: love lessons from a Harlem River swan. Hey, Sabrina, welcome to the show.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 2:20
Hi, Shane. Thank you for having me.

Shane Birkel 2:22
Yeah, thank you so much for coming on again for you and I ran into each other again this year at The Networker symposium. And I think both of us were like, Oh, my gosh, we need to talk again. So I'm so glad you took the time to come on. Thank you so much.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 2:39
Thank you, Shane.

Shane Birkel 2:41
Yeah, you know, we were just talking before this, and you were talking about how everything in our life is part of our spiritual journey. So many people have an attachment to the outcome of their relationship, or whether they get divorced and have so many much judgment about that towards themselves. Oftentimes, anyway, I'm really excited to get into some of these topics. But before we do that, why don't you tell everyone a little bit more about yourself.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 3:09
I've been a therapist for 35. Man, 36 years, I keep saying 35. But it's really 36 years. I'm somebody's mom, from somebody's wife, lots of people's friends. And I think at this point in my life, I'm also the mother quote, in quotation marks to a lot of younger therapists also, which is a very exciting thing for me to be young enough to be in the mix, but old enough to be the wise old out with them. And, and I also consider myself a peace builder. So I sort of do therapy, and I write and I tell stories, and I listen to stories, I see what I'm doing as a form of peacebuilding. Helping people develop inner peace, helping people develop peace in their relationships with their partner. And also I've been doing a fair amount of peace building globally. And in my community, I live in Baltimore, Maryland. I'm just like up the street from Washington, DC. So I feel like all of these elements together, are shaping what I am doing personally and professionally. Yeah,

Shane Birkel 4:27
that's great. And before we get into everything, can you tell everybody a little bit about your book?

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 4:33
Oh, my book, my tiny mighty book. Oh, my little tiny mighty book is called Big Mama Speaks: love lessons from a Harlem river swan. And it's actually a book that's dedicated to my maternal grandmother, who, when she was in her early 30s, she was a single mother. And she had and it's interesting because I just want to clarify, clarify that. One of the things that I teach people is Everything that happens in your life lends itself to your career path, the choices you make. And even though they're challenging, they're very holy and meaningful. So I preface it with that, because what happened to my grandmother set the stage for the work that I do in the world, she's 3033 years old police officer came put a gun to her head, looking for her drug addicted brother. Not an uncommon scenario. She didn't know where her brother was, she already had high blood pressure. And that final incident, that violent incident resulted in a debilitating stroke. Oh my gosh. And after the stroke, she lost all capacity to function. And her children, including my mother, almost ended up in foster care. And at the last minute, my aunt, my grandmother's sister, a woman, young woman in her 20, he stepped in, took all the kids and raised the children. My grandmother was pronounced dead. And last rites were performed. They were Catholic, and she woke up on Good Friday. Oh, my God, crazy, right? Wow, woke up on Good Friday and lived another 51 years. Wow, she became my teacher in so many ways. And so the book is about how I, I became her caretaker. And after she passed away, I started writing to her. And then I turn the writing into a dialogue between the two of us. And then I synthesize the themes from that dialogue into lessons for how to live this life. And that includes how to be in relationship. So their stories are broken down into each chapter has three parts. It's it's one about the dialogue between us. The second part is about how I applied it in my life. And the third part is how I apply it in my clinical practice. Is all of them make me who I am. And so for me, I look at my grandmother's story, and I'm like, Yes, this is a horrible, horrible story. And it always, even your your, your visceral reaction is not uncommon, like, Oh, my God, the police, but it comes to our head. And it was horrible. Then at the same time, that that horror, that trauma, it shaped my whole family, and it shaped me. And what I've been able to do is take that horror, and also take the beauty that I have also been blessed to witness of a family that stayed together through that struggle, of people making sacrifices to each other. Have an amazing courage and straight. And I'm putting all of that together into who I am. But also that is not the what I am modeling for the people that are coming to Me for guidance and support. You know, they're coming at us. You know, my life is crap. My marriage is crap. Like I got these 30 year olds and won't get whatever it was like, I'm like, Yeah, I got a story for you. And so with big mama did for me is she let me honor her memory. But also, he posts story and the stories of the people that her life touched a lot.

Shane Birkel 8:29
Yeah, that's beautiful. Yeah, thank you. Yeah. Can you say a little bit? I mean, I think, as you're saying that, you know, I'm thinking about the way you bring yourself as a therapist into the relationships with the people you work with. And can you say a little bit more about that? Non attachment, you know, when people are whatever they're experiencing in life, you know, often people get so wrapped up in the outcome of whatever's going to happen. How much of that is like something that you bring from your own life lessons?

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 9:06
Yeah. Show me my capacity to think and pause to really contemplate what does this mean, why is this happening? What am I next steps, has resulted in in miracles, literally miracles. So I'm trying to practice mindfulness all the time. I'm trying to breathe all the time. I'm trying to create rituals that allow me to find the answers within all the time. And I think that my clients feel that they know that because we start our sessions with that. No one's allowed to come in here. Elevated and screaming, like I know you scream, you can do that in the street. Come here. And breathe with me. So, my couples come. And I know that stuff is happening. And I know they're dissatisfied. I know, they're frightened, and we still breathe. And I'm explaining to them, This ritual is going to allow you to make a sound decision around what your next steps are. And so you're not responding from chronic fear and unrest and old stories that are not necessarily true anymore. And so one thing that I'm trying to do all the time, all the time, and I'm never, I'm never going to get perfect at it. That's the other thing. I'm never going to be a perfect therapist, I'm always trying to be a better therapist, I'm always trying to be a better person. So I'm always trying to listen deeply. And I'm trying to model that to my clients. And they feel that they feel it in many ways. One is I wrote a book that full of personal stuff. I talk about personal stuff, I don't interrupt the session to say, Oh, yeah. I think people come to me. And there's a sense in their body that I'm not just responding from what I read in a book, I'm responding by what I feel. And so I find it that ritual of closing our eyes together, holding our hearts together, allow us to have a very human experience. And so it's really touching because people come, and this is they have, so they had them close their eyes and feel their hearts. Tears will pop off, you know, pop up on their face. They're like, Oh, I wasn't praying to cry here. I'm like, well, everybody cries here. There's no way around it. And I'm like, every tear is not sorrow. What are your tears saying to you? So I feel like that sort of sets the stage for us to be in a deeper relationship with each other. And then, with couples, I sort of begin the conversation by by telling them I'm not here to make sure that you don't get divorced. Like, that's not my job. I don't know what's going to happen. I'm here to help you find peace in whatever decision you go home and make. So the pause allows you to really think in Can I give you an example that that just happened?

Shane Birkel 12:36
Yeah, that'd be great.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 12:37
So I had a couple. They weren't legally married. But in my mind, you've been together this this many years, you get kids like, as far as I'm concerned, you're married, I'll marry you right here in this office. Right? I saw them as a committed married couple. They were here. And the husband was like kind of wonky about whether they went wherever he was going to stay with whether he wanted to stay with her. And that was the first thing I told the two of them, and especially her, I said, I'm not here to make sure he doesn't go. I'm here to make sure that the two of you make sound decisions, make loving decisions. And that your hearts are clear. And that there's nothing blocking, clouding the door, whatever it is. And so we saw it a few times. And then a few months later, she reached out to me and said that he was in a relationship with someone else, which didn't surprise me. And the first thing she said to me was, I'm packing my stuff. I'm really, yeah. And I was like, well, once you've done that before, are you in danger? And she said, No, I'm not in danger. Has he harmed you in any way? She said, No. I said, is he violent with his words? She said, No. I said, then stop and make a plan. She's like, Oh, I know you've never done this before. You've never not run out the door. When your beloved has betrayed you, but she's been in relationships before. We make a sound decision for you and your family. You don't have to run. And so she thought, now they're still breaking up. But it's a different energy around the breakup. Yeah. It is. I am sitting in my kitchen, I am drinking my coffee. I am talking. I am packing my bags slowly. I am making a plan for my children. I even she even met the other woman because our sessions were around this is for You'd have peace. If your beloved is in a relationship with someone else, and you are no longer going to be in this relationship, because you have decided you don't want it anymore. And this other person is going to be around your children. Maybe you should have a conversation with this person. It's not been easy. And that's what I tell people, these things are not easy. Pausing is not easy. We're

Shane Birkel 15:26
describing that it feels so much like a quiet and peaceful sense of empowerment for that.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 15:32
Absolutely. I want her to feel empowered. And the rest of the world was telling her you're really blank and tell that SOB he's a blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, Oh, honey, you've done that 1000 times, that that part is easy. That part's easy. But is that really how you want to walk out the door from the father of your children? Is that really how you want the door to be open for you to find the love that you deserve? Because you're beautiful, you're smart, you're everything. You're just not his his lifetime love yours, somebody else's lifetime love. And someone else is yours. But how do you want to end this thing through the door is open when you step out into the world that love is going to find you. And that you don't end up repeating this again.

Shane Birkel 16:33
Yeah, that's great. There's something there's a connection I'm making, in the way that you encourage her to slow down. And the way you described how you start off your sessions, right, where people could be coming and ready to start yelling at each other, or whatever the usual pattern is, and you have them slow down, right. And I think it moves us into a different part of our brain and a different into different, more vulnerable emotions. But talk about why that is so important for people. Well,

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 17:04
if they come in already elevated and agitated. I mean, from a I mean, I'm not a I'm not a neuro neurologists and neuroscientists, but I know a little something. You know, if they come in, in that place of agitation, then they're sympathetic nervous system is dominating the experience. And they want to fight. They have this notion that I mean, the brain doesn't differentiate between a real danger or any emotional danger, right. And so they have this notion, I gotta come in guns blazing gloves on, I got to show up to therapy with this woman, and I got a fight. And I've been waiting to get here so I can fight. And so I say to them, you don't need to pay me to fight, you know how to fight. Now, if you want to come and sit with me, you have to be willing to try something different. And when you try something different, and you tuck when you take that pause, and so while they're breathing with me, I'm literally educating them on their vagus nerve. When you take that breath, you're actually stimulating that nerve that travels up your spine. And when it gets to the back of the skull, it literally tells your home, all of your vital organs that it passes, that you're safe in this moment. So the three of us are going to be in this moment. And in this moment, your body has the capacity to decrease inflammation. You can access your voice, you can release toxin, just in this moment, that's what we're doing. And that is what they do. Now, if they refuse, and I'm they they haven't had a couple of refused the breath ever. But if they refuse what I'm offering, and in my approach to therapy, I'm also okay with that. So not only when I'm teaching, like, I'm not attached to it, if you want to go. You're welcome.

Shane Birkel 19:10
Yeah, that's great. Well, yeah, and I think part of it is giving people permission, you know, modeling that acceptance for them about no matter how this session goes, no matter what types of conversations we have today, no matter what happens in your life, you know, there's a level of that acceptance and non judgement that people can bring to help them sort of not I think it's moving away from the fear that you mentioned, right? Like so many people are making decisions based on the fear of like, I'm supposed to do this a certain way. Yes.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 19:46
And then the rage that comes out. And that's also rooted in fear. And with all due respect, there are some I find there's some differences with men and women I love women and I love men. So, but I find that a lot of men that come to see me, but looks like anger is really their fear. Absolutely. And once they have a moment to name, their fear to name their hurt, what is the hurt? What is the fear? That looks like anger, and then they can say it. And then there's a whole new opportunity, no matter what the outcome is, is an opportunity for deeper connection and understanding. Yeah, so my couples break up and circle back.

Shane Birkel 20:36
Right, right. Well, and I think that it's so important and helpful for people to know, you know, if you decide to break up, you're still a good person, you're not doing anything wrong, everything's gonna be okay. You'll figure it out. Right? And then they can take a step back and just make whatever decision and if they choose to be with their partner, it's not because they have to. It's not because they're scared of what will happen if they don't. It's not like a pressure. It's because I know that I can leave and I'm freely choosing to stay with this person. Exactly.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 21:17
Exactly. And I think sometimes we get stuck in the movies, or stuck in the pressure of what other people say we're supposed to do. We go to war. And I'm always like, why did why are we in war? Why does it have to be a war? Yeah. And how painful that is. So I tell people I'm thinking about another woman I work with. And I think the conversation that I had with this particular client was in The Networker a couple of months ago, but a couple years ago, good Lord, we have this four year blatant break, where I don't know what the heck happened in four years. But it was a couple of years ago, and this woman had a lot of negative things to say about the father of her children and their everybody's an adult now. I said, where are your children conceived in love? She said, Yeah, I said, so at some point. You love this man. And you willingly conceived a child with this person. You weren't tricked? You weren't raised? Nothing happened to you. In this conception? She said no. I said, so. Is that enough of a reason? To let him eat a piece of chicken in your backyard at the cookout where he comes to see your kid. Is that enough? He said, Yeah, it is enough. That's it? Is that enough? Because the story, the story that she had was he came to the house to see his granddaughter and the daughter everyone was there and he was not allowed to eat. So it's like the 30 year 30 years of resentment. And her her friends were all allies in this war. That wasn't even worth fighting anymore. She didn't even know what she was still mad about. Yeah.

Shane Birkel 23:18
Right. Well, that reminds me to of something you and I were talking about before we started recording, which was, you know, people who experience a long term relationship maybe for 10 or 20 years, and then they, they the relationship is ending, and they say, oh my gosh, that was just a waste. I can't believe I wasted the last 10 years.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 23:39
Yeah, I say no. Yeah.

Shane Birkel 23:42
Yeah. How do you help people make sense of that? Oh,

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 23:45
I'm thinking of a woman that came to me one time and said, Oh, my God, oh my god, I'm so embarrassed. I was at a funeral with my husband. And both of my ex husband showed up. And I was like, what? Your three men commit to you in your life? And she was like, oh my god, I never thought about like that. Your grandma in Australia for you?

Shane Birkel 24:23
Yeah, that's such a great reframe.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 24:25
So when you say to people, why is it a failure to have attempted to go deep? Why is that the failure? So you try you tried to be committed. I'm always gonna applaud the attempt to commit. So you try and you did it for 10 years. And so if you in this rate, as right as you possibly can. There will be more opportunities for love Maybe this person was really, really designed to be a better friend to you than a partner. Maybe the only reason you were together was so you could have these children, or you could start this business, or you could get well. Or maybe he's just a really good friend to your mom, or your dad or your sister. And maybe that's why they were in your life. But there's no such thing as waiting 10 years in a desire to have a meaningful partnership.

Shane Birkel 25:37
Yeah, and think of how much people can learn from being in a relationship for a long period of time.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 25:43
There's so much to learn. Because what I tell people is, you're not here to study your partner, you're here to study yourself. You're here to learn to know yourself more deeply. And if at the end of this, you discover that what you know about yourself is whatever that thing is, does it mean that you are able to circle back and reconnect with this person in another way? Or does it mean that you also accept them for who they are? That's the biggest struggle. And that's something that I even struggle with, which has allowed me to be more kind to my to my clients who are struggling. And if you remember, the networker Susan Cain was talking about being an introvert. Were you at that?

Shane Birkel 26:32
Oh, yes. When she and David were talking together?

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 26:37
Well, when she was talking, and David was talking, and I know, you know, I know, David's partner and, and I'm listening to him. And I'm like, you know, being a complete extrovert, complete extrovert, and I married a complete introvert. And I spent so much time trying to make him an extrovert, or an inordinate amount of time going, what's wrong with you? Oh, what? And then I decided, through my writing with my grandmother, there's a story in here that I call unbelieving. And in the story, I have decided that I can't be married anymore, because we're too different. And writing with my grandmother, she's just like, I'll just say you're sorry. She says this, fix yourself. You've got this list of resentments. Fix yourself. And I fixed myself and decided that it's not my responsibility to make this person into something that he is not. It's my responsibility to be the best that I can be. All the time.

Shane Birkel 28:11
That's great. You know, in your work with couples, can you say a little bit more about those couples who do decide to stay together? You know, sort of along the lines of what you're talking about with your husband? You know, how do you help people cook? Because I think most people struggle with that question. At some point, you know, should I be in this relationship? Do I really want this? How do you help people through that?

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 28:39
For me, there's multiple factors. One is for us to understand how you ended up with this person in the first place, right? And there is there is something incomplete, in your soul, incomplete in your heart, that you really believe this person could complete for you. So you have to be thankful for that. Now, if you're unconscious, if it's unconscious, that has to be brought forth into your conscious awareness. And then also, you have to also be grateful that Oh, I needed this when I met you. If I just put it on myself, I think, you know, when I met my husband, I needed to finally meet a man. Interesting, interesting and just to have another awareness who I needed to I remember writing in my journal, I want to meet a man that accepts the fact that I'm an extrovert and my husband thought it was cute. Yeah,

Shane Birkel 29:40
it's great when you first start dating.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 29:44
But it was so cute that he liked me. Right? Yeah. And then after a while, I was like so you know, I have people like look at what were you looking for? What did you need? What What were you seeking? What was the hole in your heart from your parents, because none of us had complete parenting, none of us. And I'm a parent, and I didn't complete my job either. It's just not it's never complete. And so we keep walking, we keep trying to grow to fill in the things that our parents were unable to do. So I met my husband under that, and we all meet our partners under under that some parents have done better jobs than others. And so I have people like really identify like, what is it? I have them do their genogram together? Look at intimacy files, what happened? Well, who experienced abandonment? You know, I mingle and mix a little bit of other people's theories. You know, God bless the dead Sue Johnson. I think her notions of attachment and the teaching she has around it were so so critical. You know, if you were if you were put up for adoption at an early age or a late age, all that's going to impact how you're able to be in relationship. So I have people waiting, look at that. Oh, this is why I ended up with him. Oh, okay. Is there room for forgiveness for yourself around that fact. So that like just looking at the early part of the relationship. But I also think that aid of the relationship is also important to look at. If you've been together 14 years, sometimes outdated people were every seven years, your spells change? The your new creative,

Shane Birkel 31:35
right? You don't have every seven years, you don't have any of the same cells that you did seven years prior. Right. Is that right? Yeah.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 31:42
So your creation, you know, like, if you if you you, I would say okay, well, there's been two things since you married this person. So now it's new. Now you're a new person, you have this new body, you have this new face, you have these new wrinkles, you have the new gray hair, it's all new stuff. It wasn't there before. If your relationship is 14, it's a teenager. What do teenagers do? seven year olds a cute, 14 year old, they're not so cute. But what is this adolescent marriage need? That this little child marriage didn't need? And do you still love your teenager, even when they're a pain in your butt? Yes, you do. So what I had to what I what I what I try to get people to really look at is to see their marriage, as an infant, as a little child, as an adolescent, and as a grown up are like that. And once they're grown up, are they going to change that much? Can you accept them for who they are and still go and live your life? But the ones that stay together? There has to be a degree of acceptance. What parts of this can you accept now? I'm gonna be clear. I do not accept violence. I don't accept violence of the tongue, or violence of the body. And I think the tongue is true very, very dangerous. And so I'm also at an age now Shane and younger therapists struggle with this sometimes where I can be very direct with my couples. Okay, so you've decided you're gonna stay together? I'm clear you're going to stop calling him names. Yeah,

Shane Birkel 33:37
I appreciate that. Like it's it's helpful for people to hear oh

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 33:42
my god. A couple I was seeing it just straight up told her you're calm is a sword. This happened to be a theme to that couple two women. I said when you speak you I heard you literally slice her chest open the woman that had been sliced started to cry but the flight there started to cry. And I said you don't have permission to cut her any more

Shane Birkel 34:15
yeah wouldn't important thing for her to hear from you.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 34:17
Yeah, like I don't play around with it. I don't say Well, let's find out why. We can find out why after you put the knife down. Yeah, you know, but you got to put the knife down period like we're not negotiating it. It's a weapon. Yeah. And some some couple of therapists you know, disagree with me on that I'm better business that's fine. But I'm not gonna I'm not gonna let you bring weapons of destruction into the space. There's enough injury already happening. That you know name calling and physical violence, it will not be accepted and then we can work on you healing what's inside of you that lent itself to you speaking in such a violent way to someone that you love.

Shane Birkel 35:12
I like to tell people that conflict is healthy. setting boundaries is healthy, to telling your partner difficult things about not working for you in the relationship. That's very healthy. Yeah, all of that can be done in a very respectful way. In a very, you know, speaking from the first person, this personal reality, here's what isn't working for me. Here's what I need. Absolutely. In a violent way.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 35:39
Oh, my gosh, yes, it's not acceptable. Now, unless they agree to that, and most of my couples agree to it, because they come in the door. They know, like, the reason I go, let me get away with this crap. No, no, no. Yeah. To me, those are basic rules. Those, those are basic. But once they decided they want that they want to stay together. I'm like, Okay, let's do it. Let's do it. And then I want them to agree, it's going to happen over the course of time. But you need to understand that some of the elements of this person that annoys you are staying. Can you can you accept that some of these elements are staying, and some are going to leave. And it's interesting. Just last night, I was running a group in my backyard, I work from my home. I see clients in my house, I run groups in the backyard. And I will tell them women in my group, I was like, oh, no, I didn't mean for you to see my deck yet. Because my deck is a mess. For my lives. My deck is a mess. My husband's got all these things out there that I don't want on the deck. And I was just like, I do not like that stick over there. I don't like that branch. I don't like this. I don't even know what this thing is. But it's on my deck. And I just like

Shane Birkel 37:11
springtime, right, Gates still getting ready. Exactly.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 37:14
And is this something to be in a war over? No, but 15 years ago, I would have been embarrassed upset and maybe would have created a conflict over a pole on the deck? Why? So I'm trying to model that for people. Yeah. What is what is the battle? What what is worth fighting for? Yeah.

Shane Birkel 37:41
I think I don't know what you think I think of that as sort of a grieving process to grieving the acceptance of what I'm not getting from my partner is grieving in a healthy way. So that I can appreciate and have gratitude for what I am getting in the relationship. Exactly.

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 37:59
That is it. And that that what you just described in Angeles Aryans were is a highly developed healer. A healer that is highly developed, stopped looking at what's missing, and looks at what's there. And that's what I'm trying to do. That's what I'm trying to get my clients to do. Stuff is missing. There's always going to be something missing. What is here? What is here, what do you appreciate about what's the T right now? And then the other thing I'm thinking about SDR pearls, Bill. I think whatever the set, I don't remember how many books she's written. But one of her books, she talks about how in our culture, we expect our partner to be everything for us. Like what in the world? Yeah.

Shane Birkel 38:45
How that was meeting in captivity. Oh, okay. That book. Yeah. Right. And it's so true. Right? It was such a good observation, that we meet this person. And I think that part of that comes from movies and stuff that we watch. We meet this person and we think, oh my gosh, they're gonna fulfill everything that I need and be everything and the expectations just aren't even realistic. They are so

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 39:11
not realistic. Sometimes I say to women, and and then I'm back to talking about heterosexual couples, but I see it a lot in any couple. Is there a requirement that he that he has to be your girlfriend to write? Can he can he just be your husband? Can he just sit on the couch and and watch his football and my his business? Because he's fine. And I'm just wondering, like, what else is interesting to you besides Him? And is there a balance? Can we work together around creating balanced who else is in this support pie of people of lifestyle choices of interests, that can guide you to be at peace but some of that sense of of not being fulfilled, is really a longing for purpose. Because when we're living our purpose, we are less distracted by what our partner is or is not.

Shane Birkel 40:17
Yeah, and I love. That reminds me of something you said a little bit earlier, which was about, you know, if you're struggling in your relationship, turning it back on yourself, how am I focusing on my set working on myself and what I need before I start pointing fingers at what I'm not getting in my relationship? And

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 40:35
that is hard work. Because we do not want to do that we want to blame. We want to judge. Yeah. And the reality of it is, and a part of what my teacher always taught us was, that thing that you don't like, is also inside of you. So that's in this chapter of my life as a therapist as a you know, as a person. That's what I'm working on.

Shane Birkel 41:03
Yeah, I love that. Yeah. Thank you so much, Sabrina. Could you mention your book one more time and your website and anything else people can work? To find you?

Dr. Sabrina N'Diaye 41:15
Yes and it's on Amazon right now. Big Mama speaks.com is my website for her. My website for my practice is TheHeartNest.com. And I am having a ball teaching, writing retreats as my passion and forgiveness retreats. So I have some virtual ones. I have a virtual writing retreat coming up may 31. Oh, great. Hanging out with me for the weekend. I just finished one last week. And then I'm also doing an interfaith group that is ending next week, and I'm gonna do another round. It's called Jerusalem's daughters. It's an interfaith group for women to learn about each other, and to do peacebuilding out in the world. I

Shane Birkel 42:03
love that. I love that term peace building. That's such a wonderful mission that you have. All right, thank you. Thanks, Sabrina. Yeah, take care. It's always great talking to you. You too, sweetheart.

All right. Thank you so much, Sabrina, I'm so grateful for you. And thank you to all you listeners out there. If you have a moment, you can definitely leave a review or rating on the show. I'd really appreciate that wherever you listen to it. And don't forget to Subscribe. Also go over to CouplesTherapistCouch.com to find out more about all the episodes and everything going on there. As I mentioned before, I'm really excited that I have 4 spots still open for the Couples Therapist Inner Circle, if that's something you've been thinking about definitely joined today the doors are going to be closed tomorrow or as soon as those 4 spots fill up. So you can click on the link in the show notes to find out more details. Also you get a free month if you sign up, you won't pay anything you can check out the courses you can, you know see if it's a good fit for you. And if you don't like it, then you can just cancel by the end of the month and you won't have to pay anything at all. So check that out. Click the link in the show notes. This is Shane Birkel and this is The Couples Therapist Couch. Thank you all so much. Have a great week. Bye, everybody!

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