Relationships Matter: Episode Three

June 14, 2021

Welcome back to our newest blog series, 'Relationships Matter.' This week we had the privilege to chat with the wonderful Susanna Guarino! Get ready to hear about the good, the bad, and why Susanna is passionate about relationship health!

Q: What is your name, and what company do you work for?

My name is Susanna Guarino, and I am the founder of Good Earth Counseling!

Q: What brought you to work with couples?

I worked for a program called Healthy Relationships of the Finger Lakes for three years. Our full-time work was teaching healthy relationship workshops to teens and adults in a rural county in upstate NY. I loved learning about relationships and became very motivated to help others have better ones. I learned that the data show that healthy relationships are key to surviving the ups and downs of life and thriving as your best self. We all need each other and too few of us get any healthy relationship education in school! A lot of us don't have great examples of healthy relationships growing up, either. Luckily, there are so many resources out there for developing and strengthening relationship skills. I love working with people in this area.

Q: What is the most rewarding element of your work? Why?

I love seeing how people, with effort and persistence and commitment, get better and better at really listening deeply to each other and expressing their thoughts and feelings in words. I love it when they are able to drop below the surface-level issues and arguments and get to the core of what they feel and need. When they ultimately come to understand themselves and others more intimately. It is a beautiful process.

Q: What challenge(s) do you think most couples face?

The research shows that 67% of all couples' problems are perpetual. That means there's no real solution. For example, one partner is very messy and the other partner wants things neat and tidy. Over time, these unsolveable issues can get stuck when both people have trouble compromising or accepting how their partner is different. But couples can get un-stuck by practicing deep listening, understanding and accepting each other. It's important to remember that it's totally normal to have many issues on which you and your partner disagree. The key is just accepting and understanding each other when there isn't an obvious solution to your difference.

Q: What changes do you wish to see in society when it comes to relationship health?

I'm not a luddite, but I do think we are losing some of our relationship and social skills because of an over-reliance on (even addiction to) screens. So a wonderful change would be if people were more conscious of investing in their relationships in terms of setting aside quality time to spend with loved ones, and being intentional about how much time they are spending on screens. Some research came out showing that many couples spend no more than 10 minutes talking to each other each day. We need to talk, play, have fun together in order for our relationships to stay healthy and strong.

Q: What is a common misconception about relationship therapy/the work you do?

Some couples expect that their one hour session per week will fix their relationship. But actually, couples therapy takes commitment and effort during the week, not just at the therapy appointment. You have to be willing to make some changes, get out of your comfort zone and take constructive feedback. It can be a tough process, but also often fun! It's an investment in your future, and you get out of it what you put into it.

Q: Who is your role model, mentor, or hero? Why?

I'm a huge fan of the Gottmans - Drs. John and Julie Gottman. They've been studying relationships for 40 years. They've developed so many helpful tools for therapists and couples to improve their relationships, and it's all based on data from the thousands of couples that they studied. I'm trained up to level 3 in their method and looking forward to learning more.

Q: Where can our couples find you on the web?

My website is: http://www.goodearthcounseling.com

Conclusion

Thanks to Susanna for her insight + expertise! Looking for more help + advice regarding relationships, money, finances, and so much more? Sign up for our brand new premarital workshop and look out for more ways to connect with pros like Susanna, when we launch our marketplace later this year.

Newsletter

Sign up to get relationship inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

The latest relationship advice and support from our editors to help you invest in your relationship.

Relationship inspiration. Right in your inbox.