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Identifying and Healing Triggers: Part II

Updated: Feb 27

 As a couples therapist, I have seen just how much triggers can impact a relationship. This topic comes up so frequently that I decided to split the post in two parts. The previous portion looked at individual ways of dealing with triggers while this part will focus more on how you can help your partner through them.


It's crucial that both partners understand each other’s triggers and work together to heal from them. Are you saying you shouldn’t have to work with your partner’s triggers because you’re not the one that caused them? It’s true, you didn’t, but you’re in a relationship now. Please work with your partner, not against them. You will both benefit.


Here are some ways that a partner can help heal from triggers:


1.   Validate their feelings: One of the most important things a partner can do when they notice their loved one is triggered is to validate their feelings. You can do that by acknowledging their emotions and showing empathy. You don’t want to invalidate their reality, deny it or try to make it go away. This could sound like “I can see that this situation is making you upset, and I understand why you feel that way.”

2.   Create a safe space. When a person is triggered, they usually feel unsafe and vulnerable. In that moment, it is important to create a safe space for them to express their emotions without fear of judgment or criticism. This can look like finding a quiet and private space to talk, turning off the TV and putting the phone down, and actively listening to your partner.

3.   Help them regulate their emotions. When someone is triggered, they may struggle to manage their feelings. You can help your partner by using techniques such as breathwork, mindfulness or soothing touch. I have many tools for emotional regulation that I offer to my couples to pick and choose from.

4.   Offer support: Healing from triggers can be a long process. It is essential to offer your partner consistent and ongoing support. This can include checking on them regularly and asking them how they are doing. Patience is key here.

5.   Seek professional help: In some cases, triggers may be deep-rooted and require the help of mental health practitioner to heal fully. As a partner, you can support your loved one by gently encouraging them to seek therapy.


Healing from triggers requires both partners to work together to create a safe and supportive environment. By validating your partner’s feelings, creating a safe space, helping them regulate their emotions, offering support, and seeking professional help when needed, you can help your loved one heal and strengthen your relationship.



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