Rescuing Relational Meaning by Tom Stone Carlson and Amanda Haire

This presentation entitled, ‘Of drawers and coffee cups: Rescuing Relational Meaning from the Otherwise “Ordinary” Everyday Events of Life’, is by Tom Stone Carlson and Amanda Haire. We’re delighted to offer this video presentation from Tom and Amanda which builds upon their recent paper, ‘Toward a Theory of Relational Accountability: An Invitational Approach to Living Narrative Ethics in Couple Relationships‘. This paper described an approach to couples therapy that seeks to help couples intimately apply the ethics of narrative ideas in their personal lives and relationships. This intimate application of narrative ideas is focused on helping partners to gain an appreciation for the shaping effects of their actions on one another’s stories of self and to engage in intentional relationship practices that nurture and positively shape the stories of self of their partners.

Published April 24, 2015

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Kassandra Pedersen

    Yes George, I agree with you, what a simple question that can switch the focus of the conversation…

    As I understand it , this question first of all, allows the person himself to think and recognize his own intentions for the relationship, then it gives him the chance to recognize the extent to which his actions are consistent with his intentions and finally to come in touch with the effect of the mismatch between his actions and his intentions, to his mate and of course to the relationship itself. So it’s not about nourishing feelings of guilt or anything like that, but to open space for the couple to feel connected around same intentions for their relationship, and investigate their practices that distort their will to express these intentions.

    That was a very useful video to watch.Thank you!

    1. Tom Stone Carlson


      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about about our work. We are glad that you found the video to be useful. We really like the way that you highlight that the purpose of the types of relational conversations that we encourage couples to enter into is not about bring forth feelings of guilt but to open space for partners to feel connected around their best intentions for the one another and the relationship.

      In fact, even when we engage partners in intimate accountability conversations, where they explore the unintended messages that they have been sending on another over the years and the shaping effects of those messages on their partner’s stories of self, it has been our experience that these conversation rarely bring forward feelings of guilt. On the contrary, we have noticed that partners experience a newfound commitment to enter into relationship practices that are based on notions of love, compassion, and accountability. There is something about gaining an appreciation for the ways our actions have shaped our partners’ s stories of self that is transformative of lives and relationships.

      Thanks again for your thoughts!

      Tom and Amanda

  2. Georgios Vleioras

    What an amazing simplicity in this way of thinking! I am so used to the landscape of identity and landscale of action, but focusing on one person, that I felt weird that I had never thought about asking this simple question: What does this tell her about how you view your relationship? A switch in focus! Thanks a lot for this interesting insight!

    1. Tom Stone Carlson


      We are glad that you found our ideas so accessible. We really appreciate the way that your words, “an amazing simplicity,” capture both our experience and hope with these ideas. While we believe that there is a great deal of beauty and complexity in the theoretical and philosophical ideas that inform the ethics of relational accountability, we have found that the practices are quite accessible for both therapists and clients alike.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


      Tom and Amanda

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