Can Couple Counseling Really Help?

Couples go through many stages of life. An unex­pect­ed change could be rea­son for ther­a­py. Imag­ine a young cou­ple, both about 23 and one had to pre­cip­i­tous­ly leave their apart­ment. Due to the dearth of decent hous­ing, Jere (not their actu­al name) moved into Jana’s apart­ment. Jana, a physics major, and Jere, a graph­ic artist, came togeth­er with love, pas­sion, and opti­mism. They had no idea how to squeeze a fun, easy-does-it rela­tion­ship into a stu­dio apart­ment. How did the merg­er go? The bicy­cle hel­mets got in the way of the laun­dry bas­kets. Shoes got kicked around, and worse. Mak­ing love wasn’t a romp when Jana’s perched cof­fee cup spilt over Jere’s com­put­er.

Con­tin­ue read­ing

Self-love in a Time of Upheaval

More clients have had thoughts of sui­cide this year in my psy­chother­a­py office than in the last five years. I’m not scared for them, but as a fel­low trav­el­er, I grieve for those con­tem­plat­ing sui­cide. One woman comes in and clutch­es a pea­cock pil­low. In the ear­ly Spring a depressed client comes and sips chamomile/ginger tea. I want them to enter the door and curl up in com­fort on a sofa. We talk about their loss­es, grat­i­tude, and per­son­al strengths in a warm den of soft­ness.

Climb Away from Dan­ger

Sui­cide behav­ior is an act of des­per­a­tion.

Fear of the future and hope­less­ness grip our young peo­ple. Many don’t expect to raise chil­dren, many can’t plan the next 10 years. “I would go off of birth con­trol tomor­row, but will my chil­dren end up liv­ing in some kind of dystopia?” Because of cli­mate change, the Earth is becom­ing more and more inhos­pitable and dis­as­ter looms more immi­nent­ly.

I’m remem­ber­ing two grad­u­ate stu­dents who brave­ly came into ther­a­py. They resilient­ly crawled away from the sui­cide precipice. Con­tin­ue read­ing

Torching Love with Cybersex

Excus­es heard in the mar­riage therapist’s room–

Hid­den Love

I didn’t intend my flat­tery to be tak­en as an invi­ta­tion for sex.”

She was the one to start talk­ing dirty. I was just jok­ing.”

He sent me a sexy pic­ture that blew my socks off.” Does this sound famil­iar?

The inter­net per­me­ates all the cor­ners of our lives. Many peo­ple assume that cyber­sex isn’t a threat to the mar­riage. When cou­ples com­mit to each oth­er, the con­tract doesn’t explic­it­ly say, ‘No sex­ting and no court­ing on email.’ Have you ever heard of a mar­riage vow that says, “I promise to be a lov­ing and faith­ful spouse in sor­row and in joy, in sick­ness and in health, with flir­ta­tious and with chaste texts. Con­tin­ue read­ing

Marriage Happiness & Weight Gain

Why do women put on weight after they get mar­ried? I have recent­ly had some clients moan about their extra pounds. This can be depress­ing but it’s com­mon.

Marriage Appetite

Mar­riage Appetite

In the first 10 years of mar­riages women in the US hap­pi­ly mar­ried gain an aver­age of 37 lbs., while those unhap­pi­ly mar­ried gain 54 lbs. So choose your food and your mate wise­ly.

Over 6,000 Aus­tralian women were stud­ied by Pro­fes­sor Annette Dob­son. The 10-year weight gain for a mar­ried woman was 15 lbs if she had a part­ner but not a child, and 20 lbs. if she was mar­ried with a baby. Mar­riage is linked to increased BMI (body mass index) for men and women of all eth­nic groups. In North Car­oli­na a study found that mar­ried men and women in their ear­ly 20s gained 6 – 9 more pounds than sin­gle peers. Con­tin­ue read­ing

Helpful Hints on Living in Difficult Times

Preventing Suicide

ignacioMaking a con­nec­tion with one per­son, even a ther­a­pist, can keep you alive,” says Gil Zals­man a psy­chi­atric researcher at Tel Aviv Uni­ver­si­ty. What can pre­vent sui­cide for those of us at risk? Stud­ies, found that clin­i­cians were able to reduce self-harm for patients with a his­to­ry of self-harm by mak­ing phone calls to them. Anoth­er study dis­cov­ered that when patients are released from the hos­pi­tal and are then sent a post­card remind­ing them of a hot­line num­ber to call, their sui­cide attempts are decreased sui­cide by 50%. Con­tin­ue read­ing

What If I’m Not Married before 40?

silo girlsunHow do you know what is the best time in your life plans to get mar­ried? Many cou­ples come to mar­riage ther­a­py explor­ing this cru­cial ques­tion. Is this part­ner the right choice? Many peo­ple are ready to get mar­ried, but are not pre­pared to stay mar­ried. What’s the dif­fer­ence? Get­ting mar­ried is the romance and the shar­ing of your life up to that point. You are attract­ed to each oth­er, and as my moth­er used to say, “He (or she) is a good catch.” Stay­ing mar­ried is where cou­ple coun­sel­ing can help. Do you have the skills to move thor­ough the ups and downs of life; how do you make major deci­sions togeth­er; what about the first (sec­ond and third) huge fight? The medi­an age of women and men get­ting mar­ried for the first time is now 27 and 29, respec­tive­ly. That com­pares to a medi­an age of 20 for women and 23 for men in 1960, accord­ing to the Pew Research Cen­ter. Con­tin­ue read­ing

Working Through Problems, It Takes Work

Solving Problems Together

Solv­ing Prob­lems Togeth­er

How can cou­ples work through their prob­lems?

To make a com­mit­ment to anoth­er per­son is more than a busi­ness con­tract. Whether you are legal­ly mar­ried or involved in a seri­ous rela­tion­ship, it takes atten­tion and work to make deci­sions. Where will you live? How much mon­ey do you need? How do you pay the bills and divide the tasks of liv­ing togeth­er? Will you raise chil­dren togeth­er? What hol­i­days will you cel­e­brate togeth­er? For a cou­ple who is form­ing into mar­riage or liv­ing togeth­er, who will be your fam­i­ly, or your ‘peeps.’ Con­tin­ue read­ing

Does Ray Rice Need Counseling?

As a ther­a­pist, I work with abusers and vic­tims, though not at the same time. Nor does any­one fall into an easy cat­e­go­ry. No one is blame­less. Often vio­lence like an addic­tion breeds on itself. fam siloquetteWe’ve been hear­ing about the NFL and Ray Rice’s blud­geon­ing assault on his wife, Janay (née Palmer). Not only is it shock­ing the Rice punched and kicked his wife uncon­scious, but Rice showed a com­plete lack of care or remorse for her as she’s lying bleed­ing by the ele­va­tor. He also beat her up sev­er­al years ago. They got mar­ried the next day. He did it once with­out seri­ous con­se­quences, are you sur­prised that the mar­i­tal vio­lence con­tin­ued? Con­tin­ue read­ing

Super Care with Divorce

The US laws should declare 2 types of divorces. I believe Divorce between 2 peo­ple is com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent than a divorce that involves kids. TunnelLet’s call it super-divorce. Super­di­vorce is two adults sep­a­rat­ing with kids dragged unwill­ing­ly into the upheaval. Legal prob­lems, prop­er­ty, hous­ing, mon­ey should not be a child’s prob­lem. Swear­ing, demean­ing com­ments, blam­ing the oth­er par­ent is so typ­i­cal in divorces. Does any child ben­e­fit from hear­ing “Idiot!” “Slut!” or “You’re a los­er, no one could live with you.”? Adults don’t even want to hear it; but those words sear hot­ly into a child’s psy­che. Con­tin­ue read­ing

HELP. We’re Breaking Up

HELP. I’m Break­ing Up with my Boyfriend

When a pair of love­birds break up, expect pain, blush­ing, and anger. It’s a bust. The deal is bro­ken. Your heart is raw, stabbed with razor thoughts. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAImag­ine you go to a par­ty and you see your Ex- danc­ing with some­one else. That ador­ing look she gives him used to be for you. Don’t spas out. Of course you’re upset when he leaves you. Maybe you can’t go to that school reunion, because you are furi­ous at the guy. Maybe he fathered your child and then for­got to get a job to pay for the child. (The term sperm-donor is said with hiss­ing dis­dain from sin­gle moms who speak in my fam­i­ly coun­sel­ing office.) Con­tin­ue read­ing