COVID — A Catalyst for Counseling

GoslingsTHERAPY CAN’T SOLVEPANDEMIC. Right? So why seek coun­sel­ing when our lifestyles are in chaos? The dan­ger of con­t­a­m­i­na­tion and ill­ness is real. Some lead­ers focus on resus­ci­tat­ing the econ­o­my, some lead­ers are envi­sion­ing a uni­ver­sal health plan. Cer­tain­ly, hav­ing a rig­or­ous pub­lic health sys­tem that pro­vides oodles of test­ing, track­ing of those exposed to the virus, and inves­ti­gat­ing a vac­cine is para­mount. Psy­chother­a­py def­i­nite­ly adds strength to the tapes­try of health care. How?

Con­tin­ue read­ing

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

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

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

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

Is having an Affair, …fair?

Commit­ted cou­ples sail through life’s high seas, some smooth­ly and some rough­ly. Except for a few eccen­tric eddies in the stream, most peo­ple adhere to the moral code of monogamy with their spouse. The creed of most Amer­i­cans is to have one sex­u­al OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApart­ner at a time. But the fact is, anoth­er sex­u­al part­ner may lurk below deck. More than oth­er mar­tial argu­ments, an affair rocks the boat vio­lent­ly. The mar­riage is strand­ed ashore, ship­wrecked, or goes imme­di­ate­ly into the repair dock. Mar­riage ther­a­pists are the mechan­ics when your rela­tion­ship is strug­gling with mul­ti­ple sex­u­al relationships.

Few fixed sta­tis­tics show how often affairs occur. The nature of affairs pre­vents hon­esty. (What respectable father who talks to his son about the ‘facts of life’ would admit to sleep­ing around?) Is an affair dis­hon­est when nobody knows about it? Social sci­en­tists say gross­ly that about a third of mar­ried men and a fifth of mar­ried women have had an affair, a lover, a para­mour. With­in the US, about 1 in every 2.7 cou­ples is touched by infi­deli­ty. (p. 1 Abrahms Spring, 2012)

Con­tin­ue read­ing

Therapy Soothes and Challenges

I love my work, and I know this work delves deep into who I am. When I first start­ed to do coun­sel­ing with cou­ples, I stud­ied com­pli­cat­ed tech­niques like Mil­ton Ericson’s hyp­no­sis, and Vir­ginia Satir’s work on anx­i­ety that bur­rows inside your body. I watched in amaze­ment 15 years ago as trau­ma was elim­i­nat­ed with EMDR (Eye Move­ment Repro­cess­ing by Shapiro). I then stud­ied with Judith Her­man who wrote “the Book” onSueSerena heal­ing after acute trau­ma. One nev­er gets bored with the study of fam­i­ly ther­a­py. Con­sid­er these requests by parents:

  • Can you cure chil­dren suf­fer­ing from enuresis?”
  • What hap­pens when my part­ner uses spy­ware on my computer?”
  • When I sus­pect Janelle’s using drugs and she denies it, should I surep­tious­ly read her journal?”

It is my plea­sure to help fam­i­lies, but I don’t take cred­it for cur­ing the prob­lem. Ther­a­py can help make crush­ing sched­ules more bear­able; realign the merid­i­ans of pow­er among par­ents and chil­dren; get par­ents pad­dling in synch instead of row­ing against each oth­er. The stress lev­el and com­pli­cat­ed after school activ­i­ties packs in too many expec­ta­tions. Headaches and stom­achaches can give cues as to whether stress is high. In ther­a­py I deal with the irri­tat­ing peb­ble in the shoe, and the chaos of flash­backs. Plus I now know how much the work is help­ing myself. The old adage says, “You teach the sub­ject that you most need to learn.”

Con­tin­ue read­ing