Occasionally local news agencies will contact me (as well as other counselors, I’m sure) for my opinion on some mental health topic related to whatever news item they’re working on at the time. Observing the results of this is one of many life experiences that remind me that communication is imperfect, and that we are all misunderstood at times.
Transitions Counseling Blog
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I believe that we were created for healthy, peaceful relationships and this is foundational to my having great hope for our capacity to grow, change and heal. Regardless of one’s spirituality, religion or faith, I think that many of us sense on an intuitive level, deep in our gut, that humanity was meant for better things than the brokenness which we all observe and experience.
This is Part 5 of 5 in the series Exploring Conflict in Relationships (2013 Interview).
In our culture we tend to place undue pressure on the marriage relationship, filling it with expectations (conscious and unconscious) that this relationship (and our partner in particular) will meet all of our needs. This is problematic for a number of reasons, but one of the most important is how this default approach to romantic relationships inadvertently leads to a loss of self.
This is Part 4 of 5 in the series Exploring Conflict in Relationships (2013 Interview).
I am periodically asked if relationships (particularly marriages) can be repaired. Thankfully, the answer is Yes! The core requirement is that both parties still want to repair the relationship, or at least are still open to repairing the relationship. Sometimes one or both parties can be in a period of uncertainty, where they are trying to figure out their feelings regarding whether or not they still want to work on the relationship. Though that is usually a difficult season (for both parties), even in those times the door is still open to healing and reconnecting.
This is Part 2 of 5 in the series Exploring Conflict in Relationships (2013 Interview).
If you are a new couple (i.e., newly dating, engaged or married), and you have an awareness that relational conflict is a part of life, it can be desirable to try to find ways to prepare for those future conflicts. Nobody likes pain, and so if we can do things now to reduce future pain, that is appealing. I do think that we can do growing in the present that does positively impact our future conflicts. However, where we can get into trouble is when we focus primarily on trying to somehow prevent or avoid future conflicts–that actually ends up “feeding” our fears rather than helping us build the muscles we need for navigating conflict constructively.
This is Part 1 of 5 in the series Exploring Conflict in Relationships (2013 Interview).
Sometimes we have conflicts with those close to us (especially our partner) that seem disproportionate to the actual circumstances (e.g, an intense fight about the TV remote). We might wonder about our self and/or our partner, “Why is this such a big deal?” And we might be tempted to minimize things because we don’t (yet) understand what is going on (with us and/or our partner). However, if we’re fighting about it, then something is bothering one (or both) of us. The key is learning how to take those fights that seem to be about “nothing” and turn them into opportunities to learn more about the unidentified something that is needing to be worked through.
January 1, 2013 (Updated Jul 9, 2016) by — Intended Audience: General
The beginning of the New Year can be both a time of reflecting on the past year as well as looking ahead and setting goals for the future. Often this involves making New Year’s Resolutions. This may be in part because the holidays, though they can be joyous at times, are always more imperfect than we would wish (e.g., last-minute rushing/preparing, tensions with family members, lower physical wellness regarding food, exercise and sleep). Culturally we have the tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions with some intensity (“I’m really going to stick with it this time!”). But with that there is also a cultural joke about how seldom we stick with these resolutions long-term. Perhaps we need a different way of thinking about them.
October 25, 2012 (Updated Jul 9, 2016) by — Intended Audience: General
I recently had the pleasure of watching Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and was reflecting afterwards on how some of the themes (especially of finding oneself or becoming more oneself, and the strength that comes from such growth) relate to the counseling that I enjoy (both as a counselor, in helping others walk out their journey, and in my own counseling as a client walking out my growth journey).
This post is a little unusual in that I don’t typically do product reviews, but I have found myself repeatedly recommending these sound machines to clients for a variety of uses and so it seemed worth while to write about what a helpful addition these appliances can be to your home.
March 18, 2011 (Updated Aug 18, 2013) by — Intended Audience: General
Having been a client myself at various points over the years (as well, of course, now being a provider of counseling services) I thought I would share some of my thoughts about selecting a counselor for oneself. The title of this post is a little misleading in that I don’t think there are any perfect counselors, nor do I think it would be good for us as people if there were. While I think we may at times long for someone who has no struggles of their own and would care for us perfectly, I think that such a person would feel so different from ourselves that it would make it hard to experience their help as being relevant. In my past experiences as a client, I have found it comforting to experience my counselors as being human, just like me in that they have imperfections and frailties, and yet having walked further down the path of growth than I yet had. In short, working with a counselor who is human like you and yet has grown in places that you have not yet grown instills hope that you too can grow in those places. A counselor who presents themselves as completely without struggles, limitations, weaknesses, etc. can in comparison feel hard to relate to since deep down we all know ourselves to be imperfect.