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How to Get the Most From Your Couples Therapy

Couples are often uncertain what to expect from the process of couples therapy. They are not sure of what to expect of the therapist or even if the therapist has any expectations of them.
 
I have found most couples approach therapy with the notion that each person will describe their distress and somehow the therapist will assist them to create a happier, more functional, relationship. They expect to learn some new or better skills. However, most people hope their partner will do most of the learning in problem areas.
After 30 years of clinical experience and specializing in working with thousands of couples, I have arrived at some guidelines that can make our work more effective.… Read more…

Taking the stress out of holiday preparation

Sisyphus Man rolling huge concrete ball up hill.from Greek mythology was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, getting close to the top only to see it rolling down again. Does your holiday preparation feel like a similar fate? For example, let's say you are hosting the happy event. Let's assume the lion’s share of preparation has always fallen on you. Perhaps you have functioned like Sisyphus: every year you do most of the work, hoping your partner will step up and initiate more so you can enjoy the gathering. When that doesn’t happen, you feel depleted and angry. Like Sisyphus, you have been condemned to repeat the process.… Read more...

What new marriages can learn from failed restaurants

couple visiting luxury restaurantAs you probably know, the divorce rate for American couples in a first marriage is about 50%. When you factor in the high numbers of couples who don’t divorce, but stay together in mutual misery, the track record for failed marriages is even worse.… Read more...

Disaster Preparedness for Your Marriage

Empty couch in earthquake I live with my wife, Ellyn, over a major earthquake fault line in the San Francisco Bay area. It’s an area famous for past and inevitable future quake distasters. Geological experts predict another big one is coming. Be prepared. Ellyn and I have stored a few bottles of water and a camping stove. Do you think that is sufficient? Neither do the experts. They say if we retrofit the foundation of our home we can withstand almost all but the most severe shake rattle and rolls. Have we taken advantage of this knowledge? Or do we wait until disaster hits with the violence that could wreck our lives for years. We wait.… Read more...

Is your marriage in distress? Repair the dam before it’s too late.

Johnstown_flood_225Perhaps you have heard of the famous Johnstown flood on May 31, 1889. It was caused by catastrophic failure of the South Fork Dam 14 miles upstream of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. What could this have to do with a marriage in distress?… Read more...

Tracking Success by Doing “The Daily Double”

Sport couple of athletes successHere’s something you can do for your relationship today. It’s called The Daily Double and it's a way of tracking success in your relationship. You earn two points today by doing two positive things on the positive list below, while avoiding doing any of the negative behaviors from the list at the end.… Read more...

New Research: A big cause of marital distress is . . . Santa Claus.

for santa syndrome blog v2That’s right dear reader, Santa Claus causes marital distress. Please back away from the ledge and take a deep breath. You will need it for what follows. What is a common tradition for many children at Christmas time? They write to Santa for all the things they want. Or they sit on his lap in a shopping mall and tell him directly. Then they wait for the big day. “Whoopee – look what Santa brought me!” the kids say. “I just asked. And then there it was … a miracle. I didn’t have to do a darn thing except ask for it. Just by asking, I got a lot of what I wanted. I must be really special.” Fast forward to a distressed couple in a therapist’s office.… Read more...

Valentine’s Day Couples Game: Design Your Ideal Partner

heart on purple_225 Do you have a partner with a habit or flaw you’d like to eliminate, tweak or fix? Let’s turn it into a Valentine's Day Couples Game where you can design your ideal partner.… Read more...

6 Ways to Holiday-Proof Your Relationship

nuts, oramge and xmas lightsThe hustle and the bustle of the holiday season are upon us. It’s not an easy time even for folks in perfectly happy relationships, much less anyone who feels tension or is struggling with a significant other. Here are 6 ways to reduce holiday stress.… Read more...

Rituals for Mother’s Day

Breakfast in Bed Contrary to the cynic’s belief, Mother’s Day is not an invention of Hallmark. The roots actually predate Hallmark, going back to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Now's a good time to think about Mother's Day rituals in your family.… Read more...
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