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Twelve Rules for productive couples counseling

I have twelve rules that have proven effective for having productive couples counseling. These rules particularly apply to couples in distress, who wonder if they should even be together at all.

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Twelve Rules for productive couples counseling

Ahhhh. We do love a quiz that promises to reveal ourselves to our, well, ourselves. And big business loves to to see how well you might fit into their organizational team. That we love personality tests is the why that drives their proliferation. But I wonder if you might like to understand why many of them are junk, clickbait, and rather useless. And how to pick one that gives useful information about your personality. I am going to help you do that!

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Twelve Rules for productive couples counseling

Couples can be cruel to each other in many different ways. Couples betray each other in many different ways. Beyond the obvious betrayal of affairs, cruelty is is far more common that we think within our most valued relationship. Just about every couple practices this, at least occasionally.

This cruelty is physical, emotional , psychological, and spiritual. We knowingly and deliberately hurt our partner. Many times it can be what I think of as a micro-cruelty. This is something small, like hurtful sarcasm or the “forgotten” task or obligation. We do this perhaps out of selfishness, or more often, to make ourselves hurt less in a relationship that is already aching. And we do this to punish them for something they did or didn’t do, but most often, we do this instead of looking inside of ourselves to grow up.

Being in a committed relationship always makes for friction and problems. Your relationship is a crucible for experiencing friction and uncertainty. It is fuel for growth and transformation. The right question to ask is “Can I be who I strive to be and remain connected to this person who means the most to me?”

Your relationship is a crucible for experiencing friction and uncertainty.

The logical conclusion to this is that you must reduce the cruelty within the relationship, not eliminate the friction. The friction is your compass point signaling the need for growth and change. If you pay attention to it, it can lead you to make the changes needed for your own growth. This requires that you be brave enough to voice what is happening for you to your partner in a way that can be heard by them. That doesn’t mean you are responsible for their (possibly) emotional response.

When you feel stuck, and don’t know what to do to make it better, sometimes living with the uncertainty you feel is best. Things can appear quite black and white at the highest point of anger, confusion and mistrust. You do not see clearly, even though it feels like you do. Even with the most blatant trust breaches.

Stay in it while taking care of yourself. When you can, reach out to your partner from the best parts of yourself.

If you need help with this, contact me here. It may not be “the answer” you want, but know that the process of being in relationship with another is exactly that. There is no one answer. The relationship you are in is your opportunity for growth. How you choose to use it will determine the outcome.

In addition to my degree in clinical social work, I have a masters degree in public health. One important goal of public health is to prevent disease from spreading. I want to help you see the costs to you of broken (or non-existent) boundaries by using the analogy of vaccines. First you need to understand that prevention is often invisible unless you look at the prevented costs. Here’s an example of that.

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The Worry Box

The worry box technique is a simple skill used to help you manage when and how you worry. This sounds simplistic, and on its face it is. However, the results can truly help you place and pace worry better than simply allowing the random worries to crawl around in your head in the unending, unresolved circular pattern they tend to create.

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Why bother using coping skills?

Why Bother Using Coping Skills?

If you aren’t practicing coping skills you learn in therapy regularly while calm, there’s a good chance a skill such as deep belly breathing won’t be as effective as you’d like. When the nervous system dysregulates quickly to fight or flight, instantly really, that lets me know you may need to work on stretching the threshold for your fight or flight response, which requires practicing coping skills when calm.

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boost your relationship happiness

This isn’t the typical advice column, so you are duly warned. It’s a two minute read, so no excuses, to learn five ways to boost your relationship happiness. Read more

Your OCD Thoughts Are False

Your OCD thoughts (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) are false alarms, and you have to treat them as such. What research from Dr. Jeffrey M. Schwartz, UCLA School of Medicine shows: Bio-behavioral treatment works for retraining the brain that is stuck in OCD thought patterns. It’s not easy, but it is longer lasting and more permanently effective than relying on what he calls the “water wings” approach to treatment—that is meds only. There is no medication on the planet that will retrain your brain. Schwartz describes doing this training in the four steps below.

There is no medication on the planet that will retrain your brain.

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Dump your spam

How often do you dump your spam? If I asked you how often you get spam, I bet there would be a different answer. I could go to my spam folder daily and see dozens of useless offers, from site SEO “experts” to weirdo names like “instrut” or “esiff”, and many foreign language offers to do who knows what. I don’t know, and I don’t care. I never look at the content.

Not looking at the content is a normal behavior for those who receive a lot of spam emails. But what about those of you who receive lots of unwanted spammy thoughts, intrusive thoughts that make you cringe, or ones where you genuinely fear that you might carry out some heinous deed? Frequent, frightening, obsessive, or disturbing thoughts are the hallmark of obsessive compulsive disorder of the thought variety, aka OCD. I’m going to name some frequent fliers that occur for people with OCD, and give examples, because so much shame permeates this disorder. It needs to be said out loud to remove the stigma. You are not alone. Good, kind people have these tormenting thoughts, and I want to help them, possibly you.

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solo travel

Solo travel lets you wander. There is no schedule, other people’s expectations, or anything keeping you from a nap. It’s just you and time.
And even though I’m happily married, we let each other have this freedom, for many reasons.

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