What’s Your Kind of March Madness?

While the sincerest of basketball fans begin to set up their March Madness brackets on who they’d like to see win or lose about this time of year...there’s another form of madness that happens in March that may be more applicable to more of us that don’t follow the ball up and down the court! We’re in that teasing state of seasons where winter is not quite over, but most of us are ready to move onto the warmth and revitalization by swinging into the season of spring! We can see it in the … [Read more...]

Communication Skills: How to Speak, Listen and Respond to your Loved Ones

The goal of effective communication is mutual understanding. Often, we forget that communicating is an art. They are so many little pieces that play an important role in the way we communicate to others such as our verbal expression (written, oral, and visual) and nonverbal communication such as our body language. I would like to review with you some helpful ideas about how to express yourself when things are difficult to communicate. Remember to practice the following three main skills of … [Read more...]

The Who, What, Why, When & How of Boundaries

Who You. If you are a living, breathing, human being, then boundary setting is for you. In fact, research shows that some of the most loving and caring people are those who are have good boundaries. Everyone benefits from setting healthy boundaries. What To understand what boundaries are, we need also need an understanding of what they are NOT. A boundary is NOT a threat, manipulation, or ultimatum. A boundary is a clear, honest assessment of what works for you, and what doesn’t. In … [Read more...]

The Leap to Conclusions

I think it is fair to say that most of us want answers. However, I don’t know if most people want to swim through the sea of information that leads to greater understanding. Far too often we make decisions or try to solve a problem without taking the time to gather all the information; without a studious attempt to understand. We gather a piece of information here and a piece of information there, and then we make our conclusion. Because we live in a world that is saturated by information, I … [Read more...]

How to Build Trust by “BRAVING” it

How do we rebuild trust? This is a common question that couples ask when they come to meet with me. The concept of trust can be a complicated one. I suggest that we define what makes up trust in a relationship to begin with. After we've defined trust, we can discuss ways to rebuild it. One of the best definitions of trust that I have found comes from Brene Brown's talk, "The Anatomy of Trust." She suggests an acronym that helps define the components that make up trust. B - Boundaries: Trust … [Read more...]

Finding Inner Peace

Don’t Worry! You won’t need to travel to a monastery in Tibet. Calming your inner self is a skill that can be learned through consistent practice. Here are some principles that can be of use in working toward an increased state of serenity. 1. Use Some Mindfulness Mindfulness can be especially handy because you can do it anytime and anywhere! In it’s most basic form, mindfulness involves noticing your thoughts without judgment and tuning into your senses. If you want to practice, follow … [Read more...]

Managing Stress Part II: Are you Struggling with Chronic Stress?

Lots of individuals need help coping with stress – it’s not anything to be  ashamed about! Give yourself permission to get help if you need it. Stress is a normal part of life but if your stress is persistent or keeps getting worse, you may need extra support. Over time, stress can lead to more complicated issues related to mental health like depression, anxiety or other disorders. Do not hesitate to seek for help if you are feeling hopeless, worthless or experiencing lack of motivation. Talk … [Read more...]

What couples can learn from the Olympics

As we observe another Olympic season, I feel the excitement and disappointment of the athletes. I see the heartbreak of those who miss a gate, fall down, or come up shorter than they had hoped. In contrast, I see the faces of others light up when they earn a medal. However, there are two groups that I feel I learn the most from: Those who thought they deserved to win and didn't. Sadly, I have heard a few in interviews who lean on excuse after excuse to explain why they didn't win. They seem … [Read more...]

A Kiss to Build a Dream On

  I remember early in in my career I was able to attend a conference where world-renowned researcher John Gottman was the keynote speaker. There were many wonderful things that he shared that day, but one stood out to me as most interesting. Maybe it was because it was so simple. Maybe it was because he made it sound so critical. Maybe it was because it moved so much deeper than any romantic gesture. Maybe it was because it was the first time I thought of a kiss as more than a … [Read more...]

Helpful Principles to Follow When Talking to Your Children About Drugs, Sex and Alcohol

Examine your own attitudes and beliefs. When it comes to talking to children about difficult subjects like sex, drugs, and alcohol, the first thing you need to do is examine your own beliefs and attitudes. Remain calm when these topics come up with your children. Encourage other parents to talk to their children about these topics. Talk to your children about what you expect of them with sex drugs and alcohol even if it is different from your own past behavior. Relax. The more … [Read more...]