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What to Look For in a Good Marriage Counselor

Let’s say you’ve decided to work on your romantic relationship or marriage and you want outside help. What do you look for?  As a Clinical Psychologist specializing in couples counseling and relationships for almost twenty years, these are the factors that I believe are important in searching for a couples or marriage therapist:1. Are they specifically trained and credentialed to work with couples and relationships?In addition to whatever licensure/certification requirements your State may have, you also want to find out if they have any specific training or certifications in working with couples.  I teach graduate courses in marriage and family therapy in California, and can tell you that many graduate schools will give a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy while only having one or two specific classes on the subject in their curriculum.  And, you can become a licensed psychotherapist in California without ever having had to treat a single couple!Seek out additional, post-graduate training in couples counseling in your therapist. For example, in addition to being licensed in California as a Clinical Psychologist, I have completed and been Certified in Imago Relationship Therapy, one very effective form of couples therapy.  The Imago Certification Program is a rigorous one with which takes a minimum of one year post-licensure to complete and includes training and supervision.2. How long have they been working with couples?As a rule, the more experienced a psychotherapist, the better opportunity you will have to achieve your results in marriage therapy.  I know that there are exceptions to this rule and I have trained some interns who are far superior to many licensed professionals I know. However, what I was capable of dealing with as a couples counselor when I first began my training in 1991 is vastly different than what I am able to work with now.  It is my hope that a good therapist will continue to learn, grow and improve over the time that they practice.  That’s why they call it Practice! 3. Are they strong enough to keep you “safe” during the sessions?Couples enter counseling with very strong emotional dynamics, which they demonstrate (perhaps unconsciously) very quickly to the marriage therapist.  This may involve the expression of anger directly, or may show up more with contempt, criticism, avoidance, finger-pointing and many other ways.  While this is instructive to the therapist, if the couple is allowed to continue in these behaviors, they will continue to damage their relationship.The couples counselor must be emotionally grounded enough and “strong” enough to prevent this from happening in a destructive manner and help the couple to create changes in their patterns of interaction.  How the therapist does this is up to their own training and personality and presence.  Believe it or not, sometimes I have to stand up in session and give my couples a “time-out” which is when being 6’3″ and over 200 pounds really helps!4. Do you feel like they can help you?Your feelings about the marriage counselor and the “vibe” you get from them are really important.  You will be sharing  very intimate parts of your life with this person., as well as spending time and money.  And, the fate of your relationship may rest in your choice of therapist.  Your attitude towards towards your couples counselor will definitely affect how successful the work will be in improving your relationship.This doesn’t mean that you have to actually like everything your marriage therapist says or that you will always enjoy the process of treatment.  I worked with one couple a few months ago who was referred to me by a former student of mine.  At the end of the first session, the husband stated, “I don’t really like you that much, you seem to oversimplify things, and you really piss me off, but I feel like you can help me, so we’ll be back!”5. Do they work in generalities or do they actually work on specific issues and give you specific tools to help your relationship?Couples therapy doesn’t have the same “luxury” of time that individual psychotherapy does.  A couple usually enters treatment because they are in crisis and most likely have been in crisis for a long, long time.  If they don’t feel that they are getting results, that there is some improvement in a short period of time, the couple may not stay together long enough to work through their issues.For this reason, I believe that couples counseling requires the therapist to be much more active and involved than individual treatment does.  We don’t have the same time to build rapport and get to know the couple that we could take with an individual client.  We must identify deal quickly with the primary issues facing the couple.My ultimate goal of couples therapy is to teach the couple to be their own couples therapist.  I teach them a way of looking at their relationship that helps them to be more compassionate and empathic with each other and give them tools that they can use anytime (not just in my office) to make their relationship better. This completes my list of the five factors I believe are important to look for in a marriage counselor.  I hope that it has been helpful for you.  I would love your feedback and to hear about your own experiences in couples therapy.  Please post a comment on this article or email me directly with your feedback. Thank you so much,Dr. Adam Sheck

Three Tips That Can Help You Save Your Marriage and Stop Your Divorce

It is a known fact that couples in a marriage will face a marriage ending problem sometime during the marriage. All couples get into an argument here and there. We are all human after all and we all make mistakes. The great thing about mistakes and problems is that they can be fixed. There is no reason to allow a divorce to progress when you can save your marriage and avoid a divorce.Here are a few tips that can help you begin to save your marriage.1. Control your emotions. Allowing yourself to become emotional and loss control of yourself will hurt this process more than you will ever know. A child throwing a temper tantrum should never get its way, why should you if you are acting like a child? Be mature about the healing process, even when your spouse is not.2. Show your spouse that you want to listen to their concerns. This is a time when your spouse is looking for something solid and dependable. This is an opportunity to show them that you can be that person. Your goal is not to smother you spouse, but remind them that you are there for them.3. Understand that you are both victims in this bad situation. You both are in a state of pain while the divorce is allowed to progress. Even victims need some help. Work with your spouse to help them understand that, and try to get both of you in a support group or couples counseling.The road to saving your marriage is a long and sometime painful road. But the rewards that await you will be beneficial to both of you if you are committed to your spouse and marriage.

The Single Most Important Condition Required to Save Your Marriage

The single most important condition required to save your marriage is the adoption of a positive and optimistic outlook. There is no way that you would wish to save your marriage without you believing that what you are trying to do will work. The rate at which divorce and marriage separations occur is on the increase in recent years, no thanks to several factors which are both attributable to the couples and other outside influences. I do not want to go into the numerous inconveniences and emotional turmoil that divorce and marriage separation brings. This is because I am assuming that, based on this article title that you and/or your spouse want to save your marriage.There is no shortage of those who claim to be relationship gurus both online and offline but the truth is none of them, guru or no guru is a magician. Of course, there are a lot of them who have very useful suggestions and methods that have been proven to work on different marital problem scenarios. The bone of contention here is what attitude should you or spouse or both adopt. On what condition and foundation would these proven methods be laid so that the successes experienced in other cases may be replicated in yours? The condition is simple to adopt yet very often over looked, whoever (i.e you or your spouse or both of you) that is making this effort to resolve your marital issues should first and foremost believe that there is a possibility that the marriage will work again. No matter how far disintegrated the marriage has become, just bear in mind that there are couples who have resolved worse cases.Adopting this positive and optimistic outlook will go a very long way in helping you to achieve your “save your marriage” desires. This first and most important condition would act as a solid foundation for a smooth implementation of every other “save my marriage” strategies that you have. While I am not going to go into any method/s that can be used to effectively resolve any marital problems in this write up, I would want to assure you that it is indeed possible to save your marriage from the clutches of divorce despite how far disintegrated it has gone. Whether you choose to go to an offline marriage counselor or an online marriage counselor (the online option is very efficient and by far cheaper), you should always bear this important condition at back of your mind. Please do not forget that having this condition at the back of your mind does not resolve your marriage dispute neither does it mean that you should accept any method or strategy that comes your way. Just know that it is an indispensable stepping stone, if any “save my marriage” method that you come across is ever going to work, then this single most important condition must be met first.

After the Baby – How Married Couples With Children Find Intimacy

A new baby is “one of the most profound challenges a couple will ever face,” according to Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity. Having a baby affects your health, work, finances, leisure time, relationships with friends and extended family, and your own body. And you have to manage these changes while doing more work than ever, dealing with hormonal swings, and on very little sleep.Sleep deprivation alone is enough to explain why 67% of couples find themselves “very unhappy” in the years after a baby is born, according to Dr. John Gottman. Sleep deprivation can cause depression , irritability, and fuzzy thinking. It’s no wonder, Gottman’s research shows, that only 33% of couples with a toddler describe themselves as “content.”Even while enjoying a new baby, couples struggle to find time for sleep, for communication, for each other. But many couples do maintain a loving, intimate relationship despite these problems. Here are some of the things they do.Build Warmth and ClosenessFind time for each other. This is one of the most difficult things for new parents to do, and also the most essential. Even airlines advise passengers who are parents to “put on their own oxygen mask first.” Give your relationship some “oxygen” by enlisting relatives or baby sitters to spend a few minutes (or hours) with your baby while you spend some time with your partner.Appreciate your partner. You might be thinking about what a great mother, father, or provider your partner is, but make sure you also share your feelings. One way to do this is to leave a small notepad on a counter where both of you will see it every day. Once a day, write a brief note about something you appreciate about your partner. Make sure your appreciation is specific – not just “You’re a great mom,” but “The way you were singing to our daughter last night made me smile. You have a lovely voice.”Find time for romance and passion. Couples seem to disagree frequently about how often they make love. But Gottman found that for both men and women it’s not the quantity of sex that matters. It’s that both men and women want to feel desired and desirable.Reduce ConflictSlow down. Even when you’re feeling irritable and sleep-deprived, it’s important to handle conflict well. A cranky comment can make the difference between getting what you want and feeling bad about your relationship. When your partner says something that pushes your button, take a few deep breaths and think about how you want to respond.Avoid criticism, blaming, and contempt. Instead, ask for what you want clearly and directly. Focus on your own feelings and what you want to happen.Take a break when you feel the conversation escalate. When you start to feel tense, your heart rate goes up, you breathe faster, your body is going into fight-or-flight mode. You can’t have a thoughtful conversation. Talk about the issue later, when you’re both feeling calm.Recognize that your partner is under stress too, and can’t always respond in a way that feels supportive.Make Time for Your MarriageSchedule a weekly date. Take the time you schedule with each other seriously, the same way you would a business meeting or a teacher conference. Couples that wait until they “find” some extra time for each other often find that it never appears. There are always more play dates, more chores, and more errands than there is time. Make your relationship a priority.Take a vacation with your partner. A few times a year, schedule time for just the two of you to reconnect and rediscover what attracted you to each other in the first place. It can be difficult to leave young children behind for a day, or a week, even with a trusted relative or friend. Yet if you don’t take this precious time, you might find yourself so caught up in the daily needs of your family that you start to drift apart.Having a new baby is definitely a challenge. How well your marriage survives this challenge depends on the the little things you do each day, each week, to build warmth and reduce conflict. Every time you take a few moments to show appreciation, think before you respond, or find an evening to talk and have fun, you build warmth and intimacy in your relationship.ReferencesGottman, John, “The Early Show,” CBS, March 29 2007Perel, Esther, Mating in Captivity.

What to Do When Your Husband No Longer Gives You the Love and Attention You Crave

It takes two to make a marriage work. If one of you isn’t putting in the effort, the other one has too much weight on their shoulders and there is a good chance of problems surfacing. Men and women often seem to deal with relationship problems differently. It’s wrong to generalize, but whilst a lot of women will attempt to sit down and discuss how they are feeling about the current situation, a lot of men will bury their head in the sand and not face up to things.Once a man has decided he is not going to face up to the issues plaguing the marriage – it can feel like you are all alone. Your husband may spend more time with his friends, more time pursuing his hobbies and interests. The more time you spend apart, the less chance there is of you reaching resolution and making your marriage great. If you are a wife and mother, the weight on your shoulders can be too much to bear.How can you go about getting through to your husband? How can you regain the love and attention he once gave you when things were good? How can you make your marriage better than ever? You can do all this by taking some action. Counselling is expensive, and if your husband is unreceptive then the chances are he will reject this as a course of action. For now you need to think of a way you can get some valuable advice and info for yourself. This is going to put you in a much better head space for eventually going to your husband and laying things out on the table.

Saving My Marriage by Pulling it Together

If you really want to save your marriage from ending then it’s time for you to pull it together. It’s very difficult to watch a marriage that was strong for so long just simply fall apart. It’s very heartbreaking for friends and family alike to see the two of you going in different directions. If you don’t want that to happen to your marriage, then it’s time to pull it together.Time-Out – Take a moment to stop, catch your breath and take a step back from the situation. I don’t mean take a break from your situation but to step back to calm down. It doesn’t take much for things to get overheated. Now is the time to give yourself a personal time-out. Before you do anything, step back, take a deep breath and try to relax before taking any action. When you use this as an opportunity to reduce or remove your anger, then you can truly start to communicate and take the next step to help save your marriage.Try To Understand What Is Happening – While on your time-out, take a look at what is happening. Now is the time to look at the big picture and then look at it from your spouse’s or an outsiders perspective. From your point of view it may seem bad but from there point of view it is not so bad. By looking at it from another point of view you might find out why things have gotten so out of control and you may find that the solution is relatively simple.Look for the root of the problem – By understand what is happening you can follow it back to it’s beginning to how it took root in the first place. You may find that the problem is really relatively small and as such something that you can easily overcome to save your marriage.If your goal is saving my marriage, then by pulling it together and taking these three steps then you might just bring back what really belongs together…the two of you.

Marriage Advice For Men – How to Prove to Your Wife That You Want to Save Your Marriage

Marriage advice for men – men and women tend to see things differently. Advice needs to be given differently for men than it is for women. This article is meant to help you find your way to having a happy marriage again.Before I start, please know that you are not alone. A lot of men, at one point in time or another, fear that their marriage is falling apart. The only way you are going to ease this fear is by finding out what is wrong, and learning to fix it. In order to do THAT, though, you are going to have to find it within yourself to break free from the stereotype that society has made for men.You are going to have to learn how to show your wife your true emotions. This includes sadness and fear. You are NOT less of a man if you show your true emotions! In fact, that may be just how you will be able to save your marriage!Women think differently than men. Words, especially in times of arguments and high emotions, mean very little to women. It is the ACTION that men take that really makes women see that men are honestly trying. As a wife myself, I can honestly tell you that the words ‘but I love you’, and ‘I’m sorry’, and ‘I know’ mean absolutely nothing to me anymore. It is what my husband DOES to PROVE that he loves me, he is sorry, and that he understands what I’m feeling.Society is hard on men. I do understand that. But you have to make a decision right now. Who do you want to please more – society? Or your wife? Your wife NEEDS you to be open with her.She NEEDS you to SHOW her that you do, indeed, love her. By learning how to freely show your true emotions to your wife, you will open up new doors in your marriage. You will feel so much better, and you will know that SHE feels better, because you will see it every time you look at her!

Time to Call it Quits – 10 Signs Your Marriage is Breaking Up

No one gets married with the idea that you are going to get divorced. However, if we are being honest, we have to realize that sometimes things happen and it is time to call it quits. Regardless of the effort that either you or your spouse put into a relationship there are signs that the two of you are either not or no longer are compatible.It’s a hard road to be on, but there are signs that mean that your marriage is breaking up.Face the Facts: It’s OverThink of the last time that you and your spouse talked. Was it about anything meaningful? Or was it filler? Do you spend time together at social outings or work functions but avoid each other when you are home? Chances are it’s because you have nothing to say to the other one and that is a problem.Next, do you find that when you do talk your spouse is overly critical of everything you say? Do you feel that regardless of what you do you are met with a series of negativity? If this is your relationship, there is a major problem.Another significant sign is if you are hearing information about your spouse through other people. Are you aware of personal and professional achievements in their life? If not, they are cutting you out and it’s apparent that you are not the most important thing in their life.The fourth and a very important sign is your appearance or the appearance of your spouse. If you are noticing that they no longer care about how they look or if you feel yourself “letting yourself go,” chances are this is a subconscious signal that you are not happy in your marriage.The fifth sign is if you both look for distraction from your problems. If you are constantly finding something to do, something to read or watch instead of tackling issues with your partner, there is a good possibility that your marriage is over. Couples Who Exhibit These Characteristics are Not HappyAnother sign is if you are constantly fighting. Do you find that you and your spouse constantly argue over the same issues and have the same argument over and over again? If so, there is major breakdown in communication and you are probably heading for divorce.A major sign is an important one, are you still intimate? Can you recall the last time that you had sex? If you can’t or if you have no desire to be physical with your partner there are problems, after all, sex is a major part of marriage and physical intimacy is a must. Otherwise, you are just roommates.Next, if you find yourself spending all of your time away from home or if your partner works longer hours or finds excuses to not be around you, there is a problem. Major changes in behavior typically are a sign that a couple is having problems.Another sign is when you suspect or possibly even know that your spouse is seeing someone else. Regardless of how obvious of a deal breaker this is, it is hard to deal with. A cheating spouse is the ultimate betrayal and one that may mean your marriage is over.Finally, if you find that even with all of these issues going on that you are still apathetic and that you do not care about your marriage, then it is probably time to do yourselves a favor and call a divorce attorney. Life is too short to be miserable.

Save Marriage Advice – How Do You Get Your Wife to Love You Again After You’ve Cheated on Her?

Do you know what the biggest reason for marriages to fall apart is? If your guess is ‘infidelity’, you are right! When a man and a woman get married, two individual lives are bonded for life. So, when one of the couple betrays that trust and gets involved in an extramarital affair, not many people can accept it and continue to live with the betrayer! However, does it really have to end? If you have been infidel and you still love your wife very much, how do you get your wife to love you again and trust that you will not hurt her once more? If you are looking for some save marriage advice to help you get your wife back, read on.Very often, you hear about infidelity involving an intimate physical relationship outside of the marriage but what is little known is that emotional infidelity is also counted as a form of betrayal of the marriage union! In fact, some people would even consider emotional infidelity to be more serious because the cheating spouse has begun to share his/her life with another person who is not the legal spouse. Usually this type of infidelity will also lead to something more physical.Studies have shown that emotional infidelity is fast becoming more serious these days because both couples will usually still carry on with their work and they will get to meet more people other than their spouses. As such, their social engagements become more mixed and they could fall in love more easily.Emotional infidelity is now further facilitated by the introduction of modern technology. The cheating spouse can easily send text messages of love and bond with someone he/she should not bond with. Even physical infidelity is also easier now as couples tend to spend more time apart from each other since most married couples will continue to work.Nevertheless, it should be noted that committing adultery is a personal choice which can be avoided if the person concerned has exercised self-control. Regardless of how many opportunities are out there seducing you, it is still wrong to cheat on your spouse! If you have committed adultery, it is time for you to give some serious thoughts to why it happened.Is there something wrong with your marriage that caused you to stray? Have your desires been sufficiently satisfied? Sometimes it could be that you have some additional needs that are not met by your spouse; be it sexual or emotional. If you still love your wife and you some save marriage advice to win her back, you need to first find out what is broken in your relationship and get that fixed before you proceed any further!So, how do you get your wife to love you again? Definitely, you’ll have to apologize sincerely for your mistake and prove to her that it will not happen again. Don’t expect her to forgive you immediately because chances are, it will not be so simple or fast! It takes time and effort on your part as you try to repair your relationship with your wife. It will take time for you to rebuild the trust that she had for you at the beginning but if you can prove to her that you have mend your ways, you will be able to get her back. Give her some time and space to get over the hurt you have caused her.At the same time, you have to be absolutely sure that it will not happen again as she will definitely not trust you again if you cheat on her a second time! Finding out about your infidelity is a devastating experience for your wife but if you want to win her back, you will have to apply the save marriage advice above. Only then will your question of ‘how do you get your wife to love you again’ be solved.

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