Something New

It’s not uncommon for people to walk in a creative way and try something new.  Often this can be scary and yet exhilarating.  As many of you know I used to be a broadcast journalist.  I covered stories across the country and globally.  For many years I loved this work.  As with all jobs however, sometimes they just become too routine, or they don’t feel as good as they once did.

There were many reasons why I become a therapist ten years ago, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.  I am very happy here, and now I am bringing back my old skills in a new way with a live weekly broadcast.  Only this time it will be on the web, and it is designed not for me, but for you.

As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in relationships I have a private practice in Long Beach, California where I work with couples and individuals. With this new live web show I can help many more people.  I created this live broadcast to provide help and happiness to people in their relationships.

The format is designed to answer your questions about your issues.  You will be able to email, tweet and call-in during the show.  I also invite you to send me your thoughts and questions now so we can answer them when we begin taping.

I have put together a terrific team of people and we are all excited to begin.

FEEL BETTER LIVE will be coming to you in the next few weeks.  Watch the link below to learn more.

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What Went Wrong?

I often work with couples who impress upon me how they just don’t know what went wrong in their relationship.  They started out so loving and happy and then they woke up somewhere down the road, years later and they just don’t have that happy feeling anymore and they don’t know why.

They tell me it’s because they may have fallen out of love for their partner.  They also tell me they are not sure if they can get “it” back.

The “it” is the feeling couples experienced when they first got together, that loving, wonderful state that makes us believe we will always feel fantastic with our person.

We sign up for the relationship and believe that we will always feel this way with the person we have chosen.  Only we don’t.  We start to notice things about them that we don’t’ like.  They start to nag us or complain, or ignore us and we don’t like that.

These are the normal patterns that set in when a couple moves beyond the first phase of bliss.  It’s what we do about these differences that determine how the relationship survives.

If we have some experience in relationships we might have some communication skills to speak about our feelings with our beloved.  If we are fairly young in the relationship world we might just be beginning to discover ourselves and what we want and need for happiness, so we may not know how to communicate those things yet.

Each person brings their habits from their singlehood; how they took care of themselves, how they communicated with others, how they feed themselves and clean up after themselves.  These are habits people bring into a relationship that were most likely formed in their childhood.  Each person in a couple brings their own set of comforts around these issues.

When we are in a blissful state of loving our partner, no one thinks about the socks left on the floor.  Such a little detail would be meaningless and laughable in this state of love.  But just wait a few years after one of the partners has been picking up dirty socks for the other and is so tired of doing it they will scream if they have to pick up one more dirty sock from the floor.

Then the couple comes in to counseling and tells me they just fell out of love with their mate and they don’t know why.

It is my belief as a Marriage and Family Counselor that couples have more  to become good at a lot of jobs in order to have a successful relationship.

In no particular order except that they are all equally important, each person in the relationship has to become aware of their own feelings and reactions to their mate.  Each person must also become an expert in their partner’s feelings and learn how to attend them.  Both people in a relationship have to be conscious of how they communicate with their beloved.

If you were talking to a hurt child you would be kind, caring and compassionate.  Regardless of how mad you may get at your mate, you can not throw up your anger on them.  Unless you are truly with a terrible person, it’s almost always the case that what ever the perceived hurt you may have felt, it was not done intentionally.

You picked a good person.  You picked the right person.  Your job is to learn how to be the best mate you can be and to take care of the person you are sharing your life with as your partner will do for you.  Now that is a great relationship, where no one gets blindsided.

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Listening, one of the Keys to a Good Relationship

One of the biggest issues I hear couples complain about is communication.  They often tell me they “just don’t know how to communicate” with each other.   I hear the desperation in their voices.  I know they each have been trying to get understanding from the other person for a long time and they just haven’t been successful.  Usually due to exasperation the couple comes in and informs me they just can’t communicate, and they are desperate to find help.

I know that when people categorize their issues with the word “communication”, there is likely a lot more going on then just the phrasing of words.  I know that what’s missing is a very vital part of communication and one of the most basic human needs; and that’s the need to be heard.

Often times when couples begin therapy they have no problem expressing their individual points of view to me.  What they have a hard time doing however, is getting their partner to actually listen to what they are saying.

When two people have been trying to get understanding from each other for a period of time without success, it’s possible they might become angry or resentful trying yet again one more time to make their point.  It’s usually after years of dismissing the importance of being heard that a couple might decide to try counseling as a “last ditch effort” to fix the relationship.

And that’s when I can begin to help.  It starts by giving the couple awareness.  No one signs up to be mean to their partner.  No one starts out being indifferent, resentful or angry toward their mate.  These stances come after trying over and over to get one’s point across and failing.  So the first phase of improving communication is helping each person learn how to listen.

But before anyone can develop the patience and understanding to be a good listener they must be HEARD, because that’s what has been missing in their relationship.  They have not felt heard or listened to.  That’s where my job begins and I provide it for each person; I listen, hear, understand, help if needed, I am available and present.  This provides a release to the person expressing, and it models for the partner how to do it.

After the exercise it’s not surprising to feel a lot of tension leave the room.  It’s so simple, and so important.  As humans we require some basics; to feel safe, to feel loved, and to feel like we matter.  When we listen to our partners, I mean really listen, we give them exactly what they need.

Be sure and watch Feel Better Live, our show about relationships, live on the web, Thursdays at 6:00PM.

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