Your Couples Specialist:
Marital Counseling: 7 Myths Couples Should Know
Research tells us couples often prolong -- sometimes for years -- getting professional help for their...
Intimacy in Marriage Declined? What Couples Should Know
If you're feeling confused and frustrated about a decline in intimacy...
Cheating in Marriage: Can We Trust Again?
When any type of cheating occurs in a relationship, there are two levels of pain: The...
Parental Conflict Affects Children
It's not unusual for couples to say that one of the reasons they seek counseling is...

Criticism from our partner or spouse is primal pain: It cuts to the core of who we are. Hurtful words or negative comments have much greater power and the potential to inflict emotional wounds when they come from our partner than from anyone else. When couples fall in love, a powerful bond is created -- a bond so strong it supersedes the one you had with your parents.

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When couples are more disconnected and uncertain, each often makes negative assumptions about their partner's thoughts, mood or feelings. I wish more couples would check with their partner when they have a negative assumption before acting on their negative beliefs.

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When a retired couple comes to see me, they rarely report financial concerns. They’ve done an excellent job of planning a their financial security.

Yet, they’re struggling in their relationship. Suddenly, they’re experiencing more arguing or greater distance. The emotional closeness has decreased, and the distress they’re feeling certainly was not what they had planned or wished for in retirement.

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I absolutely love the August 2014 MONEY magazine column by Taylor Tepper, “A Seat at the Grownups’ Table.” He’s been writing about his first year as a parent and in this column he and his wife demonstrate wisdom beyond their years.

They purchased two chairs and a marble table (all second-hand) and created an alcove in their apartment where they have established a nightly ritual of spending time, just the two of them, after their son has gone to bed. They’ve realized the challenge of staying close and connected as a couple during parenthood.

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It’s not unusual for a caller to ask me, “Can counseling really help us? For many people seeking couples therapy, this is their first venture into any type of therapy. Unchartered waters, if you will. And, their trepidation certainly can be understood.

First, couples often are relieved to know that Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (which we tend to call EFT) is a “brief” model – approximately 10 to 20 sessions. And research has shown that couples often continue to improve after therapy has completed.

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