Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Depression and Anxiety--Our Economic Crisis

Here are a few tips on how to deal with our economic crisis and how to avoid falling into a depression or being overly anxious.

1. If you're sensitive to and easily influenced by what you hear or read in the media, avoid it.
2. A recent research study showed that being around happy people really is contagious. Find happy people to be with and provide that to others.
3. Help someone who is having a harder time than you. Volunteer & contribute to your community.
4. Read inspirational books and articles about how people have overcome adversity.
5. Make a list of "positive rehearsal" statements--thoughts that are soothing to you. Write them down and then pull them out when you're feeling anxious or down.

If you're experiencing depression or anxiety, I can be reached at 512-795-0402. I'm located at 4131 Spicewood Spring, Austin, Texas 78759. You can also find me at my website

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Marital Conflict--Taking Breaks

Criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling cause conflicts to escalate. Catch them early. The earlier the better i.e. before you say them or immediately after hearing them. When these 4 toxic communications start showing up, it's time for a break.

Follow these steps to a better outcome when dealing with escalating conflicts.
1. Announce to your partner that you need a break and how long the break will be. Take at least a 20 minute break.

2. While you're on your break, do something calming and distracting like taking a walk. While you're calming down, stop yourself from using negative rehearsal. Examples of negative rehearsal are, "She's so stubborn," "We're going to end up in a divorce," "I'm fed up with all of this." Replace the negative rehearsal with positive rehearsal. Positive rehearsal needs to be anything that is positive and you believe, like, "I realy like it when he/she says __________," "I really like it when he/she does ____________," "My goal is to have have a happy marriage."

3. After the amount of time has passed for your break, go back to your partner and let them know you are ready to talk again.

If taking breaks doesn't help de-escalate your conflicts, there may be another problem that needs to be addressed in marriage counseling. You can reach me at 512-795-0402. I'm located at 4131 Spicewood Springs, M-1, Austin, Texas 78759. You can find me at

Monday, March 16, 2009

Infidelity / Affairs / Cheating / Adultery

THE CRISIS — Infidelity / Affair / Cheating / Adultery
Basically they’re all the same.
You thought you had an understanding with your partner or spouse that included not having a romantic or sexual relationship with anyone outside your relationship or marriage.

Now —
You either suspect or know for a fact he/she is cheating on you
or has cheated on you.
Or —
You either are cheating or were cheating on him/her.

Nothing stirs feelings up more than dealing with this issue. People frequently report their feelings being completely out of control and often report feeling crazy at times. This is true for both the one cheated on and the one doing the cheating.

Webster’s dictionary defines a crisis as being
“the turning point for better or worse; a sudden attack of pain, distress or disordered function; an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life; the decisive moment, an unstable or crucial time or state of affair in which a decisive change is impending; a situation that has reached a critical phase.”

Cheating, or being cheated on, creates a major crisis in your life. And when it does, one word takes center stage — the word that says it all.

Few feelings can compare. Even death often is easier to deal with.

Betraying someone who trusted you, even in the most callous of people, often produces more guilt than almost any misdeed. Being betrayed wounds at the deepest level. It seems as if the relationship can never be healed. How could you ever feel trusted again, or how could you ever trust again?

I continuously hear people say, "It takes time to get over being betrayed." Well, yes. But my question to my clients who have cheated on their loved one is, "How are you going to use this time? Just letting time pass isn't enough. You've got to do the 'right things' during that time that is passing."

Sometimes the person who cheats has a good grasp of what it's going to take to rebuild trust. Often, they have no idea. When my clients "have no idea." I tell them to ask the person they've hurt, listen compassionately to their answer and be willing to do what it takes. This is the essense of committment.

If you and your mate are married, you hopefully have another level of committment. The intent of the vows we take in the marriage ceremony is "for better or for worst." In your marriage vows, aren't you committing to doing everything it takes to make the marriage as good as you possibily can make it?

If you're having a difficult time building trust with your "significant other," you can reach me at 512-795-0402. I'm located at 4131 Spicewood Springs, M-1, Austin, Texas 78759. If you live out of Austin and would like to work on building trust with your mate, you can reach me on

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Wedding Vows--The Most Overlooked & Most Important Part of Your Wedding

The most overlooked and most important part of your wedding is the exchanging of the vows. They are the heart and soul of the wedding ceremony. All the rest is a celebration of the vow exchange.

Your vows are your promises to each other concerning how you will BE with each other. They are your rules, constitution and contract, and like all good contracts, they state your willingness to be accountable to your partner.

Technically, the exchanging of the vows is the wedding. The moment when the vows are spoken is the moment of covenant. And yet, many couples never discuss or make a decision about what will be said. Quite often couples don’t even know what will be said until the day of the wedding, because they leave it up to the minister or officiate to decide.

Surely the most significant words you will ever say to each other should be well-thought out and heart felt. In my premarital counseling many couples chose to spend a few sessions discussing the vows the officiate has provided or learning how to write their own vows.

If you would like to learn more about premarital counseling or writing your own vows, I can be reached at 512-795-0402. I am located at 4131 Spicewood Springs, Austin, Texas 78759

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Nurturing Your Marriage While Nurturing Your New Baby

Ah! There's nothing like bringing a new baby home. You fall in love with that beautiful angelic face, and your heart just melts. What could be more delightful than holding that precious bundle you've been waiting on for nine months?

You bring Little "Johnny" or "Suzy" home and start your new life as a family. But did you know, according to research done by John Gottman, Ph.D. at the Relationship Research Institute, ". . . within three years after the birth of a child, approximately two-thirds of couples will experience a significant drop in relationship quality and have a dramatic increase in conflict and hostility."

Here's some tips on how to nurture your marriage after the baby arrives.

Things You’ll Need in Order to Accomplish these Steps:
A Willingness to Change

Step 1. Date--You and your mate need time alone where the two of you can give each other that "delighted attention" you got as babies and that you got when the two of you feel in love originally. Don't talk about problems on the date. Don't invite friends, family or pets along on your date. Make your date fun. Remember you once were great playmates and it was so fun you wanted to do it forever, so you got married.
Step 2. In conflict avoid criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling. Psychologist, John Gottman, found in his 30 study of predictors for happy, stable marriages that these 4 things give you at least an 80% chance of divorcing if you use them frequently in your conflicts.
Step 3. Play with your baby together. However, don't compete for his/her attention while playing together. This is the moment you first start teaching your child that you and your mate are a team. Play cooperatively. And remember, babies love faces more than any toy and they especially love mom and dad's face.

For more information, go to my website

If you need help with your relationship or marriage, you can reach me at 512-795-0402
I'm located at 4131 Spicewood Springs, M-1, Austin, Texas 78759