Category: Marriage & Relationships

Betrayal

David betrayed his life partner and he was not prepared for his partner’s emotional distress. He wanted to know when it would end. He asked “Why isn’t sorry good enough?” David needed to understand that his partner’s reactions were normal. Her healing was largely dependent on his ability to be empathic, remorseful, honest, apologetic, loving, patient and soothing over a long period of time. And most importantly to stop the behavior that devastated his spouse.  Normal reactions of the betrayed

Posted in Depression, General, Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth

Up In Flames – part 2

About three and a half years ago I wrote the article: ‘Up In Flames’ that can be found at Psychealth.com. It was written shortly after my apartment burned down and shares my experience navigating through that challenging life event. This article is the follow-up. It took over three years to rebuild my home. I recall the first few weeks as the most difficult, as I was coming to terms with the scope of the loss. As time went on, I

Posted in Depression, Family & Parenting, General, Grief, Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety, Therapy

My Child Won’t Listen

Parents often complain that their children “do not listen” and that is frequently a concern parents describe when they visit a child psychologist. When I met the parents of six year old Charlotte, they described daily power struggles over routine tasks – getting ready for bed at night – and essentially whenever they asked her to do something. Charlotte’s resistance often escalated into full-blown tantrums that occurred several times a week. This behaviour was disruptive to the whole family and

Posted in Family & Parenting, General, Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety Tagged with: , , ,

Smartphone Addiction

The headline in the Globe and Mail read, “Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can’t you put it down?” by Eric Andrew-Gee. As I began to read the article I became alarmed by the research quoted. Internet companies have spent “billions of dollars” trying o figure out how to hook people into their programs. They have come up with strategies which access the same neural pathways as those affecting gambling and drug usage. The natural

Posted in Addictions, Family & Parenting, General, Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth Tagged with: , , , ,

Why do we Lie?

Lying destroys relationships and damages the bonds between human beings. The Journal of Intercultural Communication Research (2016) states that “we all lie, but not all lies are the same. People lie to achieve a goal: WE LIE IF [we believe] HONESTY WON’T WORK. Essentially the truth comes naturally, but lying takes effort and a sharp, flexible mind. Lying is a part of the development process, like walking and talking. Children learn to lie between the ages two and five, and

Posted in Depression, General, Marriage & Relationships, Stress & Anxiety, Therapy Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Empathy and Mirror Neurons

Empathy differs from sympathy. Sympathy reflects an understanding of another person’ situation- but viewed through your own eyes. In contrast, empathy is what you feel when you can step outside of yourself and enter the internal world of another person. You experience the other’s emotions and conflict without abandoning or losing your own perspective. It involves being able “to see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another” (Alfred

Posted in Depression, Family & Parenting, General, Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety, Therapy Tagged with: , , , , , ,

How Are Strong Marriages Like Healthy Gardens?

This is a question that I often put to couples who attend the premarital workshops I present. I like the question because it requires what are called “higher order thinking skills” – a more effective way of engaging new information that simply receiving it in a rote learning format. The answers I receive to this question are often quite insightful. Following are a few of those insights. Successful marriages, like gardens, must be cultivated. What sunlight, soil and water are to

Posted in Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety, Therapy Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Marriage Can Be Miserable

When a couple marries, they can be truly miserable if they follow a few simple rules! When life is busy and stress levels are high, it is important to “do one’s own thing.”  Take time to unwind and relax; this is far more important than conversing with your spouse. If a conversation should happen to break out, be sure to react and avoid understanding what is being said to you. Feel free to be upset or annoyed; it is their

Posted in Depression, Family & Parenting, General, Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety

Caught in the Middle: Supporting the Child Through Parental Divorce

Last week I learned that a young couple I know had recently separated.  I remembered their wedding and the promising future they imagined together.  I don’t know the circumstances of their separation but I do hope that they have tried hard to make their marriage work; that knowledge will be important to their children.  I also hope that they are committed to working on an effective partnership as co-parents to their two young girls.  I hope that they are supported

Posted in Family & Parenting, General, Marriage & Relationships

Male Midlife Crisis? Is It a Myth?

Do men go through a midlife crisis? Is there research to support such a concept or is this an “urban legend?” The books “Passages” and “Seasons of a Man’s Life” were published several years ago but were based on small samples of investigation. Yet, men in their early 50s or 60s arrive in my counselling office convinced that they are having a mid life crisis. Often they have been sent by their wives or families who are convinced that their

Posted in Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety, Therapy Tagged with: , , , ,