Category: Marriage & Relationships

Where Were You When I Needed You Most?

Mark and Rachel are in their mid 40’s and have been married for 20 years. They have been attending couples therapy following a “drifting apart” from each other over several years. In the sessions, they are gradually sharing their feelings to try to regain a greater sense of closeness that they had previously experienced. In one session, Rachel erupts into anger, indicating that she doesn’t think that she can continue the couples therapy as she has not trusted Mark for

Posted in Marriage & Relationships, Stress & Anxiety

Sabotaging Your Marriage 101

Sandra and Ben had anticipated getting married after their university graduation. They were looking forward to setting up their own home, being able to spend unprecedented time together, establish their own lifestyle, raise a family and continue to work in their chosen careers, supported unconditionally by the other. However, the reality that followed did not meet their expectations. Over time they became disillusioned, growing increasingly resentful of each other. They doubted their decision to marry. They blamed each other for

Posted in Marriage & Relationships

The Storm Within

Mary has suffered for years in her personal relationships and in her private world. Her behaviour, thoughts, and emotions were often described as though she was in the middle of a whirlwind. When meeting men she would put them on a pedestal, idealizing them to the point where they appeared to reach near sainthood in her eyes. Shortly after, she would seek out their flaws and vulnerabilities and go on the attack. She said it was like “I’m fire or

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

Summer Survival Strategies For Parents

Spring has sprung and summer is almost upon us. Near are the days when school will be let out and our children will be home for the summer. For some, this is a time of joyful anticipation. Vacation schedules are arranged, long awaited holidays are planned, and preparations are begun. For others, the anticipation may be somewhat less than joyful. Visions of chaos, noise and perpetual untidiness come to mind. Choruses of “I’m bored, what can I do” never seem

Posted in Family & Parenting, General, Marriage & Relationships, Stress & Anxiety

It’s So Unfair!

When we see two people who are angry with each other, we often find that their argument is about feelings of injustice on a personal level. One or possibly both will become angry because they feel they have been treated unfairly by the other. Each wants justice; it’s part of their human nature. In their minds they believe that if they could just set the record straight or get the other to change their behavior then all will be well

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Anne complained, “He’s always making us late”. “Whenever we have to be somewhere, he always gets himself ready at the last minute and I end up having to wait for him”. “We never show up anywhere on time!” “Never!” Anne was clearly upset. Last night she and her husband Gary had been invited to attend a surprise party for a very close friend. Just at the time they should have been leaving together in their car, Gary predictably strolled in

Posted in Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety

In Marriage, the Connection Counts!

In marriage, the bond is everything. Recently we attended the wedding of Dean and Macy. It was a beautiful wedding and the two of them were extremely happy. Their connection (or bond) was noticeably strong on their marriage day, and their love for one another was obvious to all present. The challenge for Dean and Macy, however, will be how to keep this connection strong as they settle into the routines of daily life. Many couples take their marriage bond

Posted in Marriage & Relationships

The Legacy of Divorce

As psychologists and counsellors we see numerous examples of wretched, demeaning, abusive, and unfaithful marriages. We are keenly aware of the loneliness and suffering of many adults and of their serious efforts to improve their lives before and after divorce. The decision to separate or divorce is often one of the most difficult decisions a couple will ever have to make in their lifetime. Most worry about what will happen to their children and how to best help them. Alternatively,

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Good Listening is Hard Work

Poor or reactionary listening is a major issue for many couples who seek counselling. One challenge is to see past the tone of voice or irritability of the partner who is sharing his or her ideas or feelings. Even marriage counsellors sometimes need to be reminded about how to do this, as shown in the following examples. “Tone Sensitive” It is useful to acknowledge a feeling rather that react to it. It was getting close to dinner, so I called

Posted in Family & Parenting, Marriage & Relationships

Shame on Me

Many of us have grown to adulthood with child-based shame thoughts. Our self confidence can be readily undermined when these “little boy” or “little girl” thoughts creep in. These thoughts seem to have a life of their own and frequently are negative or critical. Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning in, Self Esteem, mention that these negative thoughts originate from an internal “pathological critic”. They go on to discuss a number of categories of “cognitive distortions” or exaggerated thoughts. These “tools

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