To Be Told or Not to Be Told: Why We Use a Directive Counseling Approach

The majority of people who come to see me say they have been to multiple counselors, both personally and for their marriage, and that most of them have been less than helpful, if not harmful. I think there are two particular elements impacting the effectiveness of their previous counseling: 1) the dynamics of narcissistic and emotional abuse on the victim and the relationship are unrecognized, and 2) the ineffective use of non-directive approaches to address the issues.
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Is He Really Changing? Part 2

In part 1 of this blog (which you can read here), I wrote about the pressure some of you wives may feel to come up with the list of behaviors that your husband needs to change. I encouraged you to take inventory of where he’s gone wrong and what needs to change and share that list with him. When your husband steps up to the plate to take responsibility for his own behavior, he sets a much more effective stage for healing.
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Do I really need to win? 7 Rules of a Fair Fight

As a younger man I often heard things like “winning is not everything, It’s the only thing.” Who wants to lose? Many men seem to equate being gentle and patient with loss. But the truth is, self-promotion is loss, and lifting others up is winning. Many of the men who join our program, The Core, think they’re always right; everything is and should be as they see it. They will say things like, “A good wife, a Christian woman, should just submit.” They often feel they’re being controlled and respond by blaming their wives for forcing them to do something.
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Telling Him What Needs to Change: Part 1

Mary is a typical client. She has spent years looking for ways to better connect with her husband, Joe. She’s read numerous books and articles. She subscribes to relationship blogs and Facebook pages. She’s counseled with her pastor and consulted with her closest friends. She’s begged Joe to talk, to understand, to make her a priority and then behave like it. She’s prayed for hope and for God to change him. She has cried countless tears. And she is exhausted from trying to make the relationship different. Joe finally agrees to counseling, probably the result of a precipitating event in
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You Don’t Need to Process Your Anger with Your Partner

When we’re extremely angry, physiologically we’re not a whole lot different than a child throwing a tantrum. We’re literally not in our right mind. Blood has moved away from our pre-frontal cortex (the seat of conscious thought) and filled our amygdala, where the fight or flight response is triggered. We call this state being “flooded” or “triggered,” a term coined by Daniel Goleman in his bestselling book Emotional Intelligence. Basically, when you’re in fight or flight mode, you’re in no position to think or communicate logically.
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Are You Setting Boundaries or Just Complaining?

One of the key issues I see in my work with clients is the inability to use boundaries and boundary-setting in a way that is healthy and productive for relationships. Boundaries are key! Why are they so important? Because if you don’t figure out how to set healthy boundaries, one or both of you will probably often be triggered, flooded, and unable to function well in your relationship. Without boundaries, you could (without realizing it) actually be feeding your relationship dysfunction instead of standing up for what’s best or right for you and the relationship.
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Counseling for Highly Conflicted Couples

Everyone longs to live in peace. We can have money, opportunity, a lovely home, and children, and yet we’re not happy if we don’t have peace in our marriage. I consider myself a seasoned marriage counselor. And, while I feel excited at the prospect of helping each new couple and working through the challenge ahead, high-conflict couples can sometimes strain my capabilities.
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