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Is “focus on the positive” enough for adults?

Most of us have heard of the saying that from crisis comes opportunity. Another way of putting this is to acknowledge that crisis and problems are often “growth experiences”. But how do we grow? What is the process by which we improve ourselves? We can focus on increasing our positive qualities, but eventually we have to also focus on eliminating or reducing our negative qualities. This is going to involve confrontation and discomfort. None of us like to face our flaws.

Therapists as a group are sometimes themselves uncomfortable with this process. [continue reading…]

Learning how to be married

RingsThere are so many things we expect to just know how to do, but turn out to be not so simple. Learning how to be married is one of them. And, like parenthood, our marriages change over time, so we have to learn over and over again how to be married to our spouses. If we don’t , the penalty is an increasing sense of dissatisfaction that will only grow over the years. If we do, the rewards are literally priceless.

So what do we need to learn? Probably the first and most difficult thing is that our spouse is a completely different person than we are. We probably have lots in common, shared values, maybe shared interests, but still, on the inside, we’re different. [continue reading…]

Life is all about adjusting

adjust and balanceI’ve been a therapist for a long time, and still love every minute of it (well, except for paperwork, but that’s a different story).  It suits my nature to help people.  I help by listening, for what is said and what isn’t said, and by spending time thinking about how to help a person make new connections, heal old wounds, release old baggage, and in general keep growing as they move through their life with family, friends, work, and other important relationships.

As I think back, and ahead for for myself, I think a big skill we all have to learn is “how to adjust”.  [continue reading…]

Fitness Workout for a Healthy Family

Kids play skiprope on Morro Strand State Beach - Wholesome Family SceneThe older I get, the more I’m forced to admit that optimum health only happens with a certain amount of effort. Good nourishment and some amount of putting the body through its paces is required to obtain healthy functioning. The same is true for families. Dolores Curran, in Traits of a Healthy Family (1983), outlined habits of families who were perceived as healthy by a variety of professionals. The source may be nearly 50 years old, but the ideas still make sense.  Here they are: [continue reading…]

Are my children on track for school?

“How will my children do in school? Will they perform up to their potential?” Questions like these are often on the minds of every parent ever since their child starts school in preschool or kindergarten. We look at their work, ask them questions, talk to their teachers. Often we still wonder, “How would I be able to tell if my child were having problems?”

Sometimes our first signal that all is not well is that we begin to notice our child consistently falling behind other children in a certain area. [continue reading…]