Pre-Marital – A program of six sessions focused on relationship assessment and education. Couples finish the program with knowledge of their strengths and work areas.

Marital Enrichment – Focusing on marriage education and acquiring the skills to make marriage more satisfying and more stable.

Couples Therapy – utilizing emotionally-focused approaches, couples therapy works to strengthen the attachment that exists. Therapy attempts to increase each person’s understanding of their partner’s deepest needs as well as deepest fears, and trains the couple to nurture and heal their relationship.

Sexual issues – includes treatment of low sexual desire, sexual performance problems, sexually addictive behaviors, and overcoming painful sexual experiences.

Divorce – when children are involved, it is important that they are supported and protected as much as possible through their parents’ divorce. Treatment focuses on adjustment to divorce for both children and the couple. Successfully creating a parenting plan and processing grief are important aspects of divorce therapy.

The Gift of Presence

“Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here!” ~ Clark Griswold The Christmas holiday is listed as a significant life stress on the “Life Stress Inventory.” Just for reference, other events listed on this inventory include moving, changing jobs, major illnesses and legal trouble. You can take this inventory yourself at https://www.stress.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/stress-inventory-1.pdf  I just took it and scored 215, which means I’m 50% more at risk for stress related health problems.  That tells me my stress management and self-care routines are important for me
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Categories: Marriage.

Thanksgiving 2022

Once November starts, the remainder of the year just flies by with all the plans, festivities and the extra work that goes along with them.  The frenzied pace can prevent us from really enjoying the purpose of the special days of thanksgiving and other holidays at the end of the year.   Take some time now to think about Thanksgiving.  The name of this American holiday spells out clearly the purpose of the day.  The word “holiday” is an old English word meaning “Holy Day.”  Basically, its a day that is set apart and made more special than other days. 
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Categories: Marriage.

The Comparison Trap

Over 150 years ago, Henry David Thoreau observed “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation”.  This would suggest that mental and emotional suffering is a common and constant state of life.  What has changed, though, is we now have the ability to do something about it.  Now more than ever we have available to us tools for self-improvement such as education, technology, and psychological treatment.  That being said, just because we have more ability to better our lives doesn’t mean that we will actually do the work.  Self-actualization, the process of reaching one’s potential, is like anything else
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Categories: Marriage.

Willing and Able, Aware and Care

In the dark comedy movie “Downhill”,  a vacationing family faces imminent threat from an avalanche.  The crisis of the story occurs when Will Farrell’s character Pete runs away right when his wife and family needed him the most.  The rest of the movie entails Pete trying to regain his family’s trust and heal the rift in his marriage.  It’s not really a funny movie in my opinion, but it does illustrate how marriages can experience a symbolic “avalanche” of stress.  The story illustrates how difficult it can be to heal and forgive when we’ve been hurt and abandoned by those
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Categories: Couples, Marriage, and Relationships.

Dealing with an Unwanted Guest During the Holidays

The holiday season is the culmination of the year.  November and December bring times of celebrating with family, friends and the community.  Occasionally, we have to deal with someone that makes the holidays less enjoyable, like Cousin Eddie in “Christmas Vacation.”  This year, we all have an unwanted presence during the holidays.  Its name is COVID-19.  It’s going to make the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years trifecta a lot more complicated and less enjoyable to say the least.  For many, it will ruin any chance of a good time.   It’s been a month since my son contracted COVID while at college.  He’s
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Categories: Marriage.

Tech Tools for Parents

I’ve written quite a bit regarding the hazards and concerns of social media and “screens” in the lives of our children.  The concerns still exist; the addictive nature of social media on the teenage brain, the observed increase in depression and anxiety among individuals who are high users of social media, the addictive nature of gaming, the sexual objectification that is rampant on the internet, the physical health problems associated with too much screen time, and so on.  However, we are not going to forego our phones or our internet.  We have to learn how to manage these tools in
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Categories: Marriage.

Affair Proofing your Marriage

My articles are usually focused on parenting.  While this one is about marriage, it definitely has an impact on families and children.  Affairs, defined broadly or narrowly, have a detrimental impact on the whole family.  Narrowly defined, an affair is understood as an illicit sexual relationship with someone outside the marriage.  Broadly defined, an affair is an intimate relationship that is emotionally intense and sexually charged.  The intensity and sexualized nature of this relationship is kept hidden from the marriage partner.  Usually, the extra-marital person is someone both spouses know; someone from the workplace, neighborhood, another parent known through the
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Categories: Marriage.

Helping Your Kids, Helping Yourself Through COVID

As I write this, it has been a month since everything changed.  At least it feels like everything changed due to the COVID-19 shutdown.  I think of that REM song from the 80s “Its the End of the World as We Know it”.  The world, as we know it, has changed significantly.  Every generation has a defining moment and, based on the hope that nothing more cataclysmic than COVID-19 will happen,  this is it.  Everything hasn’t changed, but so much has changed that its overwhelming.  With massive change comes confusion, chaos and anxiety.  And COVID-19 also brings us social isolation,
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Categories: Marriage.

A Resilient COVID Response

This Coronavirus thing is getting real.  Recently the marquee of First United Methodist Church in Williamstown said “Didn’t think I’d give up this much for lent.”  Isn’t that the truth?  All of us have been affected by the precaution measures in place; from the minor to the very serious. It ranges from “I can’t get my pedicure” to “I don’t have a job anymore.”  Many of us by now have heard that someone we know has the coronavirus, or even died from it.  Through the “stay at home” order in West Virginia, I have been able to continue working from
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Categories: Marriage.

Going to the Deep End

The deep end can be scary.  What’s down there?  What if I sink, or get lost?  I’m not talking about water, but emotions and relationships.   Intimate relationships have a deep end, and if one of you is there alone will the other one be able and willing to go out there too?  As a marriage and family therapist, I see a lot of fear of the deep end.  This comes in two forms; a fear of emotional vulnerability, or a belief that it’s just not important or needed (which is most likely just a concealed fear).   Approximately 70%
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Categories: Couples, Marriage, and Personal Growth.