Archive for: Marriage Counseling

Newest additions to the Pinnacle Counseling Staff

TorieHeadShot  KalliHeadShot
Pinnacle Counseling would like to formally welcome the newest additions to our staff, Torie Sullivan, a Mental Health and Relationship Counselor, and Kalli Hendren, Administrative Assistant.

We are thrilled to have them join our team! They are featured on the main page of our website (https://pinnaclecounselingnwa.com/pinnacle-counseling) and more about them is located under the “Our Counselors” tab. We look forward to sharing the talents of these incredible women with our clients.

Great marriages: more than happy, magical accidents

Marriage is not a casual endeavor. Your spouse is your partner in the project of building your life. Every part of your life. From financial management to toothpaste management, your spouse plays a key role. A great marriage is an evolving work of art. The key word here may be work. This is a good thing. A great marriage is not a happy magical accident. A great marriage is the result of work. Frequently it will be the fun type of work. Sometimes it will be the work type of work.

Start here:

  • Decide that you want to have a great marriage. Then figure our what a great marriage is. To paraphrase Ferris Bueller: Your marriage moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you might miss it.
  • How are you two doing communicating your needs? Do you understand the difference between your needs and your wants?Are you having any fun?
  • Does your marriage have a spiritual orientation?
  • Have you fallen in love lately? If you have been married more than a couple of weeks, your spouse is not the same person you married. Have you fallen in love with this newer version of your husband or wife?
  • How is your marriage working as a small business? Are you building wealth? Financial security is key.
  • What are you excited about right now? What aspect of the future?
  • How is the physical intimacy in you marriage? Correct answer: Awesome! This is supposed to be the fun part. If it’s not great, that’s okay. As long as you both want it to be great, it can be.

These bullets, of course, are just a jumping off point, a place to begin a very important conversation. If at all possible, the conversation itself should be fun.

Five things you can do for your marriage now. Number two. The three A’s.

The ability to change course in the middle of a fight is a powerful relationship skill. Most people do not have it. We can be so predictable in our arguments, so petty! Talk about the three A’s when you are both calm and relaxed. Practice them. That way you’ll be ready to use them as the antidote if your talk turns poisonous.

It’ll take a little courage to use them the first time. Someone is going to feel vulnerable. Do them in sequence. It should only take a minute. You can even preface by saying Okay, this is not working. I’m going to do a triple A.

Apology
Affection
Action

Apology — Take ownership for your part of the argument. Be honest. You’re trying to change the energy of the argument. Don’t take the easy way out by saying something like I’m sorry you’re being such a jerk.

Affection — As soon as you’ve apologized for your part in the argument, move towards your spouse. Offer a hug, a kiss, or reach out in some affectionate physical way.

Action — Pledge to take some sort of action. It’s better talk about something that you will do rather than something that you won’t do. I will treat you with respect is better than I will not call you names. Either way, follow through is the most important thing.

Is it ok to compare my spouse or partner to someone else?

     It can be a common practice to compare your partner to that of someone else you know and can be particularly true if you are not satisfied with your relationship.   Let’s say you selected a good partner and didn’t “settle” on just anyone to commit to, you need to remind yourself of just that.  After the honeymoon, or several years of being together, it can be easy to forget what a terrific partner you have and start asking your partner why they can’t be more like “so and so”.  While this can be common among couples, giving in to this kind of thinking can damage your relationship and here is why.

  •  Comparing can betray trust
  •  Comparing can make you both feel inferior
  •  It is easy to idealize someone you don’t know
  •  The novelty of getting to know someone you don’t know is temporary
  •  Comparisons are not fair or even comprehensive

     If you find that you tend to compare your partner to someone else on a regular basis rather than acknowledging the positive and loving traits of your partner, it may be a signal to seek help and in doing so, you may be able to get your relationship to where it needs to be.

Psychotherapy

The first word of this compound word says it all “psycho”. No one wants to be associated with something that is strange, difficult to handle, and perhaps the worst of all: a scary, new experience. If you were to ask a friend or family member what psychotherapy is, they would most likely say something about paying a lot of money to talk about problems (and that’s putting it nicely). If you were to ask a counselor or therapist, we would describe it as a chance to be heard, without judgment through the ears and eyes of a professional, in the comfort and safety of a confidential session. The talking part might be easy…or hard depending on how you view your problems. If providing a safe place where clients can talk about whatever it is that is troubling them is the job of the counselor, what is your job as a client in psychotherapy? What do you have to know before you even walk through the door? Most first time clients wonder how we expect you to tell everything that you are thinking and feeling after just meeting.

These are common questions that can be answered. A client simply has to make the appointment with a counselor or therapist and come ready for the experience. Okay…that may seem a bit more intimidating than helpful, but it’s the truth. If you are open to the experience of psychotherapy as something completely different and refreshing you are on the road to understanding what it is and how it works. Before you walk through the door, you should know that you are not alone. Every single person you pass on the street has a past, a story, a journey. That road is paved with troubles, hardships, and bumps that throw off your sense of balance as you walk the road. This is where you have to believe that there are trained professionals ready to help and to listen to you. Why would a counselor want to listen to all of the “bumps” along the way in your life? Because we are trained to provide the safe haven for you to explore the inner workings of what is really going on in your life. There is no façade, just a real and honest experience with another person to ensure that you don’t trip on the bumps of life and walk, silent and hurting, through the rest of life.

If you are working through the bumps in your life and decide that the word psychotherapy is not as scary as facing it on your own…that is what we are here for.

 

Erika McCaghren

Married with Children

A just released report on the state of marriages in the U.S. included a prescription for healthy relationships for married couples with children. The idea that children impede healthy relationships between husbands and wives has been a topic in the media recently. This study found that many married couples report that the stresses associated with raising children have negatively impacted their relationships. But a substantial minority — 35% — report that their children have not made their relationships more difficult. What is their secret?

Here are some priorities identified by parents in this group:

  • marital generosity-small but regular efforts to attend to the needs of your spouse
  • good sex-might not be as frequent, but is it exciting?
  • religious faith-are you on the same page?
  • thrift
  • shared housework

The report, entitled The State of Our Unions Marriage in American 2011, is available for free download. The link above leads to the full report.

 

The holiday “blahs”

With the holiday season and winter months fast approaching, feelings and symptoms of depression will often surface or increase. Feeling “down in the dumps” or “blah”, sad, discouraged, hopeless, irritable, cranky, or easily frustrated are typical symptoms of depression. Also feeling withdrawn, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities, changes in appetite, sleep, energy, difficulty concentrating, and making decisions are commonly reported. A sense of feeling worthless or excessive guilt may be experienced. Some of these feelings may actually interfere with our relationships, school, job, social activities, and even day to day functioning. If you experience a few or most of these symptoms it is wise to pay attention to what your body is telling you and to take care of yourself.

Often people minimize or don’t understand depression and the possible effects of going untreated. Working with a mental health professional can help you understand depression and learn multiple ways to manage its symptoms. Regardless of the season, feeling better means living better!

 

Erika McCaghren

Dealing with Change

Changes occur all day long.  An appointment gets cancelled, you encounter a detour on the way home, you were anticipating roast beef for dinner and you got chicken.  It’s what life is and while you might get a bit frustrated, you learn to roll with it.  But what about the big changes?  Job transfers, marriage, divorce, children, medical changes and the death of someone you love.  How do you learn to adapt with the changes that will affect the rest of your life?

Whether you’re leaving the community that you’ve built strong relations with or having to bury a loved one, you will feel anger because it wasn’t your choice for this to happen to you.  Healthy coping skills result in better emotional stability.  Poor coping skills result in anger and resentment.

First, it is helpful to recognize that you are in the midst of change and that change is part of you.  Instead of thinking about all the negative issues, try making a list of all the positive benefits of this change.  Visualize all the possibilities and write them down.  Make up a “to do” list if there are things you need to accomplish before the change happens.  Call a friend and discuss your fears and ask for their advice.  If you feel that you can’t get past your fear, anger and resentment you may need to talk to a professional.  In talking with a therapist you will get an unbiased opinion and they will be able to give you some insight and the coping tools so that you can move on and embrace your changes.

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” ~ Jim Rohn

April is Counseling Awareness Month

April is Counseling Awareness Month! Although many people know generally what counselors do, this is a time for counselors everywhere to stand together to promote the use of counseling services. We do this by reaching out to clients, readers, social media outlets, and through simple word of mouth that “We are here”. Pinnacle Counseling stands in full support of Counseling Awareness Month by showing people that we care and are here to support you. Knowing that there is a group of professionals near you, ready and willing to listen and help you through a particularly hard time or everyday struggles of life is a valuable tool. In any given situation, no matter the cause, difficulty, or time you have been dealing with the issue—we are here. Simply remember…Keep Calm and Call a Counselor!

 

Erika McCaghren

 

Sources: American Counseling Association

 

 

 

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