10 Questions to Ask Yourself About “Dad”

Last month in honor of Mother’s Day, I wrote about the lessons learned from mothers and how we choose to incorporate (or reject) those lessons into our own parenting style.

Did you know, we spend 75% more on Mother’s Day than we do Father’s Day? Why are dads getting the short end of the stick when it comes to showing our affection?

Don’t forget Dad!

Dads are often forgotten when we think about parenting. Afterall, who can compete with a “Mother’s Love”?

Yet how many times do we hear, “Well, s/he needed a father figure growing up.”  The word father or dad doesn’t have to be just 1 person.  If you grew up without a dad for whatever reason I am sure you had many father figures.

Although I have 1 dad, I was blessed to have different male role models in my life each of them had a specific importance and taught me so many things.

Dads are usually known for being the “fun” parent, the parent who can fix anything, the disciplinarian or in my house the one who got in trouble.  My grandfather was always being yelled at by my grandmother for wrestling with my brother’s in the house.

Dads also get pegged often as being less emotional.

A Dad’s Love

Just like we learn from our mothers, we also learn from our fathers.

Around Mother’s Day, I asked you to consider your own childhood and how it impacted your views on parenthood.

Let’s take a look at what you learned from dad or the males in your life:

  1. What did you learn about love and relationships from your father?
  2. What things did you want to incorporate into your relationship/marriage/parenting based off your parents?
  3. What things did you not want incorporate?
  4. Rituals and traditions dad brought into our family was…
  5. A good memory that I have dad was…
  6. My dad made me feel special by…
  7. When I think of the word “dad”…
  8. Something my dad did/taught me that is important to me in our parenting is…
  9. Something my dad did that I didn’t like when I was a child was…
  10. An ideal dad or father is…

These questions can be difficult to ask, especially for adult children of abusive parents. Despite the difficulty in asking these questions, it’s important to do because it creates a roadmap for how you parent your own children and engage in a loving, healthy relationship with your partner or spouse.

This Father’s Day, I encourage you to spend a little time reflecting on what a “Father” means to you. What does being fatherly mean to you? How do you incorporate feelings of fatherhood into your own life, whether it’s by supporting your partner or spouse, embracing your role as the father in the family, or being a positive male role model in the lives of children.

If you’re looking to explore more about what it means to you to be a father, I’m just a click or phone call away at Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com or 954.401.9011.

Marriage Counseling Parents

Lessons Learned from Mom

Mothering it’s a hard job, for sure!   Here is a funny Mother’s Day video to make you laugh. Melissa Mohr show’s you how to… well you just gotta watch the video.  

In honor of Mother’s Day, she’s has some words of wisdom for all mom’s because let’s face it; moms are human beings too. Bad Moms (great movie BTW) showed us what life sometimes feels like for moms with ever increasing societal and family demands.

Mother’s Day reminds me of my work as a couples therapist and how we view motherhood through the lens of relationships. Of course many of you reading this maybe grew up without a mother.  Think about the women or people in your life you played a mother role.  We all have many mom type influences.

Depending on your age and background, your own mother may not have had the same opportunities for career advancement you and your daughters do now. There may have even been laws forbidding your mother from working, or extreme societal pressure not to work. It may have been frowned upon for your mother to want relationship counseling or marriage help.Marriage Counseling Parents

Whether you’re married and a mother, in a relationship, or still single, it’s important to think about the lessons learned from your own parents, about what roles and responsibilities you individually were taught to bring to the relationship and conversely, the roles and responsibilities of your partner.

Considering Parenthood…

Some questions I like to ask couples who are parents or considering having children are:

  • What did you learn about love and relationships from your own mother?
  • What things did you want to incorporate into your relationship/marriage/children based off your parents? What things did you not want incorporate?
  • My core beliefs on parenting are…
  • The thing(s) I love MOST about parenting are…
  • The thing(s) I love LEAST about parenting are…
  • One thing I wish we could change about our parenting is….
  • Something my mom did/taught me that is important to me in our parenting is…
  • Something my dad did/taught me that is important to me in our parenting is…
  • Something my mom did that I didn’t like that when I was a child was…
  • Something my dad did that I didn’t like when I was a child was…

In fact, I’ve got a whole worksheet with 25+ questions you and your partner can ask yourselves or one another about your roles in the marriage as well as a parent.

Asking yourself questions about what you liked, and didn’t like, about your parents, their relationship with you as a child, and their relationship with one another gives you an opportunity to examine your parenting and relationship strategies. You may find you’re repeating the very same behavior you swore you’d never do. There’s a reason we laugh at the joke, “Sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out!”

Reflecting on your role as a parent and a partner may be a bit jarring at first, especially if you fall into the category of “I didn’t know I was doing that…” And if you read the above two questions and started sweating, that’s why I’m here. I encourage you to review and/or talk about these questions, despite how difficult some of the questions may be to answer, and use those answers to move you and your partner towards growth.

As you reflect on Mother’s Day either as a mother, grandmother, aunt, step-mother, like a mother or the son or daughter of one, use what your momma gave you, good and bad, to achieve the type of of relationship you want and be the type of partner or parent you want.

If you’re struggling to make some positive change, I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 and Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com and I’m here to guide you and your partner in your marriage counseling. Talk to you soon!

The Kentucky Derby and Your Marriage

I’m the first one to admit, I’m not much into horse racing, yet there’s something about the Kentucky Derby that is so interesting…

Is it the hats, the roses or the names…

Perhaps it’s the glamorous hats everyone wears which are reminiscent of the fascinators more commonly found in England. It might be the day long event to watch mere seconds of a race. It could be the beautiful rose wreath placed around the winning horse’s neck (Run for the Roses anyone?) Or maybe it’s just the funny names each horse is given, like American Pharoah or Always Dreaming.

While thinking about the Kentucky Derby this year, I found myself wondering the amount of time and energy jockeys dedicate to training for the Kentucky Derby (the most well known of the three races, the Belmont and Preakness Stakes make up the other two of the Triple Crown).

And inevitably, I got to thinking about marriage counseling.

Horse and Home Life

The process of becoming a jockey is lifelong; like an sport, height and weight requirements, in addition to starting at an early age are factors which play predominantly in the jockey’s success. The horse, its temperament, and relationship with the jockey are also contributing factors, much like the saying, “picking a good horse for the race.” For those reading who like to gamble and bet, you might be familiar with the process of picking a racehorse, following the horse’s past wins and losses, style of racing, comfort on a certain track, etc.

How different would our lives be if we devoted the same type of diligence to our marriages? Or whom with whom we chose to have children?

How do you prepare for big moments in your life?

Couples often underestimate the benefits of premarital counseling or How Premarital Questions Can Help You Have a Happy Marriage. Yet marriage counseling is not necessarily only when there are problems or difficulties in the relationship. Healthy couples are always preparing for the next step of relationships, from dating, to the engagement, to marriage, and what happens during the marriage.

Just like the three races of the Triple Crown, relationships go through three phases, from courtship, marriage, to maintenance. Each phase will require different energy, motivation, and responses from the individuals in the relationship. The maintenance required of a relationship with children is much different than that of newlyweds and a new set of skills and resources must be learned and harnessed.

How did you decide to get married? How did you decide to have children? How will you make future decisions about the course of your relationship and family?

Don’t worry about the Derby…

It’s easy to get caught up in the little things; the engagement party, the wedding, the baby shower, etc. It’s only natural. These are big events, with many people in attendance, and we want to make a good impression and have good memories.

I’ll share a little secret with you: these aren’t the only big moments in your life.

The big moments are those in which you’re sitting at dinner and decide that your partner is the one. The day you wake up and feel nothing but joy and happiness with your life, your family, your friends. The time your child shares with you a very large (or small) worry or concern with you and you respond in a kind and supportive way.

These are the big moments in life for which we prepare. If you and your partner need a little help in your marriage to prepare for the next big steps you’ll take, I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 and Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com and I’m here to guide you and your partner in your marriage counseling. Talk to you soon!

Career Coaching Private Practice

If You Were to Die Today

With Memorial Day approaching this month, a favorite quote of mine comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald. He said, “For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. [sic] I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

When I coach other entrepreneurs who are opening up a business one of the very first conversations we have is…

What’s your “why”?

The coaching process begins with a pretty big question: “Why?”  No, it isn’t to make money or because I thought I should.  It is way bigger than that.  

  • Why did you even get up in the morning?
  • Why did you become an entrepreneur?
  • Why do you want to offer your services to others?
  • Why will it matter?
  • Why should anyone care?

How will the world change and be a better place because of your work? What is the legacy you want to leave behind after you’re gone?  What is your 100 year goal?  Pretty heavy stuff, right?

Death is uncomfortable…

It’s hard to believe how many days are dedicated to it: El Dia De Los Muertos in Mexico, Good Friday in Christianity, Memorial Day, even Halloween in the United States are just a few of the many celebrations throughout the world which focus on the inevitable: death.

Death doesn’t always have to scare us though, sometimes death can be the motivation we need to succeed.   What would you want people to say about you once you’re gone? Are you living that kind of life you want to? What are the changes you need to make now so that you’re living that life today?  Are you doing the things you dreamed about doing or at least taking actions towards those goals?

When I was in the 8th grade I took course on Death and Dying. As part of the course we had to write our own eulogy. I have since did that exercise several times with the most recent being February 2017.  Have you ever written your own eulogy?  Interesting right?  When I coach people in writing goals we always start with the end in mind and work our way backwards.  If you decided to try this exercise and write your own eulogy starting with “the end” (depends on your beliefs) in mind how close or how far are you away from the person who is being eulogized?  Puts stuff into perspective one way or the other doesn’t it?  Career Coaching Private Practice

Death as motivation…

I want to encourage you to use the idea of your own death as a motivating tool. Do the things which you are afraid of now; do the things that scare you because you think that business venture won’t work, or that you don’t have the money saved up for that trip around the world.

Make a plan and get going on it now, not tomorrow or “someday”.  Live your life like the person whose eulogy you wrote.  If that means traveling the world, be the best parent you can be, making more time for the truly important things or whatever your “it” is, like Nike says, “just do it.”  We aren’t promised tomorrow and there is no better day than today to start living and being your best self.  

Looking to motivate yourself more, resolve old issues in your personal life or relationship? Or maybe you’re finally stepping out of your 9 to 5 doldrum. If you’re looking for a guide to help you get started on your life’s next big adventure, I’m just a click away Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com.

 

Humor and Hot Air Balloons

Life is better when you’re laughing.

When’s the last time you had a good belly laugh with your spouse or partner?

Can’t remember? You’re overdue for a good laugh, then.

Laughing is essential for relationships, friendships, and overall life. Anyone who’s ever worked with me knows I love to bring my personality and humor into the room; it lightens the mood and connects us.

In honor of National Humor Month, I have a question to ask you: where is the humor in your relationship?

Many of the couples I work with my practice comment on the lack of spontaneity, fun, and excitement they once experienced as a new couple. The “business of the day” or life has gotten in the way of couples connecting on a deeper level, including sharing fun and humorous moments together.

This past month, to inject a little humor into my own relationship, I began watching a TV Show on Netflix called “No Tomorrow” (for those of you already familiar with this show, high five!) I know, this was a little counterproductive to some New Year’s Goals, especially for those who wanted to lighten up on the #Netflixandchill.

“No Tomorrow” is about a 30-something year old woman who begins a relationship with a man who believes the world is about to end, and lives his life accordingly. “No Tomorrow” really caught my attention, not only for it’s sense of humor, but the deeper message it sometimes not so subtly slips into each episode.

For those of you who’ve been following my blog for some time, you know I love to dream big and set goals for myself, both personal and professional. One of my goals was to take a hot air balloon ride, and in January, I finally did! What an experience!

How are hot air balloons related to humor? I’m glad you asked. I probably laughed more on my hot air balloon ride than I ever have in my life. Truthfully, it might have been nervous laughter, although sometimes we have to take risks with ourselves in order to have a little fun. I think I also laughed at the fact that there were 12 people in a basket, floating by a balloon filled with hot air. Now that facts and logic of it all was pretty funny.

Seeing the humor in everyday life is a little bit hard at first, especially if you or your partner aren’t accustomed to laughing together, or if you’ve forgotten how to laugh. Sometimes, we have to laugh at ourselves in order to make the best of otherwise difficult situations.

My call to action for you this month is to find one thing to laugh about each day with your partner or spouse, whether it’s something the other said or sharing a funny meme you found on Facebook or watching silly cat videos, whatever tickles your fancy just do it! If you or your partner need a little guidance to find the humor in your life, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 or Kate@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com. Looking forward to laughing with you!

Your Relationship Needs a “Spring Break”

It’s no secret most of us are working more and playing less.  Ugghh… (hand raised) I have been guilty of that for years.  I have finally resigned to no longer working weekends, only took like 20+ years, and have been incorporating more play into my life.  I can’t tell you how essential it has been for me.  It’s almost like my oxygen mask.

Psychology Today published an article, “The Decline of Play and the Rise in Children’s Mental Health Disorders” in which it outlined how the lack of play in children’s lives lead to a decrease in feelings of control for children, with dire consequences.  Wowzers, right!

Adults are no different. Sort of.

Everyone remembers the scene from The Shining, where the words “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” were typed over, and over, and over. Well, Jack Nicholson’s character wasn’t entirely wrong.

The Case for Vacation: Why Science Says Breaks Are Good for Productivity” highlights a similar sentiment as Psychology Today’s article: everyone needs a break to feel and perform their best.

And you all know I’m a big proponent of the Pareto Principle, which is that 20% of our input causes 80% of our results. And you all know that getting balanced was a first order of business this year for me, still is and an on going process.   

Why all the fuss over Spring Break?

In it’s truest sense, Spring Break is a time for students to take a break from returning to school for the Spring Semester. Florida is one of the more notorious Spring Break destinations here in the U.S., historically Daytona Beach on the East Coast and Panama City Beach on the Gulf Coast.

Before you start planning your own Spring Break, stop for a moment and consider all of the leisure activities you enjoy doing, especially those with your spouse and family. How many of these leisure activities are you participating in regularly? How often do you find yourself making excuses for why you can’t take vacation, you can’t take a break, or you can’t stop working?

This month, I’m giving you a homework assignment. Counterintuitive, right? Work so you can stop working. It’s helpful though, I promise.

Take a minute to think about the things you and your partner really enjoy doing and things you enjoy doing solo. Try to come up with at least 10 activities, whether it’s 5 with your spouse, 5 alone, 10 with your spouse, 10 alone, etc.

These are the things you should prioritize when developing your weekly or monthly schedule. The beginning of every month should find you scheduling these leisure moments for yourself, your spouse, and your family.

Easier said than done, right? One of the biggest challenges the individuals and couples I work with face is getting started on implementing a new activity, task, routine, etc. It can feel like there’s a lot of effort put into making change, very little pay off. Who knows if you’ll even commit to doing those leisure activities you’ve scheduled. Need a little help deciding what to do? Or a little extra push to commit to leisure? Check out my blog on 25 Ways to Have Fun and Be Playful in Your Relationship or my others on 15 Ways to Make Your Relationship Sizzle this Summer. (Tried those? Here’s 15 more!)

My colleague Susan Block, LMFT and I created a video on “3 Things to Do Now In Your Relationship” for those individuals who were motivated and willing to begin making changes. This month, begin making the changes you want to see in your relationship, your work, your life and identify the need for a Spring Break. If you’re having a hard time hitting “Pause” on your habits, I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 or Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com, talk with you soon!

The Business of Relationships

March 3rd was Employee Appreciation Day and many of you reading this may have a received a small token (or large, for that matter) of appreciation from your employer. No matter the size of the gesture, I hope it brightened up your day.

Lately, it seems like appreciation is in short supply and it’s a sentiment I hear echoed in both my private practice coaching as well as my marital counseling sessions. Many individuals are willing to only work so hard at something, with little to no appreciation, especially in a relationship.

My colleague Susan Block, LMFT, and I created a video on How to Increase Appreciation for Your Partner or Your Spouse in which we discuss the importance of building a culture of appreciation within any relationship or marriage. And although this can feel like a big task to take on, it’s actually rather simple with anything if we create a clear goal, plan and system.

The number one way to incorporate appreciation into the culture of your relationship is to express gratitude in the relationship by saying, “Thank you”.  Even if it is things that you don’t “feel like” you need to acknowledge.  I hear many couples say, “well s/he should just know that… “

“Thank you for doing the dishes.”

“Thank you for giving the kids a bath tonight.”

“Thank you for being you.”

Easy right? Well, in theory, yes. Many couples, especially couples in long term relationships, struggle to incorporate gratitude and appreciation back into the relationship because they’ve lost touch with many of the things which once initially attracted them to their partner. What might have once made you laugh, you now only find irritating.

If you’re struggling to find appreciation in your relationship, it might be time to examine your role and your partner’s role in the relationship. A professor of mine once said, “You wouldn’t accept a job without having a job description, with clear roles and responsibilities, why would you enter to a relationship without something similar?”  Good one, right!   I love this one.

It might seem a little cold and calculated, to draft up some sort of contract regarding roles and responsibilities in a marriage, yet just as “good fences make good neighbors”, boundaries within a relationship can improve the health and well being of the couple.

It’s important for couples to determine who will be the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the family and come to an agreement about how money will be spent in the family. Regular budget meetings, while boring and reminiscent of work, are crucial to the financial success of any family. Similarly, one partner will need to assume the role of of Chief Operating Officer (COO) and be responsible for coordinating the operations of the household.

Applying these types of business practices to your household allows you to honor one another’s strengths. Perhaps you can’t stand handling a budget yet your spouse or partner enjoys making sense of numbers; you’d prefer to plan a vacation. In this way, you and your partner can work together to create a budget and a plan for that dream vacation you’ve only talked about taking.

Overall it is important to acknowledge and appreciate one another for your various roles in your relationship as well as the awesome stuff about you each individually and together.  Look I never heard anyone get annoyed by too much appreciation or celebration whether it be at work or in their relationship just assure your appreciations are genuine and heartfelt.

If you’re relationship is lacking defined roles and responsibilities and you want to build a culture of appreciation, I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 or Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com, talk with you soon!

Get Creative in Your Relationship

Hi, my name’s Katie, and I’m a workaholic.

Funny to hear that coming from a therapist, right? It’s true. And it’s not often we get to hear about the issues or problems plaguing the therapist. Every so often a bit of self-disclosure from your therapist is necessary, helpful even, to put into perspective that we are all human and we all struggle in our lives. A therapist’s self-disclosure can be a useful teaching moment in the therapy session, a guiding and hopeful anecdote of the possibility and power of change.

My self-disclosure is that I’m a workaholic by nature and while I didn’t enter a Twelve-Step program (which I probably would have tried to run, along with 15 other programs if I allowed myself) in 2008, a rough year for me, I did have to learn how to undo many of my previously learned work behaviors.

The truth is, I enjoy working. I love it even. I love business, leadership and entrepreneurship. In spite of my love for work, I NOW know the value or relaxation, laughter, and fun. It is in these moments when we allow ourselves to be free of constraints (either internally or externally imposed) that we find creativity, excitement, and passion, all things we need to live a balanced life. Since January was Get a Balanced Life Month, I’m reminded to put into practice the many things I learned about easing back on the workload and into relaxation.

Creativity isn’t discussed often in our social circles, relationships or home life, maybe not even our work life (unless we’re in a creative field) yet creativity is paramount to our well-being and functioning as individuals and couples. Dr. Brene Brown one of my favorite speakers and authors talks about creativity as 1 Guidepost #6– Cultivating Creativity in her book The Gifts of Imperfection.  Just look at your Mac laptop (if you happen to have one, or any other Apple product) and reflect on the ingenuity and creativity that placed that product into your hands.

You probably can’t imagine life without it!

When you’re running low on creativity life can feel a little empty. We get caught up in the doldrum of everyday living, errands, chores, appointments, meetings, etc. What little free time we have left isn’t always used to our best abilities (like 5 hours of watching TV on a Netflix binge, anyone?).  We are most often doing those things because we are so exhausted, so overwhelmed that we just need a way to numb out and decompress.  I am totally guilty of that at times as well.  

Want more proof of why you should get creating? Check out this article on Huffington Post on how “[sic] Making Art is Good for Your Brain”. There’s a reason adult coloring books have become so popular lately.

Being creative allows us to tap into a whole other side of ourselves, one we don’t get to use all that much. Fear not, those of you who think you are artistically challenged:  I once heard a Bonsai class instructor say, “it’s not about the finished product, it’s about the journey.” You don’t have to create the next masterpiece which will hang in the Louvre for decades, or write the great American novel, or even get a hit single on the radio.

What’s most important is that you allow yourself to simply create. A drawing, painting, coloring sheet, poem, short story, diary entry, the lyrics to a song, music with pots and pans, a movie plot, whatever you imagine. Dust off your the creative gears in your mind and get to work.

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, it’s almost impossible for me to let an idea go without relating it back to my work with couples or more other passions. I cannot stress enough the importance of creativity within a relationship. Many couples I work with, especially those who’ve been together for long periods of time, lament the slow fade of passion and excitement from the relationship, with dire consequences.

Getting creative in your relationship takes practice, especially if you’ve shied away from trying anything new lately, or simply haven’t had the time, or whatever your excuse. Yes, they’re all excuses. I’m a firm believer in the power everyone holds within themselves to make whatever changes they want in life, regardless of circumstances. The only things standing in the way of you, is you!

One of the most helpful technique couples have shared with me about how they brought creativity back into their relationship is taking time to connect, be silly, having no agenda, reminiscing about all the first dates they went on together…  In revisiting the past, when the relationship was new and fresh and each one was trying just a little bit to impress and excite the other, coming up with creative ideas for dates and things to do together seemed easy. Couples who return to this mentality of trying to explore a world of opportunities together and getting to know the new person their partner is becoming report increased satisfaction in their relationship. Together, they’ve gotten creative.

Whether you’re in a relationship with a significant other or yourself, I encourage you this month to spend some time exploring ways you can let your inner creativity shine, either at work, home or play. If you find yourself struggling to get creative and need a little support to get you started on your journey, don’t hesitate to reach out, I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 or Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com.

Does Your Relationship Need a Check Up

Does Your Relationship Need a “Checkup”?

How’s your relationship been feeling lately? Any fever, aches, pains? What about congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes? No? Okay.

What about communication, how often are you and your partner communicating? Hourly throughout the day, every few hours, or just once when you get home before you go bed reporting back what I call “the business of the day”.  It kind of sounds like… “What’s for dinner?  How were the kids?  Did Rebecca do well at swimming?  How was work?”  You know this I am sure! This communication is necessary but not deeply intimate or connecting.   

How about satisfaction? How satisfied are you currently in your relationship, on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being completely unsatisfied and 10 being completely satisfied.

If any of these questions got you thinking about the quality of your relationship, you might need a relationship check up. It might seem odd at first to think about giving your relationship a check up although nothing could be further from the truth.

One of the most disheartening statistics I’ve come across as a couples counselor is that the average couple waits six years before reaching out for help. Six years! While couples may wait to enter couples counseling for a variety of reasons, this means there’s a long time where one or both individuals in the relationship is feeling hurt and these feelings are going unresolved.

Another common complaint I hear when couples enter counseling is while the relationship is “alright” at the time, the couple isn’t experiencing the same level of happiness or satisfaction as they previously were in the relationship.

This is where I like to introduce the concept of a “Relationship Thermometer” to the couples I work with in therapy. Just like the first step in checking your physical health is to take your temperature, the first step in checking your relationship health is to see where you’re at as a couple.Does Your Relationship Need a Check Up

Checking in frequently and regularly with your partner about his/her level of happiness and satisfaction in the relationship, as well as your own feelings, is crucial to the long term success of your relationship.

It’s a shame this key piece is often overlooked in relationships yet it’s crucial for you and your partner. Most couples get hung up on the necessary, yet unrewarding, communication habit of conducting the “business of the day”.  These topics are important for the continued functioning of the household while at the same time keeping couples stuck on a “merry-go-round” of topics.

This merry-go-round isn’t hurting anyone, but it certainly isn’t helping you and your partner get the relationship you want.

So, how do you start using your relationship thermometer and get you and your partner off the merry-go-round? My colleague Susan Block, LMFT and I have a great video on “How Code Words Can Help Improve Your Relationship” that looks at ways couples can incorporate code words to quickly and easily communicate with one another about their feelings.

Phrases like, “I’m so well done” might indicate a particularly tough day at work and can help partner’s respond in a meaningful way. Code words work best in relationships when both individuals know and can agree upon the code words and their respective meaning. (You might not get the results you want if you start speaking in code without letting your partner know!)

Think you might want to delve a little bit deeper into your relationship check up? Another great tool I use with the couples I work with is the “Gottman Relationship Checkup”.  

The “Gottman Relationship Checkup” looks at 60 areas within the relationship and helps couples identify and highlight what’s going well, what needs improvement, guides the overall focus of the couples counseling as well as gives you tools and activities to do outside of session.  I would love to get you started on the Relationship Assessment it is backed by 40 years of research on couples, good stuff!

If you’re taking your relationship temperature right now and realizing your relationship isn’t so well, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Remember, the average couple waits 6 years before getting any kind of professional help. Maybe you’ve waited long enough. I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 or Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com, talk with you soon!

Want More Time? Organize It!

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24 hours in a day.” – Zig Ziglar

The New Year is here! The bottles have been popped, resolutions made, and the gyms crowded with “resolutioners” who many habitual gym goers believe (or hope) will be gone by the first week of February.

It’s the start of a new year and the possibilities to your success are endless! Or are they?

In my coaching practice, where I work with clinicians who are looking to build successful private practices, one of the statements I hear for why things won’t work out are “I don’t have the time.” In fact, it’s something I myself used to say all the time, until my own business coach pushed me out of my comfort zone (You can listen to this amazing podcast on Tips for Time Mastery in Private Practice with Michael Dill).

Where does this notion of “not enough time” come from and how can we become masters of own time?

I’m sure you’ve read some alarming statistics throughout your lifetime, about how much of our time is actually devoted to (or wasted on) certain things. “The average American watches 5 hours of live TV a day” is just one of the many you can find, breaking down exactly how we spend our time.

Seems a bit excessive, doesn’t it? Five hours on TV a day. When you add that to an 8 (9 for those with unpaid lunch) hour work day, an hour long commute (on average), plus 6 to 8 hours sleeping, you’re left with only about 1 to 3 hours of other time which you can devote to other things.

Now, don’t get me wrong I get sucked into relaxing, decompressing by watching TV. I love  a good movie, Shark Tank, The Profit and a few others just as much as the next person.  Yet there’s something about spending a large majority of our free time on such an inactive activity that leaves me wondering. I wonder how much more could be accomplished with more segmented uses of time.

It’s a tip I learned from my own business coach and have begun implementing in my everyday life. You’ve heard the phrase “Eat the frog first”. This month I want to encourage you to “Eat only the frog first”. This means doing the most important things you need to get done FIRST.  Yes that means before you check your email, hang out on Facebook or any other distraction tactics you have, and I know you do because I have plenty of those too.  This is one small skills to master your time.  

One thing to keep in mind as you begin the journey to getting organized this month, whether it’s organizing your home office and your finances in order to prepare for tax season, or even beginning to draft a plan for a next big move in your life, like home buying, career change, etc. is that part of getting organized requires you to stay focused and simultaneous let go.

Staying focused and letting go are two of the hardest things to master when working on a project. It’s tempting to give up and move on to another task if the first one we’re working on just isn’t working. And it’s hard to let go of the vision in our head of what we thought things would look like when we were finished.

Take home improvement projects for instances; it can be a daunting task to remodel any part of a home, whether it’s the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, wherever. Do-it-yourself and even professional projects might not live up to the expectation we had of the finished product.

In order to move forward and get organized we need to let go of the past, things that no longer serve us whether they be tangible things, relationships, activities and items we no longer use or need. In the spirit of the new year, and new you, I encourage you to take a mental inventory of things in your life requiring a little more focus and attention, while also looking at areas where you can find a little more balance in your life by letting go.

Getting organized can be hard and might require a little more coaching to get you in a space where you need to be so you can focus, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 or Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com.