A Transformation of Love Through Time

Dr. Sue Johnson, renowned psychologist, therapist, author, and presenter postulates that throughout time, love is continually transformed. Before modern society as we currently know it, families lived off the land, working farms, and lived in small, close knit community villages. The main reason for marrying during this period of time was to inherit more land, wealth, security, and produce offspring who would eventually take over the farm or family business and care for their parents in old age. The idea of two people coming together because of mutual feelings of love or a deep connection simply wasn’t the case. The focus in this time was on survival and staying within the community, as it provided food, shelter, and protection.

Fast forward past the agricultural age and into the industrial era and a bit beyond and we find that more often that women chose men for financial security. Many women were unemployed and uneducated during this time, so love was not a factor in the equation of relationships or marriage. Again, we see a need for wealth, security, and protection as a principal motivating factor for individuals to join in marriage. Dr. Sue Johnson even states that until the eighties, love as a reason for getting married was about fifth on the list when ranking reasons for marriage.

Fast forward to our present day and the primary reason for relationships and marriage is love. Love, an emotional connectedness so important to the couple that is surpasses all else in our lives and our partners our spouses become our loves, our friends, and our community all in one, placing an important, yet heavy load on the romantic relationship. Gone are the days when we connected with other for our mere survival, or are they? Love, and loving in a mature, adult manner, is about being connected to others as a means of survival, much like that of a newborn infant or small child, whose entire existence depends on the quality of the connectedness and attachment with its parents. As adults, we continue to choose partners based on the desire to survive, through the need for attachment and bonding. We cannot live without relationships. Sure, you might think of yourself as capable of living alone in a remote location somewhere, but even then you would rely on your relationship with others (maybe not human). You would rely on your relationship with plants and animals to feed and clothe you; you would rely on your relationship with the sun to guide you and inform you of directions, time of day, and changing seasons; you would rely on your relationship with water to hydrate and clean you. In today’s capitalist society, we have a relationship with money that puts our orange juice, eggs, and bacon on the table every morning.

Numerous studies have been conducted on orphans, prisoners, and other isolated individuals to study the power behind love, bonding, and connection and conversely, its effects when denied. In early childhood development, attachment is so important that a lack of connection to a secure attachment figure (most likely the mother, father, or other major caregiver) who was reliable and available results in physical alterations to the anatomy and chemistry of the brain, such as reduced brain activity and less developed cortexes.

In our Western society, which can be considered the North and South America, Europe, and Australia or any other country with a heavy European influence, we value the individual and independence. In Eastern societies, like those found in India and much of Asia, family and community are more highly valued than the individual. In both societies, the role of the spouse or partner is above all else and when our partner does something that is hurtful or commits an act of betrayal, our world comes crashing down. If you take these moments of hurt and betrayal  that occur daily, weekly, and monthly; however, small and multiply them by days, months, and years, we find that individuals within relationships feel hurt, disappointed, and disconnected. In this way, we are still deeply connected to our ancestral roots of why we choose to engage in a relationship, love, and marry. Dr. Johnson states that love is “a constant process of tuning in, connecting, missing, misreading cues, disconnecting, repairing, and finding a deeper connection. It is a dance of meeting and parting, in finding each other again, minute by minute, day by day.”

In our current time, since our partners and spouses tend to have many roles to fulfill as our partner, lover, friend, etc. couples and marriage counseling is a useful way for us to learn how to maintain that deep level of connection between two people that we crave and seek out to feel whole. Many therapists or counselors who aren’t formally trained in marriage and family therapy tend to help couples create simple solutions to their complex problems, but they don’t really get at the heart of what’s going on within the relationship and work to fix the root of the concern. Some of these simple and often ineffective for the long term solutions might look like creating a budget for a financially struggling couple, or a book on pleasure, a new sex position, or weekend away for a couple whose concern is that their sex live is no longer exciting and taken a turn towards mundane and routine. Although these solutions help in short-term and address the symptom, they fail to create long lasting connection, understanding, change for these couples. Couples often fall victim to a chronic pattern of poor communication that results in feeling criticized, attacked, and defensive. This pattern continues, round and round on a proverbial hamster wheel of arguments with no end in sight. Working with a couples counselor, who is trained in working with couples, will have the experience and knowledge necessary to assist you and your partner in interrupting and changing this poor communication style. For more information on couples counseling, feel free to visit my website www.FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com and go to the “For Couples” tab.  You will find a lot of different information to assist you on your journey!

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3 Ways to Stop Online Affairs

 1. Protect Your Status

The first step Dr. Richardson-Quamina recommends in preventing an online affair is to protect your relationship status. We all remember the pivotal scene in 2010’s “The Social Network” when Jesse Eisenberg’s character realizes that the one thing that will make his online platform completely ready for use: relationship status. When you put your relationship status out there for everyone to see, you’re being honest with others about your availability (and surprisingly, this doesn’t always happen). When you’re upfront about your relationship status, you have options on what you choose to do when you receive an inappropriate “Like”or “Poke” (back when Facebook had those) direct message. Dr. Richardson-Quamina stresses that everyone’s reaction will be unique to themselves but some reactions include: deciding to unfriend the person, unfollow the person, cut the connection, or reach out and set a boundary with that person. A question to ask yourself in determining your response is, “Will this cause a problem in my relationship if I continue to communicate with this person?”

2. Follow the Golden Rule

Of online usage, in this instance. Dr. Richardson-Quamina suggests that for an individual trying to determine at what point his or her online behavior becomes questionable to remember “Don’t do anything [online] that you cannot do in front of your partner. This simple and easy to remember mantra can be the guiding principle one follows for all online interaction, especially when it comes to social media. Be honest with yourself, and your partner, about the myriad of ways in which communication comes across through social media and online. E-Mails, direct messages (DM), webcams, etc. all play a role in how you’re communicating with others outside of your relationship. And you should be communication about this with your partner, which leads to Dr. Richardson-Quamina’s final tip…

3. Talk the talk

The difficult talk. Communication is so important in relationships, it cannot be stressed enough. Often, the issues occurring within the relationship are a result of miscommunication and misunderstood expectations. Dr. Richardson-Quamina suggests taking the time to sit down with your partner and have the difficult conversation of what your expectations are and learn what your partner expects from you. She even mentions creating an contract of all online behavior, as a way to set boundaries regarding acceptable communication online. Perhaps your partner doesn’t think communicating with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend is an issue, but this is something that would drive you insane. Until you make your expectations know, your partner can’t know them. While it’s difficult to start, having this type of talk will ensure smoother communication and boundaries in the end.

For more information on Dr. Richardson-Quamina’s tips, you can visit her website at Therapy Tribe.

Couples Counseling Coral Springs

Marni Feureman & Jessica Marchena – Hold Me Tight – 7 Conversations for a Lifetime

Licensed Clinical Social Worker and MArriage and Family Therapist - Relationship ExpertMarni Feuerman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist currently in private practice in Boca Raton, Florida. She has a Master of Social Work degree from Barry University in Miami and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from California Southern University. Marni specializes in couples therapy and relationship issues. She has clinical training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and Discernment Counseling for mixed-agenda couples. Marni is the current marriage expert and content writer for the website About.com. She also writes for several other websites, including YourTango.com, Dr. Oz’s Sharecare.com and PsychCentral.com. Marni is a frequently quoted expert in the media on issues related to marriage, relationships, couples and love.

licensed mental health couples counselorJessica Marchena has a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology and she is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She currently maintains a private practice in Boca Raton, FL and is the co-owner of the Heart Connection Center. Jessica has over 20 years of clinical experience working with children, adolescents, families and adults in different treatment settings. Jessica has advanced training in Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), Cognitive Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT). She is a Florida Qualified Supervisor for LMFT interns. She has had the opportunity to present on various topics as well as train therapists both locally and nationally at various agencies, companies, schools and conferences. Some of these topics include: MDFT, Reconnecting Adolescents with their families, and How ADHD is stressing your marriage, and most recently facilitating a psycho-educational workshop for couples called Hold Me Tight published by www.ICEEFT.com

Couples Counseling Coral Springs

Michele Landers – Cellmates or Soulmates – How Couples Can Live Miraculously

couples counseling cellmates or soulmates living miraculouslyMichele Landers is a Board Certified Life Purpose Coach and Hypnotherapist and Professional Numerologist. She is a dynamic and gifted lecturer and a teacher on the subjects of self empowerment, Law of Attraction and Numerology. Michele was a recurring coach on Fox ‘s WFLX “Eye on South Florida” with Shannon Cake. Recognized and highly regarded as an authority in her field, her books, The Tao of Numbers and The Year of Living Miraculously are both informative and entertaining. Michele has taught hundreds of classes, speaking throughout the country. She has helped thousands of clients nationwide to gain clarity and direction in their lives and to discover their own unique talent.

For more info:  Michele Landers

Couples Therapy

When One Partner Refuses Counseling

“You can’t make me go!” That’s something you’d expect to hear from your toddler not your spouse, yet I hear it all the time. Rather, I hear that’s what my client hears all the time.   I hear other things like, “I will not go because I don’t want to have you and someone else gang up on me.”  “Things aren’t that bad.”  “We can work it out on our own.”  “I don’t need therapy YOU need therapy.”  “I don’t know if couples counseling will really help.”  It’s hard, when one partner refuses counseling.

Couples TherapyIf we take a moment to dissect what your spouse was saying, we’ll actually find the root of the discomfort many men and women feel when the idea of couples counseling is brought up: they’re going to be ganged up on by two others. What they’ve done wrong is going to be the focus of the session and ultimately, one person will lose amongst many other preconceived notions about couples counseling.  

For those of you that may be reading this at the begrudging request of your spouse, let me set the record straight: while couples counseling may be the idea of one person in the relationship, the end results are to benefit both people. My client is not your spouse, nor is it you. My client is your relationship. The goals you chose to focus on will not be solely those of your spouse and neither will they be entirely your goals. The goals will be those that you decide on together in session with my help and guidance.

I am always so sad to hear how long couples struggle before they actually get into couples or marriage counseling.  Couples often wait 6 years to get some type of help when one party requests it.  Imagine if you had a fracture in your arm.  It might not hurt that bad, but you decide to ignore it in hopes that it will get better.  Then you try to use your arm, it hurts, it is sore, but yet you refuse to see the doctor.  Now, imagine you go along that way for 6 months, a year, 2 years, up until 6 years.  Ouch!!! There is no need to wait so long to get into couples counseling.  I tell the couples I work with to think of it as “couples coaching” because that is exactly what I do with couples is coach and guide them in different skills, techniques, and activities to help them have a better relationship.  

Couples need to be concerned with choosing the right therapist.  There are 3 major models of couples counseling.  They are: Gottman Method, Imago, and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT).  I would highly recommend seeking out a therapist trained in one of these models.  I am a Level III Gottman trained clinician and also have attended several EFT trainings.  Furthermore, you are the consumer of a service.  If it isn’t working for you search out another therapist that you feel fits with you.  

I posted an infographic from Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S on “How Couples Therapy Can Strengthen Your Relationship”. The infographic outlines some of the common myths surrounding couples counseling and its benefits. In her podcast on Love, Happiness and Success, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby reviews the anxiety some individuals feel when faced with the decision to go through marriage counseling. It’s important to keep in mind your partner’s feelings when approaching the subject of counseling; just like you want your partner to be open to the idea of counseling, you also need to be open to your partner’s feelings about why they’re hesitant to counseling.

Just because it may be difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get a reluctant spouse or partner into therapy. In my experience with the couples I work with, the person who was most adamant against seeing a marriage counselor is often the one who requests the next session. That original, “You can’t make me go!” is suddenly, “When do we go again?” The change in your partner’s attitude comes in large part from your marriage therapist’s competence and expertise. With the right marriage counselor, you and your partner will feel open, honest, and safe while discussing difficult topics. With the right marriage counselor you and your partner will be taught communication techniques to use. With the right marriage counselor you and your partner will begin to not only feel better about your relationship but develop and nurture a stronger and healthier relationship, increase your love, friendship, and intimacy.
If you’re ready to make to make a change and improve the quality of your relationship, I’m always here to chat. After all, your relationship deserves it. – Katie

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Marriage counseling after infidelity

Can Your Relationship Recover From An Affair?

One of my favorite movies is “Gone Girl” the 2014 psychological thriller starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. The movie is based off the 2012 book of the same name, written by Gillian Flynn, which chronicles the relationship between the two main characters and the aftermath which ensues following Amy’s discovery of Nick’s extramarital affair.

Marriage counseling after infidelity

If giving away the story line of Nick’s infidelity has already spoiled too much for those of you who haven’t seen the film, I won’t say anymore. I will say that Amy’s reaction to Nick’s affair would give anyone pause before even thinking about committing such a spousal betrayal.

An affair is one of the most devastating events that can happen within a relationship, married or not. The stakes appear higher when a couple is married; there may be more to lose, like home ownership, custody of children, and a lifestyle to which one is accustomed. The flip side of the coin is that couples who find themselves cohabiting or co-parenting without the legal documentation of a marriage certificate may face even greater difficulties when it comes to a division of assets. No matter the size of the legal headache a divorce or break up may be, it doesn’t compare to the amount of emotional and psychological pain experienced after an affair. That’s why many couples find themselves reeling after an affair and often seeking a way to recover.

While many people may say that once a partner has an affair the relationship is over, others choose to work on continuing their relationship in the wake of the betrayal. If any of you have ever broken a bone or undergone major surgery, chances are you know a thing or two about physical recovery and how long it takes to heal from a physical trauma. The recovery from an emotional trauma such as an affair may feel almost impossible and you may even find yourself wondering, “When will these feelings end?” or “Will I ever feel right again?”

In my blog post 5 Key Ingredients in Healing from an Affair, I share with you some tried and true methods that couples who decide to stay together after an affair can use to strengthen their relationship and heal from the hurt. I want to highlight that these key ingredients are used when couples decide they want to stay together in spite of the infidelity. Some of you may be reading this and might not have reached a decision yet on whether or not to stay. This decision is not an easy one to make and should not be one made hastily or during extreme emotional duress. If you’ve just learned of your spouse’s infidelity, stop for a moment before you spring into action. The Scientific American released a podcast in 2010 providing just a brief overview of why quick, emotional decision is not always the best (you can listen to it and read the transcript here). You might be saying to yourself, “I’m hurt, I don’t want to make a logical decision.” and that’s okay. Humans are emotional beings and our behavior is often, if not always, guided by our desire to achieve a certain emotion. I want to empower you to take a moment to consider a few the following questions when determining whether or not your marriage is worth saving:

  • “How often has something like this happened and with how many people?”

This isn’t the question you ask to torture yourself and your spouse into chronicling and detailing every aspect of the affair, such as “How many times?” A part of you may be curious to know whether or not this was a one night stand or a longer standing affair that occurred over a longer period of time. The answer to both of those questions can help you reach your decision about whether to try and save your marriage but that’s not the purpose behind this question. This question is designed to help you determine if your spouse’s behavior is habitual. The answer to this question can be followed up with..

  • Is there abuse in my current marriage, including physical, emotional, psychological, or financial?

Domestic violence is illegal and it is not confined to physical assault. Many people may not consider an affair an abuse within a relationship and in most instances, that’s correct. But ask yourself, “Has my spouse consistently been unfaithful, with numerous sexual partners, and possibly put my health at risk by practicing unsafe sex in these affairs?” You’ll also want to consider the arguments you and your spouse engage in (does your spouse use derogatory language against you when arguing, including curse words, and attack your character/intelligence/abilities?) and also ask yourself, “Is my spouse controlling of me in way that I find uncomfortable, such as who I spend my time with, how I spend my money, my schedule, etc.?” Identifying any fear you may have of your spouse is an extremely important factor when deciding whether your marriage is worth saving. Lastly, ask yourself

  • How did I feel in my marriage before this happened?

It’s important to take make an honest assessment of your marriage in the wake of an affair. If you found yourself struggling to see the value in continuing your marriage prior to the affair it may signal that the road to recovery will not be an easy one and possibly not the one you will take on your journey towards healing. Try to identify what you want most out of your marriage and see if you can imagine achieving those goals within the boundaries of your current marriage. You might find that you and your spouse have differing opinions on what the future holds for you as a couple and you’re unable to compromise or reach an agreement on how to move forward and accept one another.

No matter the decision you make deciding how to proceed in your marriage after an affair is a difficult endeavor. As always, I’m here to help. Feel free to give me a call to further explore the possibilities of healing from an affair in your relationship 954.401.9011.

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Couples Counseling Coral Springs

Dr. Amy Demner – How to Put the Spark Back Into Your Sex Life

dr amyWith more than 20 years experience and training as a psychotherapist and clinical sexologist, Dr. Amy has worked extensively with individuals, couples, families and groups helping them get the most out of living. Her office in Coral Springs, Florida where she helps and guides people in areas such as; intimacy concerns, sexual dysfunctions, gender issues, child/teen problems, anxiety, addiction, depression, mood disorders, sexual trauma, attachment disorders, as well as parenting, divorce adjustment, self-esteem and grief issues.

Special Giveaway: Take Dr. Amy’s The Love Code Quiz she referenced on the show.

Blog – Putting the Spark Back Into Your Sex Life

Couples Counseling Coral Springs

Dr. Tenille Richardson-Quamina – How to Prevent Online Affairs

tenille-richardsonDr. Tenille Richardson-Quamina, LCSW is excited to a part of the Couples Corner Show to discuss her passion to stabilize and strengthen relationships by assisting couples in preventing or recovering from online affairs and addictions. She has conducted over eight years of in-depth research and couples therapy specializing in relationship issues caused by the Internet and Social Media. To further assist couples, Dr. Richardson-Quamina developed the “Your Relationship Can Survive the Internet” program which includes online activity contracts, art therapy exercises, online activity rating scales, communication tools and internet addiction assessments and treatment.





5 Ways to Change How You Communicate

Communication is key. If you Google search communication tips, you’ll find dozens of websites with ideas and advice on how to increase your communication. Perhaps that’s what lead you here. The desire for improved communication in any relationship is strong. Before we dive into my top 5 tips for improved communication, let’s take a minute to think about what communication is and why it’s so crucial to the success of any relationship, whether it be romantic or not. Communicating effectively is something many individuals strive to achieve, whether in their professional or personal lives. It is through communication that we can meet our own needs as well as the needs of others. Effective communication allows us to be heard, feel heard, and pass that feeling onto another as we hear them. If you’re ready to have better communication, below are five tips you can use to your advantage:

1. Feelings Matter
Couples+Counseling+Coral+Springs+Communication+Tips;+Change+CommunicationThe “I Feel” statement is a classic therapy technique for use when beginning a difficult conversation. This formulaic sentence structure can be used in a variety of situations for a myriad of issues and looks like this: “I feel (insert feelings) when you (insert behavior) because (insert how you’re affected by the behavior).” Ex: “I feel hurt when you came home late because I was really looking forward to spending time with you.” Kept it fact based, don’t generalize, and keep it to a certain situation. Communicating with your partner is this way release him/her from the personal blame which often accompanies arguments and prevents you from attacking by saying something like, “You’re so lazy for never folding the laundry!”

2. Stay Open

In order to communicate effectively, you need to be open with your partner, mentally, physically, and spiritually. This means making eye contact with your partner when speaking with her/him and maintaining open body language. While it may be hard to do if you’re still mad at your partner, checking your body language and remaining open with your partner with your body will send the message you’re open not only to speak but to listen as well. Check out my blog on3 Important Aspects of Communication for more information on how we communicate with more than just our words.

3. Listen Actively

The old saying, “You have one mouth and two ears” rings true for this. I’m sure many of you can relate when I say that we spend more time thinking about what we’ll say next in conversation than what the person is actually saying. If you incorporate a mindful approach to your conversations, you’ll find yourself more tuned in to what the other person is saying and better able to respond.

4. Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

Honestly, honesty is always the best policy. There is courage behind telling the truth with everyone in your life and this courage should be embraced and strengthened. When we talk about honesty, we often think “brutally honest” which can include comments like, “That dress makes you look fat.” or “Wow, you really don’t know what you’re doing, do you?” Maybe you’ve even approached a subject with your partner trying to be “honest” and were surprised by how they reacted. Hey, you were just being honest. But honesty doesn’t have to be mean. Maybe it hurts a little and maybe it stings to hear, but that’s because we know what’s being said is right. If you’re going to be honest in your relationship choose your words and tone carefully, come from a place of love, and surprisingly, bring it back to you. “I’ve noticed your weight gain has made you a little uncomfortable around our friends.” can be the opening line to a discussion about your partner (and you) adopting a healthier lifestyle together versus, “You’ve really gained weight in the time we’ve been married.”

5. Keep Calm

In my blog post Can Your Marriage Recover from an Affair? I highlight the fact that staying calm can guide us when making decisions. You want to highlight your emotions in conversation without becoming overly emotional. If your partner feeds off your emotions (they start to cry as soon as you start to cry or they raise to voice to compete with your shouting) you may find that you accomplish less and end up fighting more than you anticipated.

Every couple struggles with communication from time to time. I’m confident if you apply the above techniques you’ll find yourself communicating effectively in no time and if you are having a difficult time applying them feel free to contact me to schedule a session Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com.

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