Newsletter July 2023
Is your marriage a priority? What does marriage mean to you? I recently had a discussion with some clients about their definition of marriage. They put it beautifully. A best friend. What do you do with a best friend? Do you account for their feelings? Do you consider their feelings before you talk? These are all part of the friendship level of a house. In therapy, I help you and your partner learn to build a house that contains a level called friendship. It is actually the foundation level of the house. Trust and commitment are the walls. There are exercises we do to help couples build a solid structure.
Terri Burns, MA, LMFT Associate
Supervised by Tiffany N. Smith, Ph.D.
Newsletter May 2023
Dinner with the family
Memory lane is a tricky road. Sometimes we romanticize the memories of others. Sometimes we exaggerate their negative qualities. Mostly, we argue with others over the correct retelling of the story. This is one thing that AI can’t replicate. Our memories are open to our perception and no one else’s. Isn’t that a wonderful thing.
This year I hope you make memories with your family. Recently, my whole family was at dinner. Nothing could make my heart feel fuller than laughing and catching up with my family. My dad, who was an army Ranger, got to go shooting with my husband and my son. He felt like a kid again. This isn’t extraordinary in any sense of the word, but it will be a special memory forever etched in my heart. It might not have ever happened.
The only reason it did happen is because my husband and I are married again. Yep, we remarried in 2019. You are thinking, is that a good idea? Are we crazy? Maybe, but so is love. Our story included remarriage, and that has made it special. I’m not saying everyone’s story will end that way, but ours did.
That is what made dinner with my family possible. We have the privilege of rewriting the ending of our story and making new memories. If you and your husband are struggling or your family, I understand. It is work being married and it is work being divorced. I know the way out of the constant conflict and arguing. I have lived it. Plus I am trained to help couples of any kind learn the secret.
Newsletter May 2022
The end of the school year brings moments of joy as well as a promise of rest and fun for the summer. Sometimes the summer is a season of family togetherness and sometimes it is a season of uncertainty. Frustrations and tempers flare as siblings spend too much time together, and parents don’t get to have 3 months off work. Here are some ideas to make summer smooth sailing. Set a weekly date night with your sweetie. Prioritize your couple relationship. Limit your time on social media and your kids. Social media promotes insecurities and body image issues in kids. Social media also highlights everyone’s successes, not their struggles. The more kids get outside and with other kids doing things the more their thinking brain is engaged. Creativity is increased when kids have to construct meaning and not just be entertained. Plan 1 fun event a week as a family if possible. It could be a baseball game, going to a community pool after work, or a trip to get ice cream as a family. If you really want to know what’s going on with your kids, take a road trip and don’t let them bring a computer or ipad or limit their phone use to pictures only. They will be a captive audience in the car and conversation will ensue eventually. Kids don’t need perfect parents, just present ones.
Newsletter June 2022
The kids aren’t ok, the teachers aren’t ok, and the parents are’nt ok
In light of recent world events, I would like to provide a balanced view of what kids need to know to feel safe. Kids are not mini adults. Please limit the content about the school shooting they are exposed to in the news or other social media. As a parent, former public school teacher for 28 years, and now a therapist, kids want to know what to expect. Structure and routine create boundaries and safety for kids. They need to know you will always be there for them, you love them, and that they can tell you anything. Kids individuate and co-regulate with their caretakers. If as adults we are not regulated we can make comments which do not enhance safety, trust, or respect for law enforcement, school teachers, or elected officials. Most kids love school and their friends and their teachers. They are asking themselves who is going to protect us if that happens here at my school? Kids under 10 do not have abstract reasoning formed in their brain. People are either good or bad in a kid's mind. There is no middle ground or extenuating circumstances which might explain the shooting. I want parents to reassure their kids that they can be safe and that you will protect them. The outpouring of support and love for the school shows us that good can be found in the midst of tragedy. People who have vulnerabilities or trauma history do not need more things to worry about. Please understand that what might seem a little worry to you could be a massive fear for your child. Everyone has a personality template and we are all different so listen when your child is telling you their fears about school or safety. If parents are confident in their abilities to provide safety for their children, their children will grow up with self-confidence.
Terri Burns, LMFT
Associate Supervised by Tiffany N. Smith, MS, LPC-S, LMFT-S, NCC
Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
By : John Gottman and Nan Silver
In his book, the Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman and Nan Silver dispel the myth that happy couples don’t fight or encounter conflict. In fact the opposite is true. Most demanding marriages are happy. Wives bring up the sticky or uncomfortable issues in marriage about 80% of the time. It is how they manage conflict that is different. John Gottman and his wife Julie Gottman, call them Masters of Marriage or Disasters of Marriage. I have tried both ways personally, and it works best if you solve problems that are solvable. If you find yourself in perpetual problems they may be unsolvable, which is about 69% of estimated problems. It could be personality differences that make so many issues unsolvable. But, what the Masters of Marriage do differently, is they begin with a softened start up and listen to their partner’s point of view. They do not influence their partner to accept their point of view, however, they listen to each other’s reasoning. They build a love map which begins in friendship. They look for ways to nurture fondness and admiration. These are ways that couples can support each other. If you are looking for help in your marriage, call us
Newsletter November 2022
Creative Couples and Counseling PLLC - Terri Burns, MA, LMFT Associate supervised by Tiffany N. Smith, MS, Ph.D.
Do you want to be healthy, wealthy, and happy? A marriage can help lay the groundwork. Healthy marriages have evidence that their children do well and are wealthier into their 50’s than those who do not. Securely attached individuals can help make a non securely attached individual part of a couple that is securely attached.
How does all this occur? It starts with attunement. What you are really asking is are you there for me? Do you have my back? Can I lean on you? Even if I mess up or fail, will you still be there for me?
The next phase is responsiveness. If your partner makes a comment do you respond or look at them. Sometimes just a nod or “ahh” is enough for their limbic system to register care and concern. If it is important to them, then it is important to you. They want to know their insights are shared immediately with who matters most to them. They want to feel that their needs will be met emotionally by your interest. The quicker the better. They want to know they matter.
The last phase is engagement. In this phase, your partner is asking you to do something for them or acknowledge their presence. Their requests are ways they interact with you to ensure their survival. They want attention and to have someone commenting or doing something with them.
These are ways to make sure we are laying the foundation for a healthy marriage. If your marriage needs help, call us.