Marriage Counseling, blog posts

Holiday stress:  Ten tips on How to deal with that difficult family member:


  1. Accept that you can’t change them, and they aren’t going to change anyway.
  2. Greet them with a happy face and positive words like” We are so happy you are here”
  3. Compliment their potato salad, even if it is gross.
  4. Talk to them. Ask about their lives.  Show interest.
  5. Talk about the happy times, even if it was only that one time.
  6. Include them in group conversation.
  7. Make yourself the star (not the difficult family member) of an embarrassing event from the past. (then watch what happens)
  8. Make the difficult member the star of a story from the past that paints him in a positive light.
  9. Make the margaritas with half the tequila.
  10. End the night positively. Next year will be even better.

Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment:

Medical(disease) model, or something else?

I recently spoke to a graduate of an in patient addiction treatment facility in Tennesee who told me that he was cured of his alcohol addiction.  I didn’t know how to respond since my training as a therapist has always been that once a person has been diagnosed with having an addiction to drugs or alcohol, that is a life sentence.  AA groups all over the country are helping people cope daily with addiction.  They teach that the person has an incurable disease.  They must fight this disease every day.   We encourage people to get into groups and to get a sponsor.  These programs are helping people, I mean they just are.


I have always had a problem with the diagnosis as a lifelong disease with no cure.  There are too many variables like life choices, family of origin issues, easy access to drugs and alcohol and simple behaviorism 101.  The medical model treats addiction as the main issue and disregards any attempt to find a cause or triggering event or series of events.  Some treatments even include using drugs. Logic brain wakes up, opens the door, stretches and says, “Wait.  Did I just hear that we are treating people with chemical dependency issues with more chemicals”?  We answer, “ YES. It is science, accepted by the AMA so you can go back to sleep now”.  Logic brain yawns, goes back to sleep.

We all have clients who makes excuses and deny the problem.  Drinking helps me relax, helps me forget, numbs the pain etc…  All my friends drink.  I just want to have a good time.  Everybody in my family drinks and they don’t have problems.  Or, I only use heroin on the weekends, it doesn’t affect my job/family/finances…  My Dr. prescribes me pain pills for my back pain….It isn’t enough, so I have to make copies and go to several other pharmacies……

So what I hear as a therapist is cognitive and behavioral problems. I don’t hear “disease”.  I hear, “My mother was a narcissist”. “My father abandoned us”.  “My sense of self worth is very low”.  ”I am unloveable”.   “The chemicals I use help me cope with life”.  “My father beat the hell out of me for 12 years”.  “I don’t think I have a problem”.

Our clients who are ready to admit the problem accept the disease model which lets them off the hook.  It isn’t my fault, it is a disease.  I inherited the disease from my parents/uncles/ancestors.  Look,  I am Irish okay.  So we send them to AA.  Or some in-patient program which will graduate them, and send them to AA.   It works.

So, I was excited to hear about a program that actually gave hope to clients that their addiction isn’t a life sentence.  That program is Spring to Life Recovery.  This is a Christian non-profit organization.  The cost for in-patient treatment is $7500.00 for 42 days.  The price drops if they commit to 84 days and so on in increments of 42 days.  They do not accept insurance yet, but hope to have that option by December.

The treatment program is heavy on Bible, so it won’t be a good fit for everyone.  But it may be a good referral source for some of our clients.

My friend and his family are doing very well.  His wife reports that he is like a new person.  He has refused to accept a label, or identity that says he is an alcoholic.  Instead he says, he used alcohol to cope with his issues, but he has learned that he doesn’t need that anymore.  His alcohol use was a symptom of a problem.  He identified that problem and solved that.  Now he doesn’t need alcohol anymore.  He just got out of treatment, so he isn’t ready yet to start drinking again. And maybe he never will, but he doesn’t need alcohol anymore.  That is the whole point.

Family Therapy December 2018

I hope you all have a great December with some new cash in your pockets, due to the upswinging economy.  If you are those who didnt get new cash, Sorry for that….But that isnt the reason for this post.  Holidays are stressful times for families.  Some of us have family members we only see at holidays, who we really dont care to see at all come into town, and who have a tendencey to steal our peace.  I want to encourage you all to look past the past.  Embrace your sister/brother/cousin etc,,, who you cant stand to be around since he/she:  lied/stole/assaulted/gossiped/broke a trust etc… and love that person.  No he/she doesnt deserve it.  But if you think about Jesus on the cross, nails in his body, suffering for me and you, we have to ask…..did we deserve that?   So be sweet to everybody and renew those broken relationships this year…Let’s start fresh.

Dude, where is my wife?

What about me?

Are husbands being taken care of?    I mean in the way they want/need?   What is missing in your life?  Did your dreams about life after your wedding day fall apart?  Did you think about constant sex and pleasure for the days/weeks/years to come?  What happened?  Did you forget about her perhaps?  Maybe she was thinking about this

What were you thinking or planning? .

Or maybe this? .   What really matters is that you need her in your life.  She takes care of you in so many ways.  So, what is your job?  How do you keep her around?

Easy answer.  Listen to her.  What does she want/need?  Are you making her feel adored and valued?  If not, you better step up son.  Does she feel secure in this relationship?  Listen to this woman tell you what she needs.

Dude.  Listen to me.  Man up, okay.  Take charge.  Be the man.  This is SO simple.  Just let her know that she is number one in your life.  You would lay down your life for her, because you love her that much. You know this is true, but she maybe is not so sure.     Women are just wishing for a virtuous man, a knight who will not hurt her.  A man who will protect and cherish her.

Can you be that man?

What are your dreams

What is your fantasy?

Ladies, here is the question of the day.  Do you think of your life this way?  Are you wanting this kind of romantic experience?  Is this elusive man existing in your dreams?  Can you transfer this fantasy into reality?  I think you can.  The man you have right now, can be that fantasy man you yearn for.    This is where fantasy meets reality.  We dudes want to be that fantasy for you.  We really do.  BUT, life gets in the way.  Work.  Bills.  Kids.  He so wants to be the knight in shining, in your life.  He wants to he admired.  He wants to feel needed and wanted.  NOT used and abused.  Not a servant, but a Knight.  If you can find a way to let him know he is your Knight, He will become just that.  Be the princess he is yearning to rescue.  Only good things will follow.

Harvey wasn’t very nice

After hurricane Harvey left Texas, we all started the rebuilding process.  Those who were fortunate enough to have not suffered catastrophic property loss, may feel the need to help those who did.  I have seen armies of volunteers tearing out sheetrock, and hauling wet carpet to the curb.  But what do you say to those victims of flooding, or other property damage?  This event was traumatic.  It isn’t about the stuff, it is about uncertainty and fear.  What is the insurance company going to say?  What is FEMA going to say?  Where am I going to live?  Will I lose everything?  Some people will actually suffer with PTSD.  They will have nightmares, Sleep disturbances, trouble with memory.  What they need is simply comfort.  There are no words, not really.  Just be there.  Be a friend.  AND whatever you do, don’t say, “It’s just stuff”.  You don’t know what is in that pile in the front yard.  It isn’t “stuff”, it is memories, wedding pictures, grandma’s quilt, Children’s drawings, Dad’s favorite shirt, Mom’s afghan she crocheted for you.  Give hugs, and love on them.  That is what they need.

If you were one of the many victims, just know that you are not alone, and it will get better.  Take pictures.  Document everything.  Apply for every kind of aid, especially if you didn’t have flood insurance.  Stay as busy as you can.  AND, Have some down time.  Get away from it all.  Go out to eat, or to a movie.  Call your best friend. Pray. Read scripture. Cry…………..Then, Get back up and take care of business. Rebuild.  Consider what is most important in your life.  Re-prioritize.

For my Christian brothers and sisters.  Consider this.  Jesus was baptized in water.  We are baptized in the cleansing water that washes away all sin.  This hurricane flooded our state.  Could it just be a cleansing?

Ice cream and pickles

I just saw a cute commercial with a couple on the couch watching TV.  The wife is telling her husband that she likes ice cream…and pickles.   He is half listening and she repeats it.  Clearly she is hinting something important to him.  He is trying to watch his show however and does not pick up on the hint.   At the end she is exasperated.  This might be an accurate portrayal of how couples mis-communicate at times.  The wife isn’t being clear and the husband isn’t listening.  Does this happen in your relationship?  Men sometimes need more explicit language to really understand what you are talking about.  If, for example this wife had simply said, He can you pause that show for a minute, I have something to tell you.  Then after she gets his attention, she tells him that all their dreams are coming true, and they are having a baby.  AND, what if when his wife is talking to him, he really listens, I mean really with all his brain.  Would he then have picked up on the hint?  Maybe.  So Men need to do a better job of listening.  Women need to be more explicit with important things.  Okay, back to my shows now.

Friendswood Texas, USA

My wife and I recently moved to Friendswood Texas from Angleton.   I have always lived in areas around Friendswood, like South Houston, Pasadena, LaPorte, League City and Clear Lake.  Now I am in the great city of Friendswood.  This town has an interesting history.  Founded in 1880 by a community of Quakers, also known as the Religious Society of Friends was predominantly Quaker until 1958 when they got their first Baptist church. See Wikipedia article

An interesting fact about the Quakers is that they were a Christian Church who believed in social and political activism.  The Quakers stood against slavery and played a key role in it’s abolition.  Quakers fought for equal rights for women, and led by example by being one of the earliest churches to give women leadership roles in the church.  The Quakers were mostly pacifists believing that to follow Jesus was to promote peace in the world.

Promoting peace is one of the things I do in my practice.  Relationship peace.  All couples fight, but there is a way to do it that is less harmful to the relationship.  According to John Gottman, if your arguments include criticism, contempt, stonewalling or defensiveness, you are in grave trouble.  These are actions and behaviors that disturb your peace.   So when you have a disagreement, keep those four things in mind, and do your best to promote a peaceful resolution to the disagreement.  See Gottman video

While my office is in Clear Lake, it is just a short drive to work for me.  I just run down Bay Area and hook a right on Royal Crest Dr.  If you are a Friendswoodite?, Friendswoodinian?  If you live in Friendswood, and you need marriage counseling, give my site a look and see if I am a good fit for you.  I look forward to serving you.

The Good Wife

We have all seen the 50’s article on how to be a good wife. See The Good Wife Article  Very outdated of course. There is no template/set of rules/list of checkboxes for wives to download, read about in Cosmo or any other place (except the Bible). What it takes to be a good wife is to respond to your partner’s needs. Every man is slightly different. WE do have some things in common for the most part, with some slight variances. We need our homes to be peaceful places. We need some alone time to decompress from our workday. We need sex. We need respect and admiration from the most important person in our lives. We need words of affirmation, especially in public. One husband I know simply needs to know that his wife appreciates him and all he does for her. We need a partner, not a slave or a boss. We need an attractive spouse. HINT: What you think is attractive, and what he thinks might not be the same. Ask him what he likes. We are really kinda simple. See /mens-brains-vs-womens-brains/

We have also heard “happy wife = happy life”. Why isn’t there a comparable saying for us husbands? So here is a new one I just invented. Moderately satisfied dude = husband in a good mood. Might take awhile for that one to catch on, but here is the point. We are easy to please. We don’t require magical sexual feats of epic proportions. We don’t require gourmet meals. We don’t require lacy teddies (not every night anyway). Long T-shirts work just as well. Less makeup is better. Ponytails have their allure. We like kisses on the cheek and holding hands in the car. And we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see you smile and make you laugh. Nothing is more beautiful to him than your smile. NOTHING!

Look, let’s be honest. You already know how to seduce him, that is how you tricked him into marying you in the first place. 🙂 As simple as it was to net this guy, keeping him satisfied is just as simple. Slow down. Calm down. Relax. Chill. Smile at him in your ponytail and long t-shirt and he will be at peace in the world.