Crisis versus Maintenance

October 19th, 2009

Most people come to see a counselor after they have tried everything they can think of but nothing seems to make the struggle or issue better. This is what I call being in crisis mode. There is a sense of desperation, and quite often, a sense of defeat. Maintenance is what I call it when people come in to see a counselor because they want things to be improved or different, but it is without the sense of urgency accompanying crisis.


We all have a fundamental need to be listened to on a regular basis. We all want to be heard and understood. Counselors fulfill that role. They are able to see the world through different eyes and to help you view your world differently. Regardless of where you see yourself, in crisis or in need of maintenance, hope, help, and assistance are only a phone call away.

Moving Beyond One’s Own View

August 20th, 2009

Many couples struggle communicating with each other and find it challenging to listen to their partner, to let their partner know what they are thinking or how they are feeling. Communicating can be difficult because of feelings of anger, vengeance, or hurt leading to repeated arguments and positioning couples to see issues from their own point of view only. Most people want to move past the overwhelming feelings they have and stop the negative bantering, they want to be heard and understood by their partner, but they do not know how to make that happen.


If you find yourself identifying with such communication struggles know that there is hope. There are certain strategies that can help bridge the communication gap, minimize negative feelings, and bring understanding so that new perspectives are gained. While it is always best to have both partners working toward the same goal, sometimes one beginning to do things differently helps facilitate change in the other.

Here are a few strategies that you can begin to use today:

  • Allow your partner time to share their thoughts and feelings uninterrupted and without contradiction, criticism, or minimization.
  • When your partner shares his/her thoughts and feelings repeat back what you heard your partner say without using the word “you” (i.e. it seems as though it is very frustrating when I leave the dishes in the sink when the dishwasher is empty and it would be more helpful if I were to make more of an effort. Is that correct?).
  • Pause before you respond to your partner when the tension is elevating during a discussion. Allow yourself some time to gather your thoughts so that you can reflect back the thoughts rather than the emotion behind them.
  • When a discussion is escalating into an argument take a break, suggest that the topic be tabled until a later date when it can be discussed in a calm manner.