How to Invite Your Partner to Couples Counseling

Feeling like you could benefit from couples counseling? If so, you may fear that your partner won’t want to participate.

That’s a common concern. You obviously can’t physically force your partner to go. Still, there are some things you can do to increase the likelihood they’ll oblige.

What exactly is the best way to invite them? Here are some ideas.

If You Blame, You Lose

Maybe, first, we should look at how not to invite your partner.

This is important to bring up because it’s likely the number-one thing that’ll make your partner shut down, resist and run for cover.

Here’s some dialogue to illustrate the point.

Imagine if your partner requested that you go to couples counseling like this:

Your Partner:

“(your name), I’m really concerned about your anger outbursts lately. You don’t help out around the house like you used to. Worse yet, you don’t engage with our family in a meaningful way.”



Your Partner:

“I think we should go to counseling to work through these issues.”

How do you think you would respond to that scenario? Would you want to go to counseling?

Probably not.


Because you feel attacked. You feel singled out.

This “invitation” can feel more like an ultimatum (do this or else). Human nature is to rebel.

By zooming in on the shortcomings of your partner, be very surprised if you get what you want.

Be Transparent About Your Own Struggles, Too

Even if you feel that most of your relationship problems are because of your partner, there’s something important to remember.

You both still have challenges you could use help with. Everyone in the world can say that much.

Approach your partner about some of your failures and weaknesses. Ask if they would be willing to help you work through them. If you hurt your partner, admit it, apologize and share how you want to do better.

The truth is that we can only change ourselves so this is a valid way to go about things.

A bit of caution, though. This will backfire and badly if this strategy is used as a manipulation technique.

If you focus on your challenges to get your partner through the “counseling door” and then dump out all the reasons your partner is the problem while in session, that won’t go well for obvious reasons!

Let your partner’s problems come out in the session naturally.

Focus on the Good with the Goal of Better

Focus on the positive and inviting your partner to counseling will be way easier.

Instead of zooming in on all the flaws of your relationship, talk about what’s good already.

Focus on the prospect of counseling as a way to go from good to better instead of a way to fix a relationship “on the edge of the abyss.”

One great way to set this tone is to plan something fun to do after your counseling session to build your relationship. Find something out of the norm from what you do that you’ll both look forward to.

Just have fun. After all, it’s pretty hard to fight when you’re having fun!

If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

What Depression in Women Looks Like (and What to Do)

What does depression look like in women?

First, let’s acknowledge that it’s twice as likely to happen to women as compared with men.

Women, by and large, are “feelers.” They’re generally in better touch with their emotions and the emotions of others.

This gives them a greater capacity to be caring and nurturing. There’s one challenge, though.

Having a front seat to all those emotions and feelings can weigh a person down and become overwhelming.

One of a woman’s most endearing qualities can also add to her suffering.

Common Symptoms of Depressed Women

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating and a foggy mind
  • Difficulty with memory
  • Consistent feelings of sadness, crying, loss of hope and despair
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, including sex
  • Consistently negative feelings and comments
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • High levels of anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep/sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite or increase in appetite
  • Ongoing physical problems that can’t be diagnosed (stomach, headache and pain)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicide attempts

What Makes Women Susceptible to Depression

A number of factors can increase the likelihood that women will experience depression.

Many experts think the periodic hormonal changes caused by menstruation and pregnancy make women more susceptible.

Therefore, it has nothing to do with women being weak. Women must be innately strong to manage the multitasking of being a mom, often juggling a career and much more.

Other factors that increase chances of depression include environmental and hereditary considerations.

Uncommonly stressful events such as experiencing the death of a loved one as a child, pregnancy, job loss and sexual abuse only add to the likelihood depression will present itself.

Depression in Women: What to Do

There is a long list of things that can help women with depression. What treatment is right for you will depend on the reason for your depression (if you can identify one), the severity of your symptoms and how long you have suffered.

Some women are able to manage their depression with lifestyle changes such as leaving a stressful job, simplifying their schedule, improving their support systems, eating healthy, exercising and getting proper sleep.

Some women also respond well to an antidepressant.

Something else can’t be stressed enough:

Most women are people of words. Most women are drastically more verbal than the typical man. They have an innate need to express themselves.

It should come as no surprise, then, that getting those words out is an extremely therapeutic process.

For some, that involves journaling, talking with caring friends/family and visiting a therapist.

A combination of these can help dramatically with feelings of guilt, shame and low self-esteem. This helps women to realize they’re not alone in their suffering and that they don’t need to silently feel misunderstood. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Women: How to Manage All the Hats You Wear

Our society credits women with being talented multi-taskers. Although that can be true to a point, you still have a breaking point. You’re still human and can only handle so much.

So, what should you do when the number of hats you wear is about doing you in?

Here are a few quick, bail-you-out ideas.

Women: Just Say ‘No’

Yep. The same way you say “no” to drugs.

That saying’s nothing new. You’ve heard it thousands of times. But are you practicing “the art of no”? That’s the more important question.

There’s no special prize for doing the most things. After all, what good is it if you’re so overloaded that you no longer can do anything well?

And what good is it if you wake up dreading every day of your life because you have too much on your plate? You’ll soon wonder what the point of it all is.

Closely evaluate what must be done and what’s not important. As good as volunteering each week is, are there more important things that are being neglected as a result?

Decide what you can cut out and do it. Then, watch your quality of life quickly improve.

Carefully guard your time and decide if you should say “no” when asked to do one more thing.

Even good activities aren’t good if you have more than one person can handle.

Manage All Your Hats by Delegating

Another thing you can do is find others to help you.

Businesses unashamedly practice delegation all the time.

You can do the same thing in your personal life.

This means getting your kids to assist you with tasks. If your family isn’t used to helping you, things need to change.

It can seem like more work at first to ask for help. But in the end, it’s far more work not to.

Plus, doing all the work yourself is frustrating and lonely.

Maybe there’s a task you do outside of the home that you no longer have the time to do. Ask someone with the necessary skill set to take over that task.

Do Less to Do More

In America, we’re often ridiculously busy. Women have mastered the ability to have never-ending responsibilities.

Intentionally try to do way less and discover something important.

You’ll realize that less is more. No, you’re not defined by how much you do. You’re more than a robot with thousands of tasks to accomplish.

Your family and friends need you more than your schedule does. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Big Expectations—The “Killer” Of A Good Relationship

Big expectations in relationships are a greater problem in America than ever before.

If anyone would disagree, the fact that our country experiences more failed relationships than anywhere else in the world should be explored first.

One thing is constant for us—choices.

We have a baffling amount of choices at our fingertips. More books are being written than ever before. There are more services and products than there ever were. The option to live virtually anywhere is a real possibility and career choices abound.

Although we’ll explore this topic in light of a committed relationship, many of the principles are easily transferrable to other friendships.

Choices and Expectations

Due to the consumer mentality of our nation, we’re used to a myriad of choices. Near-perfect choices.

So, what happens when we take that consumer mentality into a committed relationship? The results are predictable if we’re not careful.

We secretly tell ourselves that if our mate doesn’t turn out to be darn-near perfect, somewhere out there, someone will fill that perfection void.

This often leads to virtually insurmountable expectations placed on a partner.

The Consequences of Big Expectations

The consequence of absurdly high expectations also has a predictable result.

Expectations go unmet. Surprised? Bet you’re not.

When expectations aren’t met, disappointment ensues. Ongoing disappointment leads to an increasing desire to want out of a relationship.

We also should mention that the person who receives unrealistic expectations loses trust, becomes bitter and feels powerless to measure up. Many rebel and become emotionally detached under these circumstances.

When the person with high expectations doesn’t get what they want, they’re prone to pick out the smallest faults in their partner.

Because of the many faults, those with high expectations justify there are now grounds for the relationship to end.

There’s just one problem: No one can meet unrealistic expectations for long. There is no Mr. or Mrs. Perfect. It’s a lie, a mirage.

And so, in time, the next relationship is not what was hoped for. In fact, none of them will be. Too high of expectations will kill any and every friendship and romantic relationship.

A Better Focus

Most people don’t begin a relationship focused on how they can make someone else happy. They seek their own fulfillment and pleasure above everything else.

That is also the goal of unrealistic expectations. The problem is that these desires, taken too far, become selfish and destructive.

It’s not bad to desire pleasure and happiness in a relationship. Things can disintegrate when one’s desire for happiness comes at the expense of a partner, though.

The best thing you can do is set high expectations for yourself instead of for others. After all, you can only control you.

Instead of setting high expectations for your partner, consistently encourage them knowing that you still have a long way to go yourself. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Are These Normal Relationship Issues Or Is It Time To Get Help?

Women are relational by nature. When your relationships hurt, you hurt deeply. Something we feel is a crisis may be viewed differently by our mate—at least at first.

When to seek help is a common question of many women. Women don’t want to make a problem out of something that isn’t a big deal. They also don’t want to wait until a relationship is in a death spiral.

So, when should you seek help? Although no one relationship is the same and there isn’t a blanket answer, here are some ideas.

Relational Emergency Room or Fitness Center?

Counselors and therapists are working hard to change thinking about how and when to seek out treatment.

For example, is there a better chance of survival if you regularly work out and exercise or if you let yourself become 200 pounds overweight and need to be rushed to the hospital with a massive heart attack?

The first option, of course. But many still view therapy as the last resort once a relationship that has been disintegrating for years and months finally goes into “cardiac arrest”.

Therapists do all they can in these cases but the success rate will be lower if you wait that long.

A better way to view therapy is maintenance to something that is already good but could always be better. You do all you can to strengthen your relationship with your mate and part of that healthful process is periodic therapy.

Both parties will be more involved in the process in this way.

When there are ongoing problems, it’s not uncommon for one person in the relationship to feel that going to counseling is the only way to save a relationship. That’s a lot of pressure and not all of that pressure is healthy.

Seeing a counselor early can help you do “preventative maintenance” just as you would through seeing a dentist (Although we hope your sessions are more enjoyable than going to the dentist!)

What are some specific reasons it couldn’t hurt to get help besides? Here are a few:

  • Ongoing communication difficulty
  • Impulsive spending that is damaging your relationship
  • Unfaithfulness
  • Sexual problems
  • Difficulty controlling anger and other emotions
  • Mental illness that is getting in the way of your relationship
  • You want to take your relationship from good to great!

Summing It Up

These potential reasons to get help are only a few possibilities. If you are unsure about whether to find a therapist, a great place to start is to call for an initial appointment. You can quickly get advice from a professional about what would be best given your unique situation.

Don’t let the need to “get help” scare you off as it does with too many people who could have relief. We all need help from time to time. To need help and to seek it out is completely normal and human. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Your Parents Need More Help—Now What?

There must’ve been a trigger for you to take interest in this article. Likely, there were several. Maybe your parent fell in their home, is confused or is isolating.

Either way, the signs are starting to add up. Your parents need more help. And you’re not quite sure what to do.

Although no one solution to this problem is exactly the same, here are some thoughts.

Find Some Emotional Support

If it was just attacking an everyday problem, that’d be one thing. But this isn’t an everyday problem.

Your parents made unusual sacrifices for you and built memories you’ll never forget.

Your parents are declining and that is sad to watch. It’s emotional and you likely feel overwhelmed. That’s completely normal.

Solving the problem is harder because of the strong feelings tied to it. One of the best first steps is to talk with a trusted friend, seek out some advice from a therapist or both.

You don’t need to walk this path alone. You’ll feel much better after getting out your fears, anger, sadness and feelings of not knowing what to do.

By doing so, coming up with the right choices to solve your parents’ problems will be easier.

The Least-Restrictive Solution

Your goal is to provide exactly what your parent needs without infringing on their independence.

No matter how old your parents are, their need and desire for independence will always be there.

Maybe all you need is someone to come in and clean periodically or to provide some meals. That may not mean that your parent shouldn’t drive anymore or needs to move to an assisted-living home. But, then again, it may.

By finding the least restrictive option you’ll save time and money. But more importantly, you’ll empower your parents to remain as independent as possible.

This will strengthen your relationship with your parents. It will build trust and give your parents the hope and courage they need to go forward.

They’ll stay more purposeful and happy as a result.

Delegate Responsibilities

You can’t always do everything you want for your parents. If you’re trying, you probably wrestle with feelings of guilt at times.

You may feel that you need to do everything yourself because your parents did most everything for you.

However, there are times when you just can’t do everything. That’s when you need to delegate some of those responsibilities.

Maybe you can find people from your community or family to provide meals, help with shopping or to regularly check up on your parents when you can’t.

Or it could be time to pay someone to offer services that will help your parents with everyday tasks around the house.

Although it’s hard for anyone to see a decline in their parents, it isn’t the loss of your relationship.

If it’s the right time to get extra help, everyone involved will feel relieved though it may take a while for your parents to see the value in the changes. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

You Do Not Have to Be the “Perfect Daughter” Anymore

There have been billions of daughters throughout the generations.

Guess what. None of them were perfect.

Not one.

Do you secretly put pressure on yourself to be the perfect daughter?

You need to stop and just be yourself. Here’s why.

Playing the Perfect Game

Want to play that game? Really, you don’t.

Two things will happen if you try.

You may end up extremely discouraged or depressed because you can’t be who you think your parents want you to be.

Or, you’ll begin the adventure of the double life. This option’s probably more common.

You project a perfect image when around your parents but are anything but when not in their company.

This can lead to risky decisions because internally something tells you you’re being unfair to yourself by trying to appear perfect. So, you rebel from that pressure whenever you can.

But the decisions you make when your parents aren’t looking could hurt you. And your parents will probably eventually find out anyway.

Giving up on Perfect Doesn’t Mean Giving up

So, you’re finally convinced that being the perfect daughter isn’t possible.

That doesn’t mean you should give up on forward progress. Progress is your real goal. Just small progress over time.

Imagine that you have a big garden. You don’t want a single weed in that garden but find that there is always one more to pick.

You could just give up and say, “what’s the point of weeding?”

But you probably wouldn’t be proud to show your garden to guests who stop by.
That garden is your life. Keep weeding. Continually work towards being a better person.

But be kind to yourself and stop fretting. Otherwise, you’ll give up trying or pretend that you’re trying when you’re really not.

Who Says You Need to Be Perfect, Anyway?

There’s a good chance that you only think your parents expect that of you. It may only be a flawed perception.

After all, we’re often harder on ourselves than we are on other people. Your parents are full of mistakes just like you are.

They should have the ability to love you through your failures and imperfections. They needed the same understanding from others to get to where they are today.

What If Your Parent Demands Perfection?

That’s not an impossible place to find yourself as a daughter. If that’s you, things won’t be quite so easy.

You need to give yourself permission not to be perfect even though you feel like it’s expected.

Sometimes, parents are too hard on their children because they want a better life for them than they had.

But that can be taken too far.

Try to gain your parent’s approval. It’s a satisfying thing to accomplish.

But also know that you won’t be able to always gain their approval. At times, you’ll need to courageously do what you must even without their approval.

In Summary

You can be a great daughter but not a perfect one. Let the beauty of progress mark your life instead of perfection.

In doing so, you’ll be as near perfect as you could be without all the stress, fear, guilt and sadness of unmet expectations. Schedule your appointment for either couples counseling or men’s counseling using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

How Do You Know Your Partner Is The One?

Looking for the ever-elusive relationship fairy to give you the nod? For her to tell you that you should marry your partner?

Good luck with that one!

Although there are plenty of emotions that go into a budding relationship, deciding if your partner is the one doesn’t need to be a mystical decision.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to deciding. But here are some ways to help determine if your partner is “the one.”

Most Of The Time, You’re Happy

This is an important one because if you ask 10 different people how they knew their spouse was the one, you may get ten different answers.

It may have been because their partner made them laugh, was kind, romantic, responsible, physically attractive or any combination of things.

But boiled down, it meant that, most of the time, they were happier with their partner than unhappy.

It sounds very similar to what makes someone conclude they have a satisfying job. Most of the time, they are happy with it so they stick with it.

Conversely, if you increasingly find you’re unhappy in your relationship, this could be a sign to hold off.

Others Say Your Partner’s The One

You shouldn’t necessarily give up on a relationship if someone close to you doesn’t like your partner.

However, if you have more than one close friend or family member who thinks your significant other is the one, that’s worth paying attention to.

Your friends and family are able to maintain a less biased view of your relationship. While you’re worried about your relationship working and doing all you can to make it a success, they’re just watching.

Most of the time, those who know you best have a pretty good idea. They can easily tell if you become a better person because of the person you’re with or the opposite.

If you’re consistently happy, they pick up on that. If there’s a consistent dark cloud over your life that wasn’t there before your relationship started, there’s no way those closest to you won’t notice.

Spend A Lot Of Time With Them

Lastly, spend plenty of time with your partner before deciding to marry.

Spend enough time with them to know if you’re happy most of the time with them or not.

Marriage never should be a knee-jerk or desperation move. Those who hope marriage will “clean up” their relationship problems are almost always disappointed.

Make the reason you marry be because you can’t imagine going through life without your partner.

The more time you spend together, the less you’ll second guess your decision. You’ll just know. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Empty Nesting—Is It Real?

Yes. It’s real.

Psychology Today describes empty nesting this way:

“feelings of depression, sadness and/or grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children come of age and leave their childhood home.”

What is Empty Nest Syndrome really? It’s the loss of a mission or role. For decades, you took care of your child in your house and now they’re no longer home.

With that role gone, it can be difficult to know what to do next.

Any major changes in life can cause sadness and depression.

This can happen in job gain and loss, retirement, moving, the loss of a family member, the birth of a child, a new adult trying to forge a path and in many other circumstances.

Empty nesting is a transition point and loss that can be difficult to handle and comes with some disillusionment.

Since empty nesting is real, here are some thoughts to help.

Varying Levels of Empty Nesting Sadness

Do your best to be sensitive to your spouse, family and friends who are going through empty nesting.

Each person’s symptoms are different. They can range from minor to severe depending on the person and their level of involvement in raising their child.

Telling those who are struggling that it isn’t real or to just “toughen up” only increases a person’s sadness.

Your Child Still Needs You

Your child may have recently left your home. They still need you, though. And that will always be the case.

Remembering this can help relieve some of your sadness. Some of the most meaningful and satisfying parent-child interaction happens after the empty-nest stage begins.

Yes, empty nesting marks the end of a mission. Every parent hopes for a well-adjusted child who can live on their own. You just helped to fulfill that mission.

Now you take on the role of mentor, life coach and friend to your child in a new way. You’re further down the path of life than your child and will be a great help.

Your children will value your input as you help them through the intricacies of life. You’ll also be a key influencer for your present or up-and-coming grandchildren.

Empty nesting may mark the end of a specific mission with your children but it by no means is the end.

In fact, your mission just became larger and arguably better. But it may take some time and sadness before this is easy to see.

The horizons for you and your child are broadening and that’s an exciting place to be. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.