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by Mira and Charles on September 29th, 2014
The best clue to what you really care about is what you pay attention to.
Just check out what you remember from the last newscast you heard on the radio. If you care a lot about events in the Middle East, you’re likely to pay attention to a story about Israel or Iraq, and you’re likely to remember what that story reported. If you don’t care, you won’t pay attention and you won’t remember.
If you say you care but you don’t pay attention, people will say, well, it actually sounds like you don’t really care.
What’s more, attention is something most of us are starving for. We live in a world where most of the time we’re not paid attention to. Facebook exists to give us the feeling that someone somewhere is paying attention to us.
This is why when people in a relationship are caught in an act of not paying attention, all hell breaks loose. It’s the deepest form of insult. The surest way to show someone Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on September 24th, 2014
Last time I talked about the situation of women who are in an abusive relationship and are struggling to make the transition from feeling they must stay to finding a way to leave. This is most difficult in the case of a controlling partner. Which raises this question:
Question: How do you leave an unhealthy, controlling relationship, especially when kids are involved?
Answer: Few things are more difficult than leaving a relationship with a controlling person. But there is a safety-first procedure that is totally do-able, and people do it successfully all the time.
Before I tell you what works, I need to make one thing very clear. The safety-first procedure that I’m about to suggest is Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on September 19th, 2014
Well, it looks like we’ve actually learned something from that terrible incident in which football player Ray Rice punched his girlfriend Janay unconscious in a hotel elevator. Because, you see, Janay is no longer his girlfriend.
Not because she left him after he knocked her lights out. But because she went on to marry him. And not only marry him but defend him after his team and the NFL let him go.
That’s when all hell broke loose. Janay Rice was widely criticized all over the place for staying with him instead of leaving him. And that’s when we started learning something.
For once it didn’t stop with the self-righteous criticizing the clueless. Instead something really good happened. On Twitter a real dialogue emerged with the appearance of two hashtags: #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft.
For once in this noisy, brainless, judgmental culture, the possibility emerged of real understanding: Understanding why a woman like Janay might have stayed with a man who not only hurt her but humiliated her. Understanding how women like her ultimately found what they needed to escape being trapped in violence, fear, and shame. Not judgment. Real understanding.
And this understanding emerged as women and some men in the 140-character platform that Twitter provides told the story of why they both stayed and then left.
Some examples chosen at random: Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on September 5th, 2014
A lot of kids are very anxious when school begins. They are afraid they won’t make friends or that no one will like them. They are afraid of not doing well. They are afraid of the teacher. Kids’ fears are endless: one kid is afraid of the janitor, another of the cafeteria, another of arithmetic.
And there are a lot of reasons for these fears. Maybe it’s a new school. Maybe they have an allergy or disability. Maybe they’ve had bad experiences in the past. And sometimes it’s all a mystery: it’s hard for them to say what they’re afraid of or for anyone to understand where this came from.
The question is, What should you as a parent do about it?
The biggest mistake parents make is Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on August 27th, 2014
Last time we outlined the procedure for working rapidly and painlessly to a resolution of a conflict between you and your partner. Now I’ve got some tips for you about how to make the process glitch-free.
Here are the tips: Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on August 22nd, 2014
Last time we talked about what a lousy job most couples make of trying to work out a solution to their conflicts. We showed all the things people do wrong. Things that end up with a disheartening fight instead of the hopefulness of a solution.
But how DO you do it right?
You’d be surprised at how easy it is to do it right. The procedure is very simple and straightforward, but you do have to follow it! Otherwise you’ll land back in the soup. This procedure is what everyday couples actually do who manage to avoid conflict and yet find their way to real solutions to their conflicts.
Here are the steps: Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on August 20th, 2014
If you want to see something really horrifying, just watch a couple try to solve a conflict by negotiating their way to an agreement. Most of them can’t do it! I’ve worked with couples for something like 40,000 hours, and what you see is anything but two people trying to solve a problem. Even really smart people struggle with this. Even people who negotiate for a living have trouble!
Here’s what you see instead of good old problem solving:
by Mira and Charles on August 8th, 2014
You know that image of the sweet older couple walking down the street holding hands? We’re all touched when we see something like that. We hope that’s us one day, growing old with someone we love, having a loving companion as we age.
And it can happen. It happens all the time. But here’s something else that happens all too often, except that people don’t always see it: it’s when an older couple just can’t stand each other. When they fight all the time. When their children dread the parents’ visit because it means watching their parents’ say shockingly mean things to each other.
Instead of a lifetime of patience and compromise and understanding leading to the promised land of companionship and affection, there is Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on August 1st, 2014
Last time we talked about what stress implosions are and how they work. The point being that this is the mechanism by which stress destroys marriages. Most marriages are stress vulnerable, and most of our lives are filled with stress. This is a recipe for disaster. At the end of that post we said we’d show you how to dial back the stress.
Now I know something about you, which is that Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on July 23rd, 2014
I know what you’re wondering: What IS a stress implosion?
Well, you know already, even if you don’t know you know. Stress implosion may be the number one reason why relationships deteriorate, and here’s a very ordinary example of how it works.
The alarm goes off in the morning and you have to get yourself and your kids out of the house, while your spouse is trying to do the same thing. You’re all sleepy, rushed, getting in each other’s way. And as you’re trying to get through your morning getaway, things happen. You can’t find your keys, your partner can’t find clean underwear, one of your kids can’t find his homework and starts fighting with your other kid, someone drops a raw egg on the floor, the toast burns…and on and on it goes.
And all the while your stress level is rising and rising. You’re going to be late for work. You’re going to arrive frazzled. The day is starting off crappy.
And here’s how the stress implosion comes in. As the morning getaway gets Read the rest of this entry. »