Tyson V.

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Raffi made me enjoy going to therapy. I have learned to talk through issues that seemed impossible and I feel so much better about the communication in my relationship now.
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Summer H.

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My boyfriend and I see Raffi and it was the best decision we ever made. It is hard to gather the right words to describe him and how much he has helped us and our relationship.
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How to Save Your Marriage

thinking about relationships hi
Are you trying to save a marriage that’s on the rocks?  Hoping to turn things around from anger and resentment to happiness and love?  It can be done.  Most marriages can be repaired if both parties really want it – but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.  You will likely have to have some difficult conversations, take a hard look at where you’ve messed up, and make real changes to the way you do things in the future.  If you want to know how to save your marriage and are up for the challenge, read on. 1. Find a marriage counselor. This may seem like a cop-out answer, but it truthfully is the...
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Is Texting Good or Bad for Your Relationship?

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Texting is a very wonderful thing.  It allows us to send quick ideas and comments to our friends and families without having to catch each other at the right time.  It’s great for adding to the shopping list at the last minute or reminding each other of an appointment.  It can add all kinds of useful benefits to our relationships.  And, of course, as with any tool, texting can be seriously misused and can be a real detractor from relationships as well.  Let’s look at some of the ups and downs of texting as they relate to your relationships.  Certainly this applies to marriages and other romant...
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Is It Okay for Married People to Watch Porn?

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No. Okay, that was a little harsh.  But hear me out.  This is not a moral discourse on the propriety of pornography in general but rather a consideration of what it does to your marriage (or other committed relationship). While some writers have waxed enthusiastic about the benefits of porn watching, common sense – to say nothing of my clinical experience – tells me that the drawbacks far outweigh the benefits.  This is true of both the folks watching it solo and those watching as a couple.  Let’s take it one at a time. (Warning: this post doesn't pull any punches - be prepared for frank la...
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Don’t Start Couples Counseling Before You Read This!

marriage counseling hi
If you are considering seeing a couples counselor/marriage therapist to address a problem in your relationship, there are a few things it’s vital for you to know before you jump in. 1. Be prepared to change Many people come in to couples therapy feeling like their spouse or partner is causing the problem.  They ask their therapist, sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly, to “fix” their partner.  But more often than not, both parties will have to do some changing to make a difference in the problem.  Importantly, this is often true even when one of you is objectively doing something wr...
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How do you make a long-distance relationship work?

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In these days of constant change and mobility, long-distance relationships are increasingly common and necessary as people take jobs and pursue life goals that move them about the globe. There’s no question that a long-distance relationship poses challenges that typical relationships, where people live with or near each other, do not.  That does not mean that long-distance relationships can’t or don’t work; it just means that being aware of and real about those challenges, instead of downplaying or entirely ignoring them, is critical. So how can you make a long-distance relationship work?  ...
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Are You in An Abusive Relationship?

abusive relationship hi
All relationships have ups and downs. Some seem to have more downs than others. A relationship that’s on the rocks can often be fixed with commitment on the part of both partners and with professional counseling.  However, some relationships are abusive, and these cannot be repaired until the abusive partner decides to change his or her ways. However, since abusers often bring a strong sense of entitlement to the relationship, they rarely look at themselves as doing anything wrong and therefore rarely take stock of their own views and behaviors. If you are the victim in an abusive relations...
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Communication at the Office

office politics hi
Office politics are such a well-known phenomenon that entire television series have been successfully spawned from it. As most everyone knows, you are bound to run into difficult people at work. Fortunately, in most cases this doesn’t mean you have no choice but to suffer for the 8-or-so hours a day you’re there. The rules that apply to all interpersonal relationships apply at the office as well. Here’s how to use them to ease the relational strain at work. 1. Listen before you speak All too often we assume we know what the other person wants to say and where they are coming from. Generally ...
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How to Deal with a Difficult Coworker

coworkers hi
Following the recent office shooting not too far from Baltimore, many people have been feeling increased nervousness and tension in their offices. Having trouble with a coworker or employer is a common experience; but who wants that to turn into the kind of nightmare that the victims of this attack had to go through?  How can one handle a difficult person at work in a way that leaves everyone feeling safe? Naturally, there are many different configurations of possible interpersonal networks in various work settings. Let’s look at the relatively straightforward situation of dealing with a si...
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On Patience

patience hi
Recently I had a conversation with a client about patience.  He was working on trying to be more patient, especially as it related to the people in his life, and found himself losing his cool more frequently than he wanted.  This led to an important discussion about the meaning of patience which I thought was worth sharing with a broader audience. Google, which is basically modern man’s Webster, defines patience as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset,” and then follows it up with the endearing example, "you can find bargains if you...
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Anger in Relationships

anger management hi
Anger is one of the major destroyers of relationships. People can say and do things when they are angry that are offensive, hurtful, even downright mean. But anger is a normal part of the human emotional makeup, and it’s only natural to feel angry sometimes. How can you deal with angry feelings without harming your relationship? Expressing anger Being angry is different from being aggressive, mean, or threatening. If you have been in the habit of blowing your top when you get angry, you are probably aware that it does not work very well. Either you get into a screaming match and nothing is a...
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4 Ways to Fight Depression

depression hi
If you’ve been feeling down a lot lately, always tired, not in the mood to do much of anything, you may be suffering from depression. Depression is different from just feeling sad, and it is a medical condition that should not go ignored. While medical interventions such as psychiatric medication may be helpful or even necessary to treat depression, there are a number of options you can try on your own to improve the situation.  If nothing seems to help, or if at any point you find yourself thinking about harming yourself, please seek professional help immediately. Exercise It is well-known ...
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To Give and To Get: A Relationship Formula

relationship hi
This is a guest post by a colleague of mine in Chicago, Josh Hetherington of the Northside Center for Relationship Counseling. Mindfulness Lately I’ve been reconnecting with some Buddhist writing. It underscores a lot of ideas about mindfulness, which I see as a nearly universally useful concept. Everyone can benefit from a mindfulness practice. I like a simple breathing meditation where you focus on your breathing and then notice when you start thinking about something else and pull your attention back to your breathing. It’s easy. You can’t really do it wrong. Sit down. Close your eyes. Fo...
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How to Have a Fair Fight

How to Have a Fair Fight hi
Arguments are a natural part of any relationship. No two people will agree on everything all the time. Disagreements are bound to happen. Slight offenses are inevitable.  But how do you deal with them in a way that is productive and not destructive? What does a fair fight look like? Talk about yourself, not your partner This is one of the most important and most difficult shifts we have to make in order to prevent minor disagreements from turning into major fights. When you talk about the negative things you believe your partner has done, you automatically put them on the defensive. Defens...
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Can an Affair Help the Relationship?

affair hi
Many people believe that infidelity unavoidably spells the end of a relationship.  However, the truth is that many relationships survive the injury of an affair, and in fact many get much better in the aftermath.  If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you don’t need to despair of your relationship; it can certainly be saved if both partners are willing (which, of course, is a big question). We have helped numerous couples move beyond cheating in the relationship, whether they are dating, engaged, or already married.  And indeed in many of these couples, the relationship reache...
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Parenting Tools: Noticing

noticing children hi
Young children are constantly running to their parents to show them what they’re doing or playing with – “Mommy look! I put a hat on the baby doll!” “Daddy, see the picture I drew?”  Often our instinctive response is to gush how wonderful it is or how talented they are.  It’s not a terrible response – certainly better than offering a distant “oh, great” while not moving our eyes from the smartphone screen.  But it also probably isn’t the best we can do either. Praise, like love, isn’t needed unconditionally.  Unconditional praise can turn children into approval junkies, always turning to yo...
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A Simple Parenting Tool – Stories

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I’d like to share with you a handy parenting tool that is easier to use than it might sound.  It’s nothing brilliant or novel – just one of those things sitting under your nose all this time.  It’s called “stories.”  Yup, that’s it. Nothing new, right?  Well, let’s talk about how you can use them. Of course, reading bedtime stories is certainly one way to use stories as part of your parenting approach. Enough has been said about the benefits of reading to your children on a daily basis that I won’t go into it at length here.  Instead I’ll focus on some of the other ways they can be used to ...
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How Do I Get My Kids to Eat Their Vegetables?

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Another common battleground for parents with young children is mealtime.  Getting kids to eat their proverbial veggies has been a vexing problem since time immemorial.  Just as we noted with bedtime, it’s unlikely you will ever have children who are 100% compliant with your wishes 100% of the time.  Nevertheless, there are certain steps you can take to make mealtimes easier and more pleasant for all involved. Lower Your Expectations Sometimes the frustration parents experience at mealtime is simply a product of expectations that are too high.  A two-year-old is not going to remain spotlessly...
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Devorah Mattes

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Caitlin is so special. She is an excellent listener and offers valuable and practical advice for improving life circumstances. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking to grow and improve their life situation. Thank you!
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Danielle Kippur

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I am so thankful to have found Raffi. I feel so comfortable and confident when speaking with him. From small issues to major life decisions I have benefitted from his warmth and genuine care. I can assure you that Raffi will be an invaluable asset to your life.
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How to I Get My Kids to Go to Bed?

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If you have young children, you don’t need me to tell you what it’s like getting through bedtime.  The hassle, the arguments, the frustrations – it happens to all of us.  Don’t worry – it’s not just you!  Bedtime is often one of the most challenging times of day. And the truth is, no matter what tips and advice you get, it’s likely to be that way at least some of the time.  Nothing anyone tells you is going to make the difficulty of childrearing disappear. That said, there are certainly approaches you can use to make it easier and more manageable.  Here are some ideas to start with: 1. Wind d...
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