Making Your Marriage a Priority

empty nesters hi
Recently I was interviewed on the radio to discuss the question of how to prioritize your relationship with your spouse vs. your kids. You can listen to the 20-minute segment here. Here’s the spoiler: I come down firmly on the side of keeping your spouse #1 on your list. This of course doesn’t mean that you ignore your children’s needs or that you spend 100% of your time and energy on your spouse. It just means that your relationship with your spouse comes first. Many people think that “the children come first” and end up putting too little, or nothing at all, into the marital relationship....
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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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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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The Five Love Languages

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The Five Love Languages® is a great tool for improving relationships, whether you’re at the beginning of a new relationship or you’ve been married for decades.  It is a very simple and understandable method of connecting with your significant other – as well as your children, parents, siblings, friends, and anyone else you are in a relationship with.  There is an extensive array of books, quizzes, and online resources you can look into at http://www.5lovelanguages.com.  Here I will offer a brief overview of this concept which you can use as a springboard for further exploration; I will continu...
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Four Ways to Identify a Bad Therapist

bad therapist hi
Following up on our last post, let’s talk a bit about what possible red flags to look out for when searching for a therapist in Baltimore or anywhere else.  Unfortunately, as we mentioned last time, it’s not that hard for a nasty person to get a master’s degree and a counseling license, provided that s/he can pass tests and write papers.  And a nasty person is not what you want for a therapist.  But since therapists rarely advertise on their websites that they are nasty people, you are unlikely to discover this unless you go in for a session with them. And that is actually probably the best wa...
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How Do I Find a Therapist?

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So you’re looking for a therapist in Baltimore.  Maybe you typed “Baltimore therapist” into Google and it sent you here.  But how do you find the right “Baltimore therapist” for you?  What goes in to choosing a good therapist – and not just a good therapist, but a good therapist for you? That’s an important distinction to take note of.  Research shows that virtually all modes of therapy depend more on the relationship between the client and the therapist than on any other factor, including how many degrees the therapist has, how many years s/he’s been in practice, how many Twitter follower...
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Family Therapy: Parental Transitions

Family Therapy hi
In the previous post we cited a number of examples of role changes that can lead to conflict in the home and the importance of family therapy for managing these transitions.  There we focused primarily on the changes experienced by the daughter in a relationship (see here for why I am using female protagonists in this discussion). However, I wanted to note that transition is really a lifelong companion and that parents too go through their own life transitions. A common time in a parent’s life that causes a major role shift is retirement.  If an individual has been in the workforce for deca...
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Mothers & Daughters: Changing Roles

Mother & Daughter hi
Why do relationships between mothers and daughters that are warm, loving, and peaceable turn into battlegrounds of conflict and frustration?  What happens that causes such a drastic change, often in so short a time? The usual culprit is transition.  Life transitions are generally a period of personal instability and therefore instability in relationships. This can be felt powerfully in parent-child relationships because usually one party is undergoing a major change while the other isn’t, and is therefore not expecting things to change. For example, a common period when conflict betw...
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Family Therapy: Parents & Children

mother and daughter hi
We frequently get calls for family therapy, specifically regarding troubled mother/daughter relationships.  These include young parents with school- or preschool-aged children, middle-aged women with their teenage/young adult daughters, and even up to elderly women who still struggle with having a proper relationship with their adult daughters. Why does this particular relationship so often run into trouble?  The truth is, there is probably just as much opportunity for conflict with fathers and with sons. However, since our culture frowns upon men expressing emotion (apart from the emotio...
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Call for a Free Counseling Consultation!

free consultation hi
Getting started on the process of therapy isn’t easy.  Especially if you’ve never done it before, you might be a little bit confused or nervous about what to expect (but see here for some information on that).  If you’re thinking about coming for counseling on your own or with your partner or family member, but aren’t ready to commit to it, give us a call for a free 20-minute consultation to learn more about what counseling would be like and to get a little more comfortable with the process. During this consultation, you’ll have a chance to tell us a little bit about your situation.  Obviou...
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The Kids Were Difficult Tonight

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An amazing thing happened in my house last night. I was out for the evening, and I came home to find a tired but relatively cheerful wife and three sleeping children. This is what I would call an excellent outcome for a nighttime routine executed with only one parent. But that wasn’t the amazing part. That was excellent, but not necessarily amazing. What was amazing was my wife’s take on it. She said, quote, “The kids were difficult tonight, so I had to be extra creative.” AMAZING! Did you hear that? She did not say “the kids were difficult tonight and I totally lost my cool,” or, “the kids...
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How In-Laws Can Support a Marriage

help with in-laws hi
Parents-in-law have been known to cause grief in many a marriage, but they can also be of tremendous help to it.  In this article I touch on just a few important notes for how parents of adult offspring can do right by their children and their children's spouse. http://www.marriage.com/advice/counseling/how-in-laws-can-support-a-marriage/ Learn more about our family counseling services here.
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Therapy for Women

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Why a post on therapy for women?  Is therapy somehow different for women than for men?  Do they face different issues? The answer is yes and no. Certainly the problems we help clients with are universal: anxiety, depression, loneliness, heartbreak, self-control, self-esteem, and more. But often these manifest differently in men and women, just as recent research has shown that physical ailments, such as heart attacks, manifest differently in men and women. Our psyches are no less different than our bodies. For instance, Terry Real has written extensively about how men often experience de...
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New therapist – Shira Feldman

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We are proud to welcome Shira Feldman as our newest staff member at the Baltimore Therapy Center!  Shira is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LGMFT) from Philadelphia and has been doing in-home therapy for some of Baltimore’s neediest clients. Her training and passion is in working with family systems, including marriage, parent-child relationships, and sibling issues.  Her competence in dealing with the systemic issues in family situations will be of significant help to clients who find themselves stuck in difficult patterns they are hoping to break out of. In addition, she brings ...
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Do You Have a Family Member with Borderline Personality Disorder?

borderline personality disorder hi
It is not uncommon for us to field calls from people looking to get help for someone other than themselves. One common category of such callers is the family member of someone with borderline personality disorder. If you have a relative with this diagnosis, this probably comes as no surprise to you. Borderline personality disorder is characterized by a pattern of unstable and highly emotional relationships, as well as impulsivity and emotional volatility. If someone in your family has this disorder, you know something is wrong, even if you haven’t heard of the diagnosis. It is not the kind ...
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Counseling, Time, and Change

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Every now and then I hear about a “great new therapy” that promises fast results and lasting change (often after a single session or treatment). I am highly skeptical of such approaches and I encourage you to do some due diligence before signing up for one. The process of human change is not nearly as mysterious as we may think. It has in fact been studied at length and there is a good deal of research that informs the way agents of change – therapists, in this case – ought to be working. In short, change does not happen overnight. In the evidence-based Stages of Change model, the “action pha...
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The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children – Part 4

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The last piece I’m going to post on the topic of why a good marriage is the best gift we can give to ours kids is probably the simplest: 4. It’s just nicer to live in a happy household than an unhappy one. Can anyone disagree with that? Who wants to live in a home where people are constantly upset with one another, yelling at each other, harping on each other’s insecurities? What gift could be better than a house full of love and contentment? Children superficially clamor for material things, because they cannot understand more than that – they beg for a new bike, the latest gadget, the new ...
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The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children – Part 3

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Continuing on in our exploration of why a good marriage is so vital to your childrearing endeavors, here is reason #3: 3. They’ll do as you do. Jimmy’s parents were called into school, where Jimmy was waiting apprehensively in the principal’s office. The principal sat down with the three of them, looking very sternly at Jimmy and his parents, and said he regretted to inform the parents that their son had been caught stealing pencils from the supply closet. “Stealing?!?!” gasped the father. “Jimmy, how could you?! If you needed pencils, why didn’t you just tell me? I would have brought you so...
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The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children – Part 2

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In the last post, I opened up the topic of why a good marriage is good parenting and discussed the issue of household stability. Here is reason #2 that the best gift you can give your children is a good marriage. 2. Kids run on emotion. As noted in the previous post, kids are consumed by their emotions. Rational self-control is a hallmark of maturity; no matter how persuasive your logical discourses may, you will not get a four-year-old to stop crying about a lost candy bar. The grief fills their entire being, and the faculty for saying, “You know what? I have twenty-three other kinds of can...
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#1 Marriage and Family Counselor in Baltimore!

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Hooray! We're listed as the #1 marriage and family counselor in Baltimore on Thumbtack.com! https://www.thumbtack.com/md/baltimore/marriage-and-family-counselors/ Contact us today for help with all kinds of relationship issues, including: dating marriage infidelity/cheating breakups trust communication conflict resolution ...and more. Learn more about our counseling services for couples and families here.    
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The Deal with Insurance and Marriage Counseling

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At the Baltimore Therapy Center we frequently get calls that begin like this: “Hi, I’m looking for marriage counseling. Do you take Blue Cross Blue Shield?” While the short answer is yes, there’s unfortunately a lot more that needs to be said on this topic. The reality is that almost no insurance company will pay for marriage counseling. This is because they will tell you that marital or relationship problems are not a medical issue, and therefore it’s not something they cover. Sadly, in this case they happen to be right. Marital problems are not a medical issue. (What if one of you actuall...
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What to Expect in Couples Counseling

marriage therapist hi
Many clients call up for the first time wanting to know what couples counseling will be like. No doubt there is a nervousness there about starting a process that you don’t know much about. In this post I want to give some basic information about what you can expect from couples counseling and hopefully make it a little less intimidating. It’s a process that really does work! First of all, there is no special procedure you have to undergo to get an appointment. At least at the Baltimore Therapy Center, all you need to do is call or e-mail us and we will find an available time slot that works...
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Assertiveness in Relationships

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Everyone has things they want and need out of the relationships they are in. Most people recognize that aggressive behavior is not a good way to get those things while maintaining the relationship at the same time – you might get what you want, but you might also find yourself with one less friend thereafter. On the other side of the spectrum, passive behavior is a strategy many people use in order to keep a relationship, giving in to the demands of another for fear that standing up to them might lead to the other person walking away from the relationship. What is the middle path? Passive-aggr...
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