When was your last tune up?

When was the last time you got your oil changed; its due every three months right? What about your dental appointment, every six months right? When was the last time your marriage had a tune up? We get our oil changed quarterly, teeth, bi-annually, but when was the last time you checked in with your spouse? Maybe you feel that because you still cook, clean, take care of his kids, or (fellas) work hard, bring flowers every Wednesday, buy her everything she needs. But is that enough? Maybe he’s tired of the same sex positions, maybe she’s tired of “just because” roses every third Wednesday. News flash: 🌹 “just because it’s Wednesday,” played out 4 years ago 🌹 lol.

When was the last time you asked your significant other, are you happy? Why do we just assume they are happy because we offer what we “feel” makes them happy. Did the same thing that made you happy 6 years ago, still makes your day-today? Life changes, we grow, priorities change. 6 years ago, I didn’t care about dishes because we didn’t have kids…..well now I do and if you did them from time to time, it would be amazing (for example 😜). We often assume we know our partners are happy because we may not want to face the truth that they may not be. That is the hard part, right, to actually hear of unhappiness in your household.

Below are three questions that should be asked,every few months,or bi annually at the least…..kinda like that dental appointment we never seem to miss.

1. Are you happy?

I told you all before, I love my scaling questions, as they measure for progress, when working with clients. So possibly offering it in a scaling style. For example, On a scale of 0-10, with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best, how happy are you with the way our marriage/relationship is? Numbers are great, versus saying “good,” or “I’m happy.” I’m a gal that like details, so pick a number please! Ha ha

2. What areas need improvement?

This is a great area to explore, as we often feel that when someone is not as happy as we are, or maybe even happier, first understand that we often see things differently-hence the need for this conversation.

3. What do you need from me?

Please pay attention to the response you get from this- this is a very powerful question. Sometimes a partner may not be happy in a marriage because of their own inability to manage time, unresolved personal issues, etc. They may very well just need you to keep doing what you are doing, while they put more effort into xyz. However, if he/she says “I need you to….” then work on ways to do that for the overall healthiness of your marriage.

Longevity does not equal success (I need to coin this phrase). Don’t assume what you don’t know because you fail to ask. If you don’t change your oil, it will run out and your head gasket will blow. Don’t let your marriage run without routine maintenance-or it will blow too.

Broken people can’t create a whole relationship

I love the quote “broken crayons still color.” In fact, that was one of the few names I had for this blog, until I saw others had it as well. I love this quote because it signifies resilience. Just because you are broken, does not mean you throw in the towel. You are still operational, don’t give up, you can still color. However, in relationships, I would not offer the same sentiment.

Yes, the broken crayons still color, but they are still broken, right? Often people want to enter new relationships as a means to get over the past one, not realizing the hurt, jealousy, insecurities they still harbor. Ever heard the saying “the best way to get over someone is to get under another one?” Dumbest advice ever! We expect the next person coming along to deal with the emotions, pick up the broken pieces, mend them, and prove that they are not your ex……But Why? Why bring your baggage into a new situiationship (yes, I said that) and expect us to prove ourselves, and deal with insecurities that have nothing to do with us? It is not fair, and actually, the relationship is starting off all wrong.

Here’s an idea: heal yourself, don’t expect someone else to do it. Don’t let the new person bear the load and emotional strain that occurred before him/her? Take your time, work on yourself, not to just be better for someone else, but for a better you as well. Don’t be the broken crayon still trying to color, be the refurbished one that has been through some things, was fixed, and can color as good as before.

Have you been thinking about becoming a therapist?

Being a therapist is very hard and draining work. However it is very rewarding. Below I will highlight some important factors to consider when deciding to become a therapist.

  1. TIME! I placed this in all caps because time is a very important factor when deciding to become a therapist. Many people think that once they are out of school, they will automatically become a therapist. Combining education (2-3.5 years), and post grad hours (2-3) years, it may take anywhere from 4 to 6 years to become a therapist. So patience is key. Consider if you are willing to put in the time necessary to be in this field.
  2. Cost. Program costs is an extremely important factor in the field of therapy. Is the program accredited? What type of school is it  (brick an mortar, for profit)? For example, where I received my master’s online (Capella), costs more than what it would have, if I would have attended my undergrad university for their master’s program. However, the online program was for-profit, and had more accreditations. So look at the cost of the program and determine if the investment is worth it. Post grad, you have exams, depending on the program. The AAMFTRB exam is $350. Supervision, if you are not working at an agency (who mostly offer free supervision), expect to pay your supervisor anywhere from $50-$175 or more. I will go more into supervision in another post, but keep in mind that supervision is required for at least 2 years, for most post grad therapy degrees. for example,  $100 per hour x 200 hours = $20, 000 in supervision costs. Marinate on that.
  3. The humbling years. Coming out of school, I knew I wanted to work with families. As a practicum student, or post graduate therapist, your options are limited-and sometimes it depends on the state. I worked in community based counseling for internship, and it was draining. It was mostly teens, and that was not my niche, however, I needed the hours. Post grad, I moved, and did not want to go back into community based counseling, and ended up doing the same thing. There is much trauma, and it extremely draining, but it looks amazing on your resume. People often say, if you can work community-based, you can work anywhere. The experience gained is like no other, but it is very humbling, and may not be what you are looking for after school, but will definitely assist you in becoming a more well rounded therapist.

Check back for part II.

Gray Is A Place

So I have a confession, I love the color gray, or grey-depending on where you live. People say why gray, “it’s a boring color,” or its dull and blah blah blah. Those often are the very ones who believe, it is either black or white and no in between. Those people are often referred to as “absolutes.” Absolutes believe there is either and or. Well, my rebuttal to that is: there is this word I love-resilient. Resilience is the “overcoming of,” “pushing through,” “beating the odds,” and not giving up. Gray is a place to me, and should be to you, because it’s where you find your true colors, where your light begins to become more clear. Gray is a place where you regroup, re-strategize, and discover new meaning. Gray is a place of reflection, where you learn and grow from your mistakes, and/or failures, in or to redeem further success. If this world was absolute, then why mix the two colors together? Uncertainty is normal and healthy; you don’t have to pretend to have it together.

Life does not always go according to plan. We fail, life changes and so do our goals. Relationships that were supposed to last-didn’t, we lose our jobs- I can go on and on. Don’t feel bad about being uncertain; go to your gray place and rediscover your color. Gray is where the magic happens and your life begins to flourish.